Heart matters: Firms pin hopes on vitamin K2 and red yeast rice extract formula for Asia success

By Audrey Yow

- Last updated on GMT

A new formula combining vitamin K2 and red yeast rice extract from SunWay Biotech and Gnosis by Lesaffre is being pitched as ‘pivotal chance’ to boost cardiometabolic health in Asia. © Getty Images
A new formula combining vitamin K2 and red yeast rice extract from SunWay Biotech and Gnosis by Lesaffre is being pitched as ‘pivotal chance’ to boost cardiometabolic health in Asia. © Getty Images

Related tags Red yeast rice Vitamin k cardiovascular health Cardiovascular disease Heart health

A new formula combining vitamin K2 and red yeast rice extract from SunWay Biotech and Gnosis by Lesaffre is being pitched as ‘pivotal chance’ to boost cardiometabolic health in Asia.

MenaQ7 Metabolic combines two key active ingredients, MenaQ7 Vitamin K2 as MK-7 and ANKASCIN 568-R, which is extracted from fermented products of a patented functional red yeast strain, Monascus purpureus NTU 568.

“This innovative formula not only addresses the root causes of metabolic issues but also provides a holistic approach to maintaining heart health, bone strength, and optimal metabolic functions. The extensive clinical research behind both MenaQ7 and ANKASCIN 568-R underpins the effectiveness of this unique blend, making it a pivotal choice for those seeking to improve their cardiometabolic health,”​ said John Pan, General Manager of Sunway Biotech.

The rising demand for vitamin K2 and red yeast rice extract

Pan observed that there is a preference for richer, more flavourful foods, especially in the APAC region. When combined with high sugar and fat content, such a diet could lead to an increased risk of metabolic syndrome.

He believes that this is a main driving force behind the rise in demand for cardiometabolic health supplements with vitamin K2 and red yeast rice extracts.

Pan points out that the vitamin K2 market is projected to grow at a CAGR of between 10 to 15% from 2021 to 2025. This upward trend is driven by an escalating demand for vitamin K2-enriched products, as evidenced by a more than 30% increase in product launches since 2015.

As for red yeast rice supplements, the market was valued at $525.9 million in 2022 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.04% from 2023 to 2030, reaching $972.4 million by 2030.

“The collaboration between SunWay Biotech and Gnosis by Lesaffre to launch MenaQ7® Metabolic underscores the dynamic growth in this segment, offering a synthetic-chemical-free solution for cardiovascular health. This resonates with the increasing consumer demand for safer, more natural health solutions,”​ said Pan.

Science-backed solutions for cardiometabolic issues

Vitamin K2 can be found in chickpeas as well as natto, a traditional Japanese food. It is essential for both bone and cardiovascular health by activating proteins that bind calcium to bones, enhancing bone density and reducing fracture risk. Additionally, it prevents arterial calcification, maintaining heart health by keeping arteries flexible.

Human clinical research has documented the health benefits associated with MenaQ7 vitamin K. In particular, Menaquinone-7 supplementation improves arterial stiffness and helps decrease bone loss in healthy postmenopausal women. It is also shown to have positive effects on body fat and weight.

As for red yeast rice, it is a traditional Chinese medicine and food supplement popular in East Asian countries such as China, Japan, Korea, and Thailand. The traditional red yeast rice supplement contains naturally occurring monacolin K, which is well-known for improving blood circulation by decreasing cholesterol and triglyceride levels in humans. However, monacolin K can trigger the same side effects as statin drugs, including muscle, kidney, and liver damage.

ANKASCIN® 568-R, on the other hand, is the only fermented botanical ingredient free from monacolin K.

SunWay Biotech has completed five clinical trials and more than 130 SCI publications for ANKASCIN® 568-R, which is shown to benefit blood glucose levels, lipid profiles, blood pressure maintenance, cognitive health and weight management.

ANKASCIN® 568-R also contains two main pigments from red yeast rice, monascin and ankaflavin. These components have demonstrated stronger benefits than conventional red yeast rice with no side effects. For example, it addresses the root cause of ageing-related factors like advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and inflammatory cytokines. It can also help with blood glucose management, cardiovascular health, weight management, and cognitive health.

Therefore, combining MenaQ7® Vitamin K2 as MK-7 and ANKASCIN® 568-R is a unique complementary approach for cardiometabolic health.

Distribution plans

SunWay Biotech and Gnosis by Lesaffre aim to expand globally by leveraging on this collaboration to tackle some of the world’s most prevalent health issues.

They plan on introducing MenaQ7® Metabolic to Taiwan first, as it is a market that’s open to innovative health solutions. Thereafter, they will expand their reach to China and Malaysia to capitalise on the growing demand for quality health supplements in the region.

This phased approach will allow them to tailor launch strategies according to the unique preferences and regulatory landscape in each market, ensuring a strong foundation for broader Asian expansion.

Healthier Product Innovation will be taking centre stage at our Growth Asia Summit 2024 this coming July, which will feature insights from a wide range of industry leaders and experts. Don't miss out – register here​ today!

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