L-Carnitine – "Unquestionable" room for market growth: Lonza


08 Feb 2018 --- From facilitating the recovery process in the sports nutrition sector to improving energy metabolism in healthy aging products, L-Carnitine has proven itself a versatile ingredient with the potential to be applied in myriad applications. “Sports nutrition, weight management, all these areas are still growing. There is no question that there is a lot of room for L-Carnitine’s development. We see a lot of demand coming from Asia and Africa for infant food applications. The other big market is for sure energy drinks,” Marco Gossen, Business Development Manager at Lonza, explains during a NutritionInsight webinar last week, looking at product development and untapped opportunities for L-Carnitine.

“L-Carnitine as ingredient is gaining NPD traction within the ‘sporty related’ category and beyond. L-Carnitine is enjoying significant growth (2017 vs. 2012) of almost 31 percent in food & beverages with sports-related claims. Further innovation is taking place as the mainstreaming of sports nutrition accelerates,” Robin Wyers, Chief Editor at Innova Market Insights, notes during the webinar. “If we take all food and beverages with L-Carnitine in new launches tracked we can find a strong CAGR of almost 13 percent between 2011 and 2017. If we take 2011 as a base of 100, this means that around 2.5 times as many products were tracked with l-carnitine in 2017 as in 2011.”

Click to EnlargeDue to its versatility, the opportunities for L-Carnitine applications are vast. Just over half of products containing the nutritional ingredient came in the Baby & toddlers space. Pet food was second on almost 20 percent, while sports nutrition followed on almost 13 percent. But other areas such as supplements, soft drinks and clinical nutrition also featured launches. 

One company offering a special grade of L-Carnitine is the Swiss company Lonza, which launched its Carnipure L-Carnitine product over 30 years ago. 

Lonza notes that both Carnipure products – Carnipure crystalline and Carnipure tartrate – are self-affirmed GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe). Carnipure tartrate is considered safe for daily consumption by EFSA (the European Food Safety Authority) and approved by the Japanese MHLW (Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare). The product has found widespread application in the areas of sports nutrition, weight management, healthy aging and infant nutrition.

Dosage form technologies pushing growth
One notable aspect of L-Carnitine is that improved food and dosage form technologies have supported its growth. 

“A lot of customers are requesting clean label and especially vegetarian forms, and consumer studies have found that customers prefer liquid dosage forms, because they are easy to swallow,” Gossen notes.

In this regard, Gossen explains that Lonza can provide, also in combination with Capsugel, Carnipure in Licaps form, which is a vegetarian capsule that meets clean label requirements.

Click to Enlarge
Marco Gossen, Business Development Manager, Lonza

“Licaps capsules are a nice example of how novel technology can meet the expectations of the demanding consumer. Novel formulations presented in an attractive Licaps capsule including Carnitine and choline address the demand for solutions against fatigue from Boomers and millennials,” Gossen says.

EFSA health claims
Last month, EFSA reported that Lonza’s application for a health claim for L-carnitine’s contribution to normal lipid metabolism had been dismissed. The claimed effect of L-carnitine proposed by Lonza was “normal lipid metabolism,” with the claim submitted with this application based on the essentiality of a nutrient. EFSA noted that although it acknowledged that L-carnitine is needed for the transport of long-chain fatty acids across the mitochondrial membrane, “the human body is able to synthesize L-carnitine from methionine and lysine, and that there is a consensus that L-carnitine is not an essential nutrient. No dietary reference values have been set for L-carnitine.”

Despite this news, Gossen notes there are enough options and support for the ingredient.

“Regarding FDA regulations, Carnitine has been grandfathered and has GRAS status in the US; it has been on the market for 30 years. In Europe, the regulation is slightly different but in the end it is also a grandfathered product, not a novel food, and can therefore be used in all food applications,” Gossen says.

Combining L-Carnitine with other ingredients, such as choline, is another avenue towards being able to create products with health claims.

“The nice thing about choline is that it has been granted an EFSA claim regarding normal fat metabolism, so combining these two ingredients as a finished dosage makes it easier to receive an EFSA claim.”

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Lonza is one of the world’s leading suppliers to the pharmaceutical, healthcare and life science industries.

In the nutrition sector, Lonza offers a portfolio of branded health ingredients:

Carnipure™ is high quality L-carnitine, a nutrient essential for energy metabolism. Extensive scientific research shows that Carnipure™ can play a beneficial role in many areas of health, such as sports nutrition, weight management, infant nutrition, male fertility, and pregnancy.

Made from naturally occurring microalgae, DHAid™ is a purely vegetarian source of omega-3 DHA. Health benefits of DHAid™ include the support of brain development and function as well as heart and eye health.

ResistAid™ is a natural proprietary immune support ingredient that is formulated to deliver triple action immune benefits year round. Made from North American larch trees, it consists of arabinogalactan and bioactive flavonoids, which have antioxidant capacity.

The Memree™ brand covers a line of products that contain high quality, soy-based phosphatidylserine. Phosphatidylserine is an important structural component of cell membranes and is found in concentrated amounts in brain cells. Products in the Memree™ line include MemreePS™ for cognitive health and MemreePlus™ for cognitive health, stress reduction and exercise recovery applications.

Lonza is the leading supplier of vitamin B3 in the form of Niacin and Niacinamide. Vitamin B3 is an essential vitamin needed for protein, carbohydrate and fat metabolism. Additionally, Niacin has been shown to support healthy levels of HDL. Vitamin B3 is widely used in dietary supplements and functional foods and beverages.


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