Horphag builds science before launching French oak wood extract to select clients


- Last updated on GMT

French oak. Image courtesy of Horphag
French oak. Image courtesy of Horphag
Horphag, the company behind the Pycnogenol brand of French Maritime Pine bark extracts, has launched a new ingredient, this time based on French oak wood that it is branding Robuvit.

The company has released it worldwide but without any fanfare because it wouldn’t satisfy everyone’s demand, Victor Ferrari, CEO of Horphag, told NutraIngredients-USA. “We’re only making it available to select accounts initially,”​ he said.

The ingredient is already the subject of six published papers listed on PubMed​, with six more papers coming soon, said Ferrari. (References: Belcaro G et al., 2014, J Neurosurg Sci​; Deáková Z et al., 2015 Gen Physiol Biophys​; Horvathova M et al., 2014, Oxid Med Cell Longev​; Belcaro G et al., 2014 Minerva Med​; Natella F et al., 2014, J Agric Food Chem​; Belcaro G et al., 2014, Panminerva Med​.)

The studies support a role for the ingredient in helping with everyday fatigue, with some sports nutrition, and energy (both a lack of energy and providing additional energy). The ingredient has also shown a “very interesting aspect for liver health and detox”​, said Ferrari.

Sebastien Bornet, director of global marketing for Horphag, added: “We took a different approach to many companies. Part of our strategy was to build the research and science first so we had something solid to launch the product with. It’s about the quality before we build the quantity.”


Life Extension was the first US supplement brand to launch with the ingredient, and the company will then enter Japan. “We’re working on regulatory registrations in several countries,”​ said Ferrari.


The oak trees used to produce Robuvit belong to the Quercus Robur​ species and are grown sustainably in the forest of the Massif Central region in Central France, said Bornet.

According to the company, the actives are compounds called roburins and other flavonoids unique to oak wood. “It’s the combination of these compounds that gives Robuvit its activity,”​ added Bornet.

According to the ingredient’s website, the possible mechanisms of action include changes in the function of the cellular protein factories called ribosomes. “Support for ribosomal function may prove to be an entirely new approach to managing chronic fatigue syndrome,”​ says the website. “Even for those who do not suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, Robuvit may be considered a novel method of maintaining one’s cellular protein synthesis machinery.”

The recommended dose is between 100mg and 300mg per day.


The company's established ingredient, Pycnogenol, is a combination of procyanidins, bioflavonoids and organic acids extracted from the bark of the maritime pine. It is included in more than 700 dietary supplements, cosmetic products and functional foods and beverages worldwide. The ingredient has been the subject of scores of clinical studies suggesting benefits covering everything from cardiovascular, joint, cognitive and eye health to sports nutrition, relief of hay fever, PMS, tinnitus, hemorrhoidal pain and menopause symptoms.

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