The ingredients firm said today that the benefits of the acid have been underestimated in Europe, as opposed to the US where it has a successful history of use. Corporate development manager Franck Behnam said AquaNova extended its research into alpha-lipoic acid after looking at the states, where lipoic acid has been available on the market for a number of years. Benham told NutraIngredients.com: "It is a hard question to answer why it has been ignored as a nutraceutical in Europe. "It has been used in the US for diabetes where it is available in large amounts. But it is also used in the cosmetics industry because of its ability to prevent oxidation and as dietary supplements". Lipoic acid has been linked to a host of health benefits, including enhancing heart and artery health, immune and brain functions and has been shown to support weight reduction. The move will also expand AquaNova's NovaSol brand of products. AquaNova is aiming the product, under the name NovaSol Lipoic, into dietary supplements, especially soft gel capsules, drinkable supplements and cosmetics. The company said its alpha-lipoic acid water-soluble formulation has an absorption rate three times higher than the normal acid, and more than twice as high as conventional dispersions in oil. "Furthermore the skin penetration characteristics are significantly improved," the company said. At the moment AquaNova has launched the products in a 20 per cent and 10 per cent quantities across Europe. Last year AquaNova used its NovaSol nanotechnology to market products aimed at the weight management and satiety market. The company's carrier system for active substances is similar to microencapsulation but on a nano scale. The active substance is contained within product micelles which are just 30nm in diameter - that is, one millionth of a millimeter.