The company is sourcing the ingredient from palm oil via its parent, IOI Group Loders Croklaan, where economies of scale made entering the vitamin E market a compelling proposition the Dutch lipid specialist could not refuse.
“There is big potential in tocotrienol,” Lipid Nutrition’s global group manager of marketing, John Kurstjens, told NutraIngredients.com this morning. “It is a promising ingredient that has shown benefits in skin, hair and heart health.”
Tip of the iceberg
But he acknowledged more research needed to be done on tocotrienols, especially of the clinical kind, because most of the studies conducted so far were animal studies.
Lipid Nutrition had no immediate plans to conduct any trials of its own.
“It is at the beginning of the life cycle – if you compare it to say vitamin D, where this a lot of science, it may be ten years behind. So it is the tip of the iceberg but initial studies are very promising,” Kurstjens added.
Studies into tocotrienols account for less than one per cent of all research into vitamin E.
Lipid Nutrition will launch the ingredient, VitaTrin, at the Vitafoods trade show in Geneva next week, where international food supplements manufacturers will be met with.
“There are already several tocotrienol food supplement products on the market in the US so there is awareness there although there is much more work to be done in Europe,” he said.
“At a business level it is rising here but most consumers would know little between the different forms of vitamin E.”
Despite this, he said tocotrienol offered the potential to differentiate from the other principal vitamin E form – tocopherol – at least at a business-to-business level.
“It is being marketed in the US a ‘super vitamin E’,” he said.
The vitamin E family
There are eight forms of vitamin E: four tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma, delta) and four tocotrienols (alpha, beta, gamma, delta). Alpha-tocopherol is the main source found in supplements and in the European diet, while gamma-tocopherol is the most common form in the American diet.
Tocotrienols are only minor components in plants, although several sources with relatively high levels include palm oil as well as cereal grains and rice bran.
Kurstjens said there were no plans to introduce VitaTrin to foods at the moment, something that would require European Union Novel Foods approval and which had not yet been sought.
He wouldn’t reveal pricing of the non-GMO and kosher certified offering but said it would be competitive with other antioxidant ingredients.
The palm oil source was harvested and processed in a sustainable way, the company said.
Tocotrienols and baldness
A recent study from Carotech found its patented version of tocotrienol could increase hair growth in people with male pattern baldness by 42 per cent.
The eight month randomized, placebo-controlled trial involved 28 volunteers with androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness), and was performed at the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Science Malaysia.
“This is the first ever study to report such benefits for tocotrienols,” Dr Sharon Ling, regional sales manager for Carotech, told NutraIngredients.com this week ahead of a presentation at Vitafoods.