Balchem’s new choline-enriched folate supports pregnancy, life stages

By Claudia Adrien

- Last updated on GMT

In the United States, 70% of pregnant women take prenatal vitamins, creating an opportunity for brands to deliver novel technology. @ damircudic / Getty Images
In the United States, 70% of pregnant women take prenatal vitamins, creating an opportunity for brands to deliver novel technology. @ damircudic / Getty Images

Related tags folate vitamin deficiency

Global ingredients manufacturer Balchem has launched Optifolin, a bioactive, choline-enriched folate salt, designed to enhance cellular health throughout pregnancy, child development and adulthood.

Optifolin is a combination of folate (L-5-MTHF) with the Balchem's brand of choline, VitaCholine. The ingredient promotes balanced and effective methylation, a process that controls gene expression within the body, a spokesperson said. Optifolin is a patented L-5-methylfolate, with 98% active methylating nutrients, providing seven times the methyl groups found in other folate products. The supplement can support DNA and RNA synthesis, red blood cell formation, protein metabolism and neural tube development, while supporting healthy fetal development.

“While there are existing folate solutions available on the market, Optifolin ​is the first choline-enriched salt in this space,” Frederic Boned, senior vice president and general manager, Balchem Human Nutrition and Health, said in a statement. “This unique folate and choline combination has seven times the methyl groups than other folate brands and is critical to building and preserving genetic material which help support prenatal, heart and brain health. The women’s health market is witnessing significant growth, driven by the desire for tailored solutions to address gender-specific needs through all life stages.”

Understanding the market

In the United States, 70% of pregnant women take prenatal vitamins, creating an opportunity for brands to deliver novel technology during this critical time of life, according to Lauren Eisen, senior marketing and business development manager at Balchem, Minerals and Nutrients.

For manufacturers formulating with Optifolin, the combination of choline with L-5-methylfolate offers enhanced stability, solubility for efficiency, shelf life and better performance, a spokesperson said. The combination also can provide for easier development of innovative and convenient solutions including tablets, capsules, sachets and stick packs.

Eisen added that 16% of Americans do not get enough folate from food and beverage alone and that this percentage is climbing to 27% for women aged 19 and older.

“The market opportunity is clear,” Eisen said. “Brands can now seize the moment and innovate with next-generations solutions that offer multiple health benefits, contributing to bridging this nutritional gap while aligning with consumers’ personalized needs. In today’s market, there is a demand for functional ingredients with tangible benefits, and Optifolin brings in unique qualities that differentiate it from existing options.”

The benefits of Optifolin are not only limited to prenatal care, she added. By incorporating this folate into their daily routines, consumers can support multiple areas of health. This includes the brain and the nervous system, and also heart health by maintaining normal levels of homocysteine, an amino acid naturally produced in the blood. She said this opens untapped opportunities for manufacturers looking to innovate with folate.

Earlier this month, Balchem signed a multi-year partnership agreement with the New York Jets in its push to raise awareness about the ingredient's wider benefits for mood, brain health and overall well-being. As a presenting partner for the Jets, VitaCholine will be featured in all communications and marketing materials associated with the game.

“This is a pivotal moment for both choline and particularly VitaCholine, as awareness of the many health benefits of the essential nutrient continues to expand”, said Dominik Mattern, vice president of marketing, business development and science at Balchem. “Choline’s crucial role in pregnancy has been well-established by experts. Now, with emerging clinical evidence showcasing its positive effects on adult mental performance and physical wellness, it’s an ideal time to embark on this dynamic partnership with the New York Jets." 

He also noted that this may be the beginning of more personalized supplement solutions for the folate market, paving the way for the next-generation of tailored solutions that help maintain the integrity of human health and body repair.

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