Lipogen's PS patent could spell further infant formula applications

By Clarisse Douaud

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Infant formula, Docosahexaenoic acid

Israeli company Lipogen has obtained patent pending for a
delivery system for its PS ingredient that it says will improve the
options for infant formula producers to successfully imitate breast
milk.

The ingredients firm, which focuses on mental-health, will be launching the formulation at SupplySide West in Las Vegas next week. It has not released exact details on the patent, as it says it is pending, but has indicated to NutraIngredients-USA that it is for the US and European markets. Regulations governing infant formula are among the strictest in the food-related arena in the US, meaning it is an especially difficult market for ingredients-makers to enter. Lipogen suggests there is a nutrient gap in infant formulas in the US because PS is lacking in this market. "We already market it in Asia Pacific, thanks to local regulations that welcome innovative ingredients to the food industry,"​ said Lipogen CEO, David Rutenberg. "Our next step is to launch it in the US and Israeli markets." ​PS, or phosphatidylserine, is naturally found in breast milk and is a building block for brain development and nerve function. "We expect the patented formulation will help us expand Lipogen's presence in the infant formula and baby food markets,"​ said Rutenberg. "Lipogen PS is an all-natural supplement based on soy lecithin that does not affect the taste, texture or color of the final product."​ The company says its PS formulation is ready to use and can be easily applied to any infant formula already containing soy lecithin. Established in 1992, the company claims to be the first brain health ingredients company to develop a vegetable-derived source of PS. All its products are vegetarian and kosher-certified. Lipogen obtained GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status for its PS in 2006 and reported earlier this year that it was in talks with major food companies for use of the ingredient in functional foods. The FDA also approved a qualified health claim for PS dietary supplements in 2003, which states that "phosphatidylserine may reduce the risk of cognitive dysfunction in the elderly."​ Going beyond its potential for infant cognitive development, studies have also associated the nutrient to improvements in memory and mood, and specifically linked it to delaying the symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer's. Other nutraceutical ingredients making inroads into the category have been DHA, ARA and probiotics. While fish oil ingredients were not permitted to be used in infant formulas, Martek laid claim to supplying more than 80 percent of the DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ARA (arachidonic acid) used in US infant formulas. The company derives its ingredients from farmed microalgae. Then this year, food giant Nestlé launched an infant formula with the probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis.​ The company says the Bifidobacterium lactis​ in its formula helps children improve the balance of microflora in their gastrointestinal tract, thereby supporting a healthy immune system.

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