Valensa to Launch “Nature Equivalent” Astaxanthin


CEO and president Rudi Moerck says ZanthinNex has the same stereoisomer makeup as natural astaxanthin.

Valensa International will launch a “nature equivalent” astaxanthin whose stereoisomer makeup is identical to that of microalgae-derived astaxanthin (Haematococcus pluvialis), the company announced today. ZanthinNex will be commercially available later this year.

Valensa CEO and president Rudi Moerck says that because ZanthinNex’s stereoisomer makeup is identical to that of microalgae-astaxanthin, any human health benefits shown in microalgae-astaxanthin clinical studies can also apply to ZanthinNex. “Our product will have the same health benefits because it is identical to the natural product-and, actually, we are seeing that it seems to be a little more bioavailable so that means you might be able to take a lower dose and get the same benefit,” he says.

Valensa uses a “natural, enzyme-based conversion process,” using an undisclosed starting material and natural enzymes, to create ZanthinNex.

“Natural astaxanthin is made within the Haematococcus pluvialis algae using an enzymatic transformation,” Moerck explains. “So what happens is the algae, which is basically a plant, first makes beta-carotene, and then what happens is that you stress the plant-you expose it to a lot of sunshine, you deprive it of its nutrients-and then it starts forming a cyst. And in that process, the natural Haematococcus algae use the enzymes to convert beta-carotene to the proper optical isomers of astaxanthin.”

“Natural” astaxanthin typically comprises the S,S’ isomer, Moerck says. Like “natural” astaxanthin, ZanthinNex only contains the S,S’ isomer, he says. “In our process, what we do is we use a natural enzyme to-just the way the organism does-convert a precursor to pure S,S’ astaxanthin, which is identical in all respects-chemical formula and optical rotation of light and the spatial configuration-to the natural astaxanthin.”

ZanthinNex is also different from synthetically derived astaxanthin ingredients, according to Moerck. “Synthetic” staxanthin made using a chemical process typically contains a mixture of S,S’ and R,R’ isomers.

Moerck says the benefits of ZanthinNex include a more cost-efficient, stable astaxanthin source whose production is not affected by environmental or seasonal changes (such as algae grown in open ponds). He says Valensa, which has performed safety studies on ZanthinNex, plans to pursue GRAS status and Novel Food equivalency approvals in Europe.


Jennifer Grebow
Nutritional Outlook magazine


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