DSM’s new CoQ10 product, more bioavailable than the commonly marketed crystal form, is set to open up a number of food and drink applications for the ingredient, already booming in supplement form.
Scheduled to launch at the end of September under the All-Q brand, the product uses a starch-based powder as a carrier for 10% purity CoQ10. This makes the normally fat-soluble ingredient stable for formulation in water-based beverages, dairy products or energy drinks.
CoQ10, an antioxidant believed to help cells convert oxygen into energy and function efficiently, has surged in popularity among supplement users in recent years following studies indicating it could aid cardiovascular health and help slow the progression of Parkinson's disease.
Conservative estimates put worldwide sales of CoQ10 at around $350m in 2004 - and they could have been considerably more if not stemmed by availability issues.
While Japan and the US remain the biggest markets for the supplement, this year has seen the launch of a number of new functional foods containing the ingredient in Europe, including an anti-ageing range from dairy group Parmalat.
Predicting increased demand for similar products, DSM is buying CoQ10 from an external supplier and making it easier to use for food and supplement makers.
The more typical crystalline form is fat-soluble and therefore difficult to add to many food types. The All-Q product is stable in water-based beverages and is also more bioavailable, says DSM, despite having 10% purity compared to the almost 100% CoQ10 crystals.
"Pure crystals are less bioavailable to the body than finely dispersed particle forms," explained Peter Schuler, responsible for the product's launch at Food Ingredients Europe later this year.
A study demonstrating the higher bioavailability of the product, found to be on a par with Q-Gel CoQ10, will be published in the Journal of Medicinal Food (v8, issue 3) this year.
This higher bioavailability makes the ingredient better at offering its purported health properties.
"If a person absorbs only 20% from crystals and say, 80% of the CoQ10 from the All-Q, then they get more of the active," said Mr Schuler.
DSM has already introduced the 10% CoQ10 in a poultry gelatine beadlet for supplement makers.
Prior to the US launch of the product in March and this month's launch for the European market, supplement makers used CoQ10 crystals suspended in oil and then encapsulated in soft gelatine capsules.
The new powder made by DSM's Nutritional Products unit makes the antioxidant ingredient suitable for tabletting, increasing its use in multivitamins and other tablets.
The leading vitamin maker says tabletters will also see low extrusion loss - the amount of active substance that is squeezed out of the blended ingredients during pressing of the tablets - making them more active in the tablet and involving less waste.
Lynda Doyle, DSM's director of business development, said earlier this year that competing brands experienced 100% extrusion loss, compared with just 1.9% for All-Q.
The food-grade version is suitable for vegetarians.