Seppic, a subsidiary of the Air Liquide group, whose roots are in supplying excipients and active ingredients to the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and vaccine markets, created its Sepifit Protect complex for inclusion in pre- and post-workout formulas or in multi-vitamin supplements aimed at active people.
“We’ve been in the health and wellbeing space for a while but this is the first targeted ingredient for sports and for muscle recovery and protection. Feedback from Vitafoods visitors was that complete muscle protection with antioxidants is an interesting and meaningful concept.
"We have plans to expand our offering in this category by developing ingredient complexes for other areas of sports nutrition and vitality,” Mariana Tavares, head of nutrition activity at Seppic, told NutraIngredients.
Harnessing the French paradox
A combination of red wine polyphenol, vitamin E and zinc, the company says Sepifit Protect contibutes to the protection of muscle cells against both fatigue and damage caused by sport, thus optimising recovery and performance for athletes.
The company said this evidence was based on a proprietary in vitro model developed by its innovation centre.
“This model is based on human muscle cells and is able to mimic the effect of intense exercise, especially muscle fatigue and muscle damage.
"We have strong data from this model confirming the efficacy of a specific protective antioxidant combination on both muscle fatigue and muscle damage,” explained Tavares.
This effect can be gleaned from a daily dosage of 135 mg per day, and the complex has been designed so that a dosage fits easily into a single tablet or capsule, she added.
The company said the product’s efficacy was based on synergies between the ingredients, which act together to block cellular oxidation mechanisms and their harmful consequences on the cell.
“Sepifit Protect is made of a combination of antioxidant ingredients, all well accepted by consumers, but carefully selected to offer synergistic efficacy and ease of formulation,” said Tavares.
Sum greater than the individual parts
She was keen to emphasise that the effects are not attributable to individual ingredients, and only come into play when the ingredients are used in combination.
“We have data showing that each single component of Sepifit Protect does not show a significant protective effect on both muscle fatigue and damage.
"Hence we consider that the benefits come from the synergy between all ingredients which probably have different and complementary modes of action on the protection of muscle cells. Central to this action lies a multiple antioxidant mechanism, but there are probably additional mechanisms to be discovered,” explained Tavares.
Asked whether Seppic had plans for clinical trials, Tavares said it was “a little too early to say but maybe in future”.
Vitamin E and zinc claims allowed
Without clinical backing, clearly an EU-approved claim under the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation (NHCR) framework isn’t imminent for Sepifit Protect. However, the company pointed out that the existing claim ‘vitamin E and zinc contribute to the protection of muscle cells from oxidative stress’ should be possible if conditions of the use of the claim are respected.
The complex is the first product in a new range of ‘vitality’ ingredients to be marketed under the Sepifit brand and targeting growing sports nutrition consumer groups such as weekend warriors, active lifestylers, women and seniors.
“Our innovation centre is working on new innovations and we intend to offer other active ingredients for vitality in the future,” confirmed Tavares.