Lipids and Nutraceuticals January 2021
by Laurence Eyres FNZIFST and Mike Eyres
Lipid technology being utilized in Covid-19 Vaccines
It has been interesting to read recently about the use of lipid and liposome technologies that we commonly see in the world of nutraceuticals being utilized in the new Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna mRNA Covid-19 Vaccines.
The technical problem that appears to have been solved is that mRNA is very fragile. Hence the need for keeping these vaccines cold. Charged lipid nanoparticles have been found to be the ideal coating for mRNA as they form a stable coating and facilitate the movement of mRNA particles across cell membranes into the cell cytosol where they are able to use cellular machinery to produce the spike membrane proteins of the corona virus.
For those interested in reading more I recommend having a look at this 2016 review that explains the technology further:
The lipids utilized for the nanoparticles in these vaccines are highly specialized and modified. Although the development in this area has been happening for more than a decade, it will be very interesting to watch this space for additional innovations that may arise from this recent technological arms race that has been fueled by billions of dollars.
Do supplements have a place in weight loss new year’s resolutions?
It’s that time of year when people have made their resolutions, are hitting the gym and embarking on their new diets. Weight loss nutraceuticals have been a growing product category over the past few years and it is likely that this will continue in 2021. But the big question of course is do any of them work?
An excellent recently published review analysed the available literature with regard to most nutraceuticals currently marketed for weight loss. The authors rate the quality of the evidence by ingredient and also provide the dosages used in trials. They conclude that many of the ingredients covered do have an effect although the effects are often not clinically relevant when the ingredients are used singily. They advocate for further study of combinations of ingredients with synergistic mechanisms of action. For those interested in reading more, the paper is well worth reading:
Big investment for marine lipid research for EXPAX Norway
In December news of a major investment into research into marine lipids in Norway was announced. EPAX Norway is set to receive nearly 8 million kroner from the Norwegian Research Council to fund research in partnership with academic institutions into 30 naturally occurring marine lipids including DHA and EPA. Research areas are to cover cardiovascular, reproductive, ocular, cognitive and skin health and will include clinical trials. The research publications generated by this collaboration will be greatly anticipated and will no doubt help New Zealand’s own seafood and marine lipid ingredient industries.
Growth, innovation and awards for NZ functional beverages
Functional healthy beverages continue to be increasingly popular products in New Zealand and around the word, this is especially true amongst millennials who prefer health products as foods or drinks rather than pills and who are also looking for alternatives to conventional sodas high in sugar and alcoholic beverages.
Collagen powdered beverages continue to go from strength to strength with established brands receiving capital investment, additional brands being launched, and novel formulations containing herbal extracts as actives hitting market shelves.
Recently a handful of products outside of the collagen / beauty category that either launched or won awards that caught these authors attention.
Win your day coffee launched late in 2020 and is an instant coffee that capitalizes on the world wide trend of interest in nootropics. Nootropics are actives that support cognition and mental performance and are typically seen in hard shell capsule formats. Win your day coffee contains instant coffee with added plant based adaptogens such as Siberian Ginseng and Lion’s Mane mushroom in convenient single serve sachets. You can check out their products here: https://wydcoffee.com/
Arepa, another New Zealand nootropic company with beverage products based on blackcurrant, pine bark and L-theanine from green tea saw expansion in 2020 and is now available in supermarkets. They were able to win the start up category of the NutraIngredients-Asia awards 2020 with their research based patented formula. Visit Arepa at: https://drinkarepa.com/
Good herb soda make functional beverages based on findings born out of cannabis research, with specific regard to the health benefits of terpenes. Terpenes are components of plant essential oils and are thought to be at least partially responsible for some of the effects of consuming cannabis but are also found in non-cannabis plant sources. Good herb soda partnered with True Terpenes, an industry leader in non-cannabis derived terpene ingredients from the USA and were able to win the NZ Inspire+ Artisan Awards in the non-alcoholic craft beverage category. Their beverages are carbonated with no added sugar (only 10 calories per bottle) and are pleasantly fruit flavoured. Check out good herb soda at: https://goodherbsoda.com/
It is great to see that the years of work that have gone into fostering an environment of innovation and support for New Zealand startups with organisations like Callaghan Innovation and the New Zealand Food Innovation Network is coming to fruition. We expect to see further growth and innovation in this exciting area.
Nutrition B2B platform launch
The rise and growth of personalised nutrition brands and products has been astounding over the past few years. The growth is based on advances in the science of nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics and has been propelled by technological advances in functional testing and “wearables” that track and measure health in real time. Qina is a company that has recently launched a digital platform for B2B based companies operating in the personalised nutrition space and aims to link companies such as ingredient suppliers, biotech firms, and health practitioners together. Companies can subscribe to the service and search for companies, products and research to find suitable matches for collaboration and to stay abreast of industry trends. Check out the platform here: https://www.qina.tech/