The company's branded i-flex ingredient is marketed as a 100 percent natural product, which is said to help improve flexibility and mobility within three weeks. DSM, which is the exclusive distributor for i-flex in all global markets except Europe, said that the ingredient has already generated interest in North America, where it is being firmly positioned within a market so far dominated by the popular joint health ingredients glucosamine and chondroitin. Rose hip Vs glucosamine According to i-flex marketing manager Karen Rubin, the benefits of the ingredient over glucosamine and chondroitin are that it is exclusively plant-sourced, therefore suitable for vegetarians, and it also does not contain allergens, unlike the shellfish-derived glucosamine. In addition, Rubin claimed that a number of clinical studies have shown i-flex to show improvements on joint health after just three weeks, compared to 1.5- 3 months for glucosamine. It has also shown efficacy in up to 82 percent of study populations, she added, whereas glucosamine is thought to be effective in 40 percent of study participants. History The ingredient was developed over a decade ago in Denmark by Hyben Vital, which has its production facilities for the rose hip powder on the Danish island of Langeland. It has already been marketed in Europe for over four years under the label LitoZin. The LitoZin brand name is owned by the firm Axellus, and the ingredient is sold in European countries through local distribution partners. In the US, until DSM took over the licensing, the ingredient was available though Europharma. DSM purchased the exclusivity for distribution from Europharma. DSM is now marketing i-flex - its own brand name - as both a dietary supplement ingredient and a finished product, which it is selling through the website ICanFlex.com. Nutrient complex The rose hip ingredient contains vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids and galactolipids. Rubin explained that in-vitro data has shown that is the galactolipids that produce the joint health benefits. DSM's trademark for these galactolipids is 'Gopo'. Extraction According to Rubin, a major benefit of i-flex over other rose hip powders on the market is the patented extraction process, which had been developed by Hyben Vital. This allows for the rose hips to be processed under cool temperatures, which ultimately protects the nutrient complex. "Rose hips are heat sensitive so other processes using heat, such as sun drying, may destroy the nutrient complex," she told NutraIngredients-USA.com. Dosage The dosage that needs to be taken in order for the ingredient to be effective is 5g per day. This is equivalent to about six capsules per day. Last year at Supply Side West, Mark Blumenthal from the American Botanical Council gave an overview of the science behind a range of herbals and botanicals, in which he had mentioned the Danish rose hip powder. He had said it shows potential for bone health with a number of published and unpublished clinical trials suggesting a role for reducing swelling and pain associated with osteoarthritis. He added: "Rose-hip is a traditional food. There have been no complaints on safety, but will people take a five gram per day dose?" Pricing DSM would not provide information on the pricing of the ingredient, but Rubin did say that i-flex is "certainly a premium product", compared to glucosamine, which "has been on the market for a long time so the price has been commoditized". The company is selling its retail product at $39 for a 30-day supply. DSM's first formal launch of its i-flex brand was at the Supply Expo at Expo West in Ahaheim, California, last month. The company said it has already made some sales. For the time being, DSM has no plans to make the ingredient available for use in foods and beverages.