Nevada-based AlgaeCal sells an algae-derived form of calcium as both an ingredient and a dietary supplement and has been gaining a lot of attention because of its bone building claims.
The company has posted preliminary six-month results of a study on its website that shows the potential of the supplement to do more than just slow the loss of bone mass. The algae has the potential to build bone mass for people in the age group when bone typically begins to decline - after the age of 35.
Chief executive officer, Dean Neuls, said his company's calcium complex is the first to show increases in bone density, and it had this capacity because of the other naturally-occurring nutrients present in its formulation.
These included boron, magnesium, silicon, strontium and vanadium.
He told NutraIngredients-USA.com AlgaeCal will submit the preliminary results for peer review in the next 6-12 months.
In the meantime sales of dietary supplements containing its ingredients are performing well, according to SPINS figures.
A New Chapter product called Bone Strength Take Care 120 had risen from number 89th ranked calcium supplement in the health food channel to number two ranked supplement, in data from April.
Those SPIN figures showed Bone Strength Take Care 120 had sales of $71,476 in the four weeks to April 19, behind runaway market leader, Jarrow Bone Up, which racked up sales of $151,932.
He said the products were being launched in the Netherlands and the UK, Australia, some Asian countries as well as Canada.
Neuls said AlgaeCal was focusing on the supplements area because that was a sector where the story behind the calcium could be told as well as the differences between it and other calcium forms.
"Food and beverages companies are typically looking to throw any old calcium into their products so they can add a 'with added calcium' label to the product but we are not interested in that," he observed.
The relative commodity-price status of many dairy-sourced offerings also made it difficult to compete in that segment, Neuls noted.
AlgaeCal's ingredient, which is harvested by hand in the shallows of latin American waters, typically cost more than $40 per kilogram - whereas as other calcium forms could be found for less than $5/kg.
Neuls also noted that "bioavailability wars" between various sources of calcium were overhyped because most offered bioavailability between 22 and 37 percent and even 22 percent was efficient.
"What is interesting now about calcium is the holistic approach where the calcium is not isolated from the other nutrients in which it naturally occurs," said Nuels. "That is why we believe we are getting this outstanding results in research because we are using the whole form of calcium."
The market leader in plant-sourced calcium is Irish-based Marigot which sources its ingredients from seaweed harvested off the coast of Ireland.