Osteo-Life mimics the blend used in a recently completed, government-backed, two-year, 400-patient, double blind, placebo study that employed Frutarom's (formerly Acatris') SoyLife soy germ ingredient. It is believed to be one of the biggest studies ever conducted into health benefits of soy isoflavones. According to Laurent Leduc, business development and marketing vice president at Frutarom's USA division, the OPUS (Osteoporosis Prevention Using Soy) study, "clearly demonstrated the effectiveness of soy germ isoflavones in promoting bone health." The study revealed the group consuming the blend Osteo-Life replicates had less bone density and mineral loss and was less likely to develop osteoporosis than groups taking a half dose and a placebo respectively in both sexes aged 35 or more. The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) estimates osteoporosis affects 75m people in Europe, the USA and Japan at a cost of more than $76bn in 2002 figures. New markets Leduc told NutraIngredients.com Osteo-Life would initially be targeted at US supplements manufacturers "with some existing clients expected to come onboard very quickly." Functional foods and beverages makers would be targeted and may become the bigger market in North America, Europe and Asia, he said, as Osteo-Life was being marketed in part as a calcium replacement. "This ingredient should be considered by any company fortifying foods and drinks with calcium because the evidence is very strong," he said, noting the study had been sent to the New England Journal of Medicine for peer review and others would follow. The Asian market was of particular interest because although soy consumption rates remained higher there than in western markets, consumption was falling as more citizens embraced western diets. Proprietary plus Offering proprietary blends is an idea gaining increasing currency as customer requirements become more sophisticated. Leduc said Frutarom had pursued a similar, clinically-backed route to market with its bladder health ingredient Go-Less in 2007 which was comprised of SoyLife plus pumpkin extract. "Proprietary blends deliver very specific solutions and that is increasingly what our customers seek," he observed. "In this case we are delivering a clinically backed bone health solution aimed at both men and women 35 years or over." Osteo-Life contains 1000mg of calcium carbonate, 400Iu of vitamin D3 (both 100 percent of US Recommended Daily Allowance) plus 450g of SoyLife (delivering 180mg of isoflavones). He said the study highlighted earlier research backing daidzein as the most bioavailable and efficacious component in soy. "This study backs up what we thought about SoyLife - that because it is sourced solely from soy germ, it is higher in daidzein as opposed to other components such genistein, and therefore has greater health benefits. Several studies have shown this." He said Osteo-Life would retail for about $100/kg - about half the spot price of SoyLife due to the cheaper input cost of calcium. It would be officially launched at Expo West in Los Angeles this week followed by VitaFoods in Geneva as well as Asian trade shows later in the year. Leduc said vitamin K was also showing potential in the bone health area and could be combined with soy and other ingredients to achieve that end. Slowed or halted bone loss was the result of a recent Australian study that combined vitamin D3 and calcium and could continue 18 months after supplementation. Increases in bone mineral density of about 1.65 percent observed in men after receiving vitamin D and calcium supplements were still evident 18 months after the men stopped taking the supplements, researchers report in this month's American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.