Best of 2012 Ingredient Supplier: Chemi Nutra

December 7, 2012

The firm’s ingredients are best known for mental performance and sports nutrition, but new patents are paving the way to new market opportunities.

Finding multiple applications for its nutraceutical ingredients has been key to Chemi Nutra’s success, especially this past year. The supplier, which is based in White Bear Lake, MN, not only has an in-house R&D team that excels at developing innovative ingredients backed by extensive research, the company also dedicates its intellectual property knowledge to obtaining ingredient patents-enabling the firm to move commercialization of its ingredients forward and corner the market in specific categories. “Our patents give us and our customers a huge competitive advantage, helping to open up new opportunities,” says Chase Hagerman, business development and marketing manager. 

Although Chemi Nutra ingredients are best known for their uses in mental performance and sports nutrition products, new, nuanced market opportunities have evolved in healthy aging and in men’s and women’s health.

“Our ingredients have diverse benefits and can be very effective in different types of products,” says Hagerman. “We call this focus ‘human performance.’”

One of the company’s recent ingredient accomplishments was discovering that phosphatidic acid (PA) may benefit both sports nutrition and healthy aging products, thanks to PA’s effects on muscle health. PA can help bedridden patients and prevent age-related muscle loss (sarcopenia). Also, the company announced in January 2012 that it filed a novel U.S. patent in November 2011 claiming PA consumption can increase muscle mass and strength. A study published in the October 2012 Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition backs these findings. This research also led Chemi Nutra to develop a new branded ingredient launched this year: Mediator 50P Phosphatidic Acid. The firm says we can expect to see the ingredient soon used in new formulations on the market.

Chemi Nutra’s SerinAid, a phosphatidylserine (PS) ingredient that is a popular dietary supplement, now has new uses as well. While SerinAid is known for its ability to enhance learning, memory, concentration, and exercise performance, while reducing stress and assisting in anabolic hormone balance, Chemi Nutra has also been collaborating with another company, Increnovo, on extensive research over the past few years. The companies say they have found a hormone-related link between antiaging and sports nutrition. “As men get older, testosterone levels tend to drop off,” Hagerman explains. “Testosterone also plays a key role in sports performance-for men as well as women.” Preventing testosterone levels from decreasing has benefits related to both antiaging and sports nutrition. This link would take the benefits of PS such as SerinAid to a whole new realm. As such, in February 2012, the two companies were granted a U.S. patent for the use of PS in maintaining testosterone, as age, exercise, and/or hypogonadism can cause testosterone levels to decrease.

Additionally, the companies say, research indicates PS may hinder the damaging effects of catabolic cortisol. When cortisol rises due to stress or vigorous exercise, the body goes into a catabolic-or muscle-losing-state, which can cause other side effects such as fatigue and joint and muscle pain. A PS ingredient like SerinAid may benefit healthy aging, strength training, and body composition.

Chemi Nutra says third-party testing backs all of its ingredient claims. “This research, as well as the fact that our claims have been proven in clinical trials, is very important to our customers. They want to know that an ingredient has been tested and has been proven to work, and will often use this information in their marketing message,” says Hagerman.

The high cost of testing can be a challenge. “It makes it more difficult for us to compete against suppliers that offer cheaper ingredients. Fortunately, our customers are more driven by value than by price,” Hagerman says.

Quality control also ranks high for Chemi Nutra. As a subsidiary of Chemi S.p.A. in Milan, which manufactures pharmaceutical products, the company’s factories in Italy and Brazil uphold quality control standards at the pharma level.