DSM will take over global marketing of the marigold-sourced zeaxanthin form under its ‘OPTISHARP’ brand that includes its synthetic version of the nutrient linked to eye, cognitive and skin health (although not as yet authorised for such associations under the EU’s strict nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR).
In other parts of the world some claims are permitted such as structure-function claims in the US. Health Canada also backs claims.
"It will be a bit more expensive than synthetic as it is a more premium offering," Jens Birrer, DSM global marketing manager for carotenoids in human nutrition told us. "But both are free zeaxanthin, not esters and so bioavailability is not significantly different."
Anita Norian, Kemin president of human nutrition and health called the deal that builds on a carotenoid partnership dating back to the 1990s, “a real win for both our customers”.
The deal means Kemin, which holds patents around marigold zeaxanthin extraction, will become DSM’s exclusive natural zeaxanthin “crystalline material” supplier globally in human nutrition.
“DSM will also invest in high performance product form innovations for dietary supplement and food applications,” the companies said.
Norian added: “Customers will be offered easy-to-use, convenient formulations that combine the two complementary ingredients, lutein and zeaxanthin.”
Will Black, DSM vice president of marketing for human nutrition and health in North America affirmed the companies’ commitment to researching the health benefits of the carotenoid and others like lutein.
There has been some debate within the carotenoid sector and among academics about varying bioavailability between natural and synthetic forms of these carotenoids, and in which combination they work best to support eye health and more.
Lutein and some other carotenoids are most strongly linked in the scientific literature with reducing the onset of advanced macular degeneration (AMD), which tends to affect the eyesight of older people.
The ingredient will be debut at Supply Side West in Las Vegas, Nevada, this month.