Labochim introduces novel ALA combo

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Ala, Antioxidant, Vitamin c

Italian firm Labochim has introduced a new alpha-lipoic acid
(ALA)chemically combined with the vitamin-like substance
L-carnitine, which increases the antioxidant's solubility,
reports Dominique Patton.

The patented combination also improves the properties of L-carnitine, according to the firm.

"We think we've succeeded in improving the solubility of ALA and reducing the highly hygroscopic nature of L-carnitine,"​ said Annibale Salvi, vice president of Labochim​.

The firm primarly manufactures active ingredients for the pharmaceutical industry, including alpha-lipoic acid, used to treat diabetes-related conditions. However the antioxdidant is also an increasingly popular supplement ingredient.

ALA plays an important role in the body in maintaining healthy antioxidant levels. It is said to offer advantages over other antioxidants as it increases the level of glutathione, an antioxidant produced by the body, and can also regenerate other antioxidants such as vitamin C and E.

Recently researchers have investigated its benefits on blood sugar control, a growing topic with the rise of diabetes.

But formulating the ingredient in food and drinks has been severely limited by the product's stability, which significantly declines under key processing conditions like heat and powder blending, and its low solubility.

Labochim says its new combination will be more cost effective than regular ALA as L-carnitine is a less expensive ingredient. Standard ALA costs between €180-200 per kg depending on the quantity sold while the R+ form is as much as €600 per kg.

The combination will also raise efficacy of the antioxidant making it a cost-effective option. The firm has not investigated the health benefits of its new compound, although it is thought that adding an antioxidant to carnitine is benefical as it helps metabolism without causing a corresponding increase in the production of free radicals.

ALA, like L-carnitine, has recently been approved as a food in Japan, one of the biggest markets for the antioxidant. Its new status is likely to further boost the current double-digit growth in the antioxidant.

"Japan is consuming several tens of tons of the ingredient. But many properties of ALA are still to be discussed,"​ added Salvi.

Other European companies offering ALA are also innovating to increase its use in foods.

Degussa is planning to offer its Alipure product in a liquid formulation for beverages and soft gels, probably by the end of the first quarter. Early trials on this version suggest that it offers improved bioavailability over standard alpha-lipoic acid.

The German firm has also recently introduced a new alpha-lipoic acid that has been microencapsulated with alpha-cyclodextrin produced by chemicals group Wacker to improve its shelf life and taste.

Labochim has also added a solvent-free range of alpha-lipoic acid products in a bid to expand sales to the supplements sector.

It launched its Thioctic-L-carnitine potassium salt at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California, last week.

Related topics: Suppliers, Antioxidants/carotenoids

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