Kaneka is hoping the ingredient will stimulate the European market that has lagged behind those in the US and Japan. Called Ubiquinol, or Kaneka QH, Kaneka launched the ingredient in the US 12 months ago and followed that up with a Japanese debut this year. Bioavailability boost A Kaneka spokesperson told NutraIngredients.com the ingredient had been developed in a highly bioavailable form via the application of vitamins and enzymes. CoQ10 is an ingredient with known bioavailability issues although there is much evidence backing health benefits ranging from cardiovascular support, energy-boosting properties to antioxidant-free radical control. "Ubiquinol has been developed to boost bioavailability levels and has performed very well in the markets we have launched it in and we see no reason why it will not perform similarly well here in Europe," the spokesperson said from Kaneka's Netherlands-based European headquaters. He said the company had held discussions with major supplements makers at Vitafoods in Geneva last week - where the ingredient was launched - and products were expected on shelves by year's end in several European markets. The cosmetics, foods and beverages sectors would be targeted next. Claims and markets A range of health claims had been submitted for consideration under the EU nutrition and health claims regulation in the areas of energy, antioxidants and heart health. Kaneka supplies a naturally fermented form of CoQ10 and is the biggest of four Japanese suppliers that dominate the global CoQ10 market. The others are Niishin, Mitsubishi Gas Chemical and Asahi. While demand remains strong for the ingredient, particularly in the US and Japan, the raw material price has dropped out of the market as new supply channels have come on-board in places like China. In addition, Kaneka, Nisshin and Mitsubishi have expanded supply which has contributed to excess capacity and placed further downward pressure on spot prices. Only a few years ago the raw material spot price for CoQ10 was €5000 per kilogramme or more, but it now rests at about €3-400 per kg, a situation that is encouraging companies like Kaneka to drive into the supply of value-added, premium ingredients such as Ubiquinol. The spokesperson wouldn't reveal pricing for Ubiquinol but said it would sell at a premium over Kaneka's existing range of CoQ10 ingredients. Kaneka supplied CoQ10 to Swiss dairy Emmi for a product called LactoTab that was launched in 2006, but it was recently withdrawn amid complaints that consumers didn't understand the ingredient. But meetings took place between Kaneka and Emmi in Geneva so some kind of re-launch for a product Emmi maintains is "a viable concept" may be on the cards. The global CoQ10 market is estimated at more than €500m by various market analysts. The ingredient received a tremendous boost, particularly in the US, as its use sky-rocketed in parallel with the rise of statin drugs that have become popular to fight heart disease, high blood pressure and control cholesterol build-up. Statin drugs deplete the body's natural stores of CoQ10 and are particularly popular with over-40s males. They have become the highest selling drugs in the world.
CoQ10 has also been shown to benefit those suffering from Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.