Libracol will henceforth be distributed from 900 drugstores, operating under the Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix trade marks, throughout Canada.
"We feel confident that Libracol will enjoy great success across the country, where some nine million people suffer from hypercholesterolemia," said Andre Aube, president and CEO of Magistral Biotech.
Magistral claims that of all the over-the-counter anti-cholesterol products available, Libracol is the most powerful and compares its effectiveness to HMG-CoA inhibitors (statins).
Libracol acts like a magnet, attaching itself to cholesterol in the digestive system, causing it to be eliminated before it can enter the bloodstream. Magistral asserts that clinical trials of the product have shown reductions in blood cholesterol level of up to 40 per cent.
The product contains 400mg of polychitosamine - a substance developed by a team at Sherbrooke University in Quebec after 10 years of research - from the carapace of crustaceans. However, it is unlike other marine-biomass derivatives such as glucosamine or chitosan; via enzyme hydrolysis, deacetylized chitosan is used to produce polychitosamine.
As it is a fiber derived from chitin, Libracol can hydrate itself, unlike resins such as cholestyramine, which can irritate the intestine's mucous membrane and cause bleeding. This hydration gives it the same properties as soluble vegetable fibers, namely having an emollient, calming effect on the intestinal mucous membrane.
"The efficacy of Libracol and the fact it is not absorbed places it over and above all other existing natural products," Claude Michaud, vice president of operations at Magistral, told NutraIngredientsusa.
Magistral hope this sales expansion is the start of things to come. "We are beginning to look at business development opportunities outside Canada and are presently in discussion with some potential distributors," added Michaud.