Available in Scandinavian countries for the past two years, Litozin was discovered and developed by small, family run Danish business Hyben Vital.
With five years of scientific research behind it and 13 studies completed to date, Litozin is making its debut on a US market that is hungry for safe and effective solutions.
EuroPharma founder and president Terry Lemerond told NutraIngredients-USA.com that the origins of the ingredient are home-spun. The grandfather suffered from arthritis and began eating rosehip jam, a traditional Scandinavian remedy, to alleviate the pain. He was so impressed by the effects that he started to grow the plant on his farm, and managed to identify the active galactolipid compound (GOPO).
GOPO content varies considerably between different species of rose hip, but Hyben Vital was able to develop a sub-species with the highest possible content.
Its patented drying process ensures that high levels of the compound remain in the finished product. EuroPharma says that conventional processing methods, including sun drying, destroy the GOPO, meaning that little or none of it remains in other commonly-available rose hip products.
Litozin is GRAS (generally recognized as safe) in the United States. "We are going to work with anyone who wants to put it in any kind of food, such as bread, bars or even powders," said Lemerond.
Lemerond takes the credit for introducing the hugely popular joint health ingredient glucosamine to the US market. He explained that glucosamine has a different mechanism of action to Litozin: it rebuilds cartilage but does not act as an anti-inflammatory.
Of the chemical, pharmacological and clinical studies involving Litozin completed to date, the most recent, published in the August 2005 issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology, found it resulted in a significant reduction in pain on the WOMAC scale after three months.
Whereas glucosamine has been shown to be effective in 40 percent of study participants, Litozin boasts efficacy in 82 percent of cases, said Lemerond. What is more, in the Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology study patients were allowed to take 'rescue medication' to reduce the pain after the first three weeks, if they felt the need.
With Litozin, use of rescue medication significantly declined, in some cases by 100 percent. This is particularly significant given the recent safety concerns over conventional pain relief medication such as Cox-2 inhibitor Vioxx.
Since Litozin is an anti-inflammatory, it could be useful for other inflammation-related conditions such as asthma, psoriasis and Crohn's disease. However its use in these areas has not yet been studied or patented.
Glucosamine sulphate was introduced to the US market in 1993, and estimates set the market value at around $800 million. Around half of the new joint health supplement products listed in Mintel's Global New Products Database in 2004 contain glucosamine - a far higher proportion than for any other ingredient.
Lemerond said that it will take a few years to get the word out about Litozin, but he expects that it will be "quite explosive" in time, becoming a $100 to $150 million product in the next two to three years.
In Sweden, where glucosamine is available on prescription and is therefore free to users, 50-60,000 units of Litozin are sold each month, according to Lemerond. He said this means that users are choosing to use a product they have to pay for over the free one, as it is so effective.
The first entry into the market will take place this month, through internet and mail order marketer Swanson Health Products.
Lemerond said that he is currently in negotiations to introduce it through additional distribution channels.