Algatech obtains 12 astaxanthin functional health claims

By By Stephen Daniells in Israel

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Health claims, Carbon dioxide, Efrat kat

Algatechnologies’ astaxanthin ingredient has obtained 12 new structural health claims, allowing manufacturers to add the claims to the packaging.

Following Algatechnologies' submissions to FDA, the structure/function claims for its astaxanthin include cardiovascular, neurological, eye, joint and muscle claims.

“This important move will help us engender more market share growth in the US,”​ said Efrat Kat, Algatechnologies’ marketing and sales director. The ingredient is distributed in the US by NY-based Barrington Nutritionals.

At the company’s Kibbutz Katura headquarters in the sun-soaked south of Israel, Kat told NutraIngredients-USA that the claims reflect and support the science supporting the health benefits of the carotenoid. The claims still lag behind Hawaii's Cyanotech's claims, however - with 17 structure/function claims for its BioAstin ingredient; according to the US company.

The benefits of claims

Structure/function claims differ from qualified health claims in that they do not require pre-approval from the FDA and refer more generally to functions in the body as opposed to specific health conditions.

They are not as coveted by supplement manufacturers as qualified health claims, but still can contribute to the scientific and marketing clout of an ingredient.

“The health claims are part of the company’s global plan to invest in expanding regulatory approvals for its growing product line,”​ said Kat. “Other countries in which the company has plans to increase its presence are South Korea, India and Australia.”

This market in both natural and synthetic forms is estimated to be worth in the region €190m globally.

Its use in products intended for human use are more novel and the market is estimated to be worth between $35-50m, with the market expected to be worth $200m by 2015, according to Frost & Sullivan.

The ingredient is currently only allowed in supplements but Kat confirmed that consideration is being given to applying for GRAS status in order to open the ingredient up to food and beverages.

“We think food and beverages are the future [for astaxanthin],”​ Kat told this website. “We are constantly being contacted by food companies who are looking four to five years ahead.”

Cost advantage

Algatechnologies has an exclusive license to a patented process that it claims gives it significant cost advantages over its biggest rival in supplements.

It uses 170km of transparent tubing to enclose the Haematococcus pluvialis​ algae cultures, and intense natural sunlight puts the algae - initially a greenish color when healthy - under stress so that they produce the bright red pigment astaxanthin in defense.

This red biomass is then delicately dried and shipped to the US in flakes where supercritical carbon dioxide extraction draws out the pure astaxanthin.

Listing

The 12 claims are:
1. Supports a healthy immune system
2. Supports eye health
3. Supports joint health
4. Supports connective tissue health
5. Supports skin health
6. Supports cardiovascular health
7. Supports neurological health
8. Helps maintain a healthy digestive system
9. Supports muscle function
10. Supports muscle recovery after exercise
11. Helps maintain healthy cellular membranes after exposure to UV light
12. Helps maintain a normal oxidant:antioxidant balance

Related topics: Regulation

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