Natraceutical seeks patent on high flavonoid cocoa ingredient

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Antioxidant

Spanish biotech Natraceutical has solicited a patent for its new
cocoa-derived CCX-70 ingredient, which boasts six times the
antioxidant value of vitamin C and gives dietetic food and
supplement formulators a new healthy tool to work with.

CCX-70 forms part of Natraceutical's CocoanOx range of ingredients, which was introduced to the industry last November. The company says its total antioxidant content is 70 percent and as much as 50 per cent of its procyanidins (a kind of flavonoid) are epicatchins.

Marketing manager Pedro Arenas told that these epicatechins are "well known to be responsible for cardiovascular health benefits".

The ORAC value (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) of CCX-70 is 18,000.

Cocoa polyphenols have been studied for their health effects, including the potential to protect against reactive oxygen species involved in the aetiology of degenerative diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, cataract, diabetes and rheumatoid disease. Some research has also centered their scavenging of free radicals, related to cancer, cardiovascular disease and the immune system.

"Cocoa is one of the biggest trends in the food and supplement sector, and more scientific data is coming to light every day,"​ said Arenas.

Two of the most significant pieces of research on the subject relate to cocoa flavanols dose-depended reduction of oxidative DNA damage (Orozco et al 2003) and their relation with low prevalence of atherosclerotic diseases and no rise in blood pressure with age (Hollenberg et al 1997 and 1999).

According to Business Insights, the market potential for flavonoids in the dietetic and nutritional supplement market is in excess of €670m for 2007, with annual increases of 12 per cent.

The latest patent application covers both the production method to obtain different extracts from cocoa with high antioxidant capacity, and the ingredient itself. Arenas explained that Natraceutical has partnerships in place that give it access to cocoa beans with the highest polyphenol compound.

Through its extraction method, it aims to "preserve the natural content of polyphenols in the raw material"​, said Arenas - an undertaking that can otherwise prove difficult since polyphenols are notoriously sensitive to heat and other factors.

So far, the ingredient has only been used by tea companies, who are important customers since they have knowledge of the market for launching new products using this kind of ingredient.

With these customers, Natraceutical is currently validating the antioxidant capacity in final products.

Arenas said that a trial is also underway to investigate its potential to help increase the shelf life of certain foods.

In February Natraceutical reported income of €53m in 2005 - double the 2004 figure - and a positive outlook for the current year.

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