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Jennifer Grebow is editor-in-chief of Nutritional Outlook.
Suppliers cite growing demand as one reason for renewed interest in phospholipids.
There has been growing industry development around phospholipids in the past year. Phospholipid-ingredient suppliers cite rising demand as one reason they’re looking to shake up this longstanding category.
Before you read this, don’t forget to check out "Four New Phosphatidylserine Studies for Memory, Stress, Mood, and ADHD".
In April, American Lecithin Company (ALC; Oxford, CT) unveiled a new line of sunflower-derived phospholipids and lecithins, including phosphatidylserine, presenting the ingredients as label-friendly alternatives to soy-derived phospholipids. “With this launch, American Lecithin becomes the only company that offers both sunflower-derived phosphatidylserine (PS) and sunflower-derived glycerophosphocholine (GPC),” said Randy Zigmont, president of ALC.
In March, Chemi Nutra (Austin, TX) announced the addition of new water-dispersible versions of its popular SerinAid PS and Mediator phosphatidic acid (PA) ingredients. The ingredients are designed for use in functional beverages.
Suppliers of marine-derived phospholipids are also innovating. Last fall, krill oil supplier Rimfrost (FosnavÃ¥g, Norway) introduced a new, ultra-high-phospholipid ingredient called Sublime PL60 containing krill oil omega-3 phospholipids as well as other supportive nutrients like choline, omega-3 PUFAs, and astaxanthin. At this year’s Vitafoods trade show in May, the company introduced Sublime PL60 to the wider European market. “Rimfrost Sublime PL60 Antarctic krill extract is much more than an omega-3 ingredient; it is a nature-made, multi-nutrient formulation,” said company managing director John Cameron in a press release.
In May, Valensa (Orlando, FL) introduced an “ecologically sustainable” vegetarian ingredient called Ocean Caviar, described as “a first-of-its kind omega-3 phospholipid supplement that contains no fish oil.” Instead, the ingredient is derived from North Atlantic herring roe (herring eggs). It combines algae-sourced astaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) from the firm’s phospholipid-rich Verilla perilla seed oil, and EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids.
Suppliers of phospholipid ingredients are also investing in new research to expand their ingredients’ potential.
Aker BioMarine (Oslo, Norway) put its omega-3 phospholipid-rich Superba krill oil to the test for exercise recovery. Last October, the company announced results published in PLoS One1 showing that 2 g of krill oil daily for six weeks strengthened athletes’ immune function after exercising. For instance, supplementation increased subjects’ production of interleukin-2 (IL-2), a cytokine molecule that helps regulate the immune system, as well as natural killer (NK) cells, a crucial component of the immune response. Researchers concluded that krill oil may be able to increase immune support following intense exercise.
Phosphatidylcholine (PC) is a key phospholipid implicated in brain health. Alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine (A-GPC) is a precursor to PC. Last last year, phospholipids supplier Chemi Nutra announced a new study2 on its AlphaSize A-GPC indicating that A-GPC may also play a role in sports nutrition by improving lower-body muscle strength. The company said A-GPC may help counter any impaired motor neuron activity that may be compromised during “exhaustive and repeated exercise” due to its role in stimulating the production of key neurotransmitters.
Aside from sports, in March, Lipogen (Haifa, Israel) announced a new U.S. patent proposing a phospholipid formulation to address symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). The company sought the patent following a recent study that revealed a previously unrecognized PMS/PMDD benefit of Lipogen’s PS Plus ingredient.
Beside investing in new introductions and research, suppliers are also making the investment to expand their phospholipid operations to support growing business. Last year, Lipogen announced plans to expand its production facilities, including doubling its production capacity for PS and PA, as well as to build a new phospholipids R&D center. According to the firm, these moves were made following a “rapid, 50% jump in sales of brain and stress-health solutions in Q1-Q3 2015.
CEO David Rutenberg noted the growing demand for these ingredients at large: “The phospholipids market is expanding from traditional brain function support to new brain health concepts, including stress management, cortisol control, ADHD mitigation, sports nutrition, and more.” With so much excitement around new research and related, growing markets like brain health and sports nutrition, the future for phospholipids has never been brighter.