Particle size matters: Taiyo on SunActive Fe’s absorption pathway

By Asia Sherman

- Last updated on GMT

The latest research confirms that the micronized SunActive Fe particles are absorbed via endocytosis through the M cells in the intestines. © Bet_Noire / Getty Images
The latest research confirms that the micronized SunActive Fe particles are absorbed via endocytosis through the M cells in the intestines. © Bet_Noire / Getty Images

Related tags Taiyo Iron supplements Bioavailability absorption

Ingredient supplier Taiyo International is spotlighting findings from a recent study comparing the heightened bioavailability of its SunActive Fe ingredient to other iron fortifiers on the market.

Carried out by researchers at the National Facility for Biopharmaceuticals in Mumbai, India, the independent in vitro ​study​ used a model replicating just absorption through the Microfold (M cells), determining that SunActive Fe yielded 40% iron transport compared to the 10.26% and 0.48% of two other encapsulated Ferric Pyrophosphate preparations on the market.

“This nearly four-fold enhanced absorption via M cells compared to the nearest competitor shows the special properties that SunActive Fe possesses due to its patented technology,” said Derek Timm, PhD, RDN, technical sales director at Taiyo International.

This patented nutrient delivery technology micronizes and encapsulates insoluble minerals to create a stable dispersion of endosomal iron pyrophosphate particles (fine) particles when mixed in water.

Study Nº 16: A fuller picture

The latest study, published in the International Journal of Scientific Study​, is the 16th on the ingredient and confirms preliminary in vitro​ findings that SunActive Fe is absorbed via endocytosis through the M cells in the intestines. 

“Endocytosis is a cellular process by which cells take in materials from their external environment by engulfing them with their cell membrane,” the company explained in a statement. “It is a form of active transport that allows cells to internalize various substances, including nutrients, signaling molecules, pathogens, and cellular debris.”

A well-known absorption pathway of liposomes, endocytosis is juxtaposed against the absorption of water-soluble iron and other soluble minerals as metal2+​-ions via the divalent metal ion transporter 1 (DMT-1) of the intestinal cells – a channel that Taiyo points out is already saturated with minerals competing for absorption. 

The researchers also carried out a particle analysis of the three iron pyrophosphate sources (SunActive, Sideral and Lipofer), reporting that the average SunActive particle size was 50 to 100 times smaller than that of the other sources.

“This study also demonstrates the reason for this enhanced absorption through the M cells, which is due to the optimal particle size,” said Dr. Timm. “By confirming this absorption pathway, it paints a fuller picture of why the product has good bioavailability.”

SunActive on the market

The SunActive nutrient delivery system launched in the early 2000s and today includes iron, magnesium, zinc and coenzyme Q10. SunActive Fe achieved self-affirmed GRAS status​ in the U.S. in 2004, with the evolved form used in the studies introduced in 2018. 

“U.S. and E.U. interest in SunActive Fe, along with all of the other products within the SunActive series, has been robust due to the increased stability, absorption, bioavailability and tolerability,” said Dr. Timm. “This is resulting in opportunities to improve existing formulas. It is also creating new product opportunities for iron supplementation that were not possible before SunActive Fe.” 

He pointed to the continued iron supplement needs among pregnant women, infants and teenage girls, the growing demand among vegan and vegetarian consumers who have lower iron intake, and opportunities in the sports nutrition category.

SunActive Fe is distributed by Taiyo for food and beverage applications and through partner NutriScience Innovations for dietary supplements.

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