Fenchem affirms non-GMO joint health status

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Chondroitin sulfate, Joint health, Genetically modified organism, Osteoarthritis

Chinese supplier Fenchem is diversifying its presence in the joint health sector by announcing the non-GMO (genetically modified organism) status of its sodium hyaluronate (HA) offerings.

HA is typically extracted from poultry or bovine sources and GMOs have been used to deliver high-yielding strains.

Fenchem says its version, called HyaMax, can be claimed as “non-GM” ​as well as being “totally free from BSE, allergen and virus”.

“To obtain a high yielding strain, some companies used transgenic technology for HA production,”​ the company said. “It is an effective way to get HA with high productivity. But the use of GMOs has always sparked significant controversy in many areas.”

Joint health

HA is similar to the synovial fluid that surrounds your joints and acts as a lubricant and shock absorber. It is typically injected into the joints but has become popular as a nutraceutical competing with the likes of chondroitin sulphate and glucosamine as non-pharmaceutical or surgical means to deal with joint discomfort.

San Diego-based Nutrition Business Journal​ put the US for chondroitin and sulphate at $810m (€553m) in 2005. The majority of the world’s chondroitin and glucosamine is sourced from China.

HA is increasingly being used as a cosmeceutical ingredient as some research has shown it can deliver skin benefits.

Fenchem’s Hyamax range also includes calcium and zinc versions.

The HA market is growing at 15 per cent in the US of which Fenchem holds about 40 per cent.

It is hoping the non-GMO status of the ingredient will boost its presence in GMO-wary Europe.

The company has also affirmed the non-irradiation of its chondroitin sulfate as it bids to step up its presence in Europe.

It said analysis of chondroitin sulfate offerings revealed there was a widespread problem with irradiation, even with companies that announced “non-irradiation”.

“A strict control method is important for a customer,”​ company spokesperson, Junny Liu told NutraIngredients.com.

Fenchem employs enzymatic-HPLC testing to guarantee its non-irradiation.

Other combinations

French supplier, Diana Naturals, Antrain, France, recently launched a joint health formulation under the Phytonutriance ChondrActiv brand.

The patented ingredient contains a combination of collagen type-2, chondroitin sulfate and HA and is extracted from chicken cartilage.

A clinical trial involving 37 people with “joint issues” ​showed ChondrActiv decreased the consumption of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) by 73 per cent, while mobility and quality of life was improved.

The double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was performed with 1500mg ChondrActiv daily intake against placebo for three months, with additional testing after a three-month period.

A further in vitro ​bioavailability study showed ChondrActiv was three times more bioavailable than “native cartilage”.

Fenchem is the first Chinese supplier to gain IP certificate for soy-derived natural vitamin E and phytosterols and has a policy of avoiding GMO wherever it can.

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