Jonathan Lizotte said he founded Designs for Health 30 years ago as what he calls a “nutritional services company.”
“We were selling products and nutritional counseling services using some other companies’ products,” Lizotte told NutraIngredients-USA.
“About twenty five years ago we changed the focus of the company and started focusing solely on our own products and training health care practitioners,” he said.
Lizotte said the new products, dubbed as Annatto-E, offer a more efficacious form of Vitamin E, which is one of the oldest ingredients in the business. Lizotte said it was one of the first supplements he encountered back in the day.
“I remember back in the 70s, when my father was taking these big softgels filled with about 500 IUs of alpha tocopherols,” he said.
The early excitement about vitamin E centered on its antioxidant capacity. But it also became something of a magic bullet, too, Lizotte said.
“There has been just a huge amount of misinformation about vitamin E. The original promise had it doing all these amazing things,” he said.
But while some of the activities of the vitamin were becoming more widely known, the different forms of the vitamin were less well understood.
Vitamin E it turns out has eight different forms, four isomers of tocopherols and four of tocotrienols. Not all are equally efficacious.
Wrong forms in trials
“In some early specific trials vitamin E failed miserably. We believe that the reason was they were using the wrong isomers,” he said.
Around the time of those trials an ingredient developer, American River Nutrition founded by Barrie Tan, PhD, was developing a form of vitamin E derived from the annatto plant, which naturally produces almost all tocotrienols. According to the ingredient supplier, tocotrienols have a shorter molecular tail, enabling them to move more easily into the cell membranes. This ingredient, called DeltaGold, is what is used in the new Designs for Health line.
“Alpha tocopherol is the wrong isomer and unfortunately it was the first one discovered and the first one to become popular,” Lizotte said. “Alpha tocopherol in a high dose can be a problem.”
Lizotte said the research on the delta tocotrienol form of the vitamin, which makes up the large majority of the DeltaGold ingredient, has become compelling. This includes effects on managing cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and more.
“If this were a drug it would be a multibillion dollar drug,” Lizotte said.
“The thing I tell people is that we may have been disappointed by Vitamin E in the past, but just look at this recent research,” he said.