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Chris Kilham speaks at Naturex’s manufacturing facility in South Hackensack, NJ

Naturex Launches Sustainable Botanical Solutions
Nutraceuticals World
by Sean Moloughney
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Company introduces Glucevia for blood sugar management and Flowens for men’s health.

At about 275,000 square feet, Naturex’s manufacturing facility in South Hackensack, NJ, is one of the largest botanical extraction sites for the nutraceuticals industry in the U.S. Business there is bustling; operations are precise.

On a guided tour in December, internationally known Medicine Hunter Chris Kilham, Naturex’s sustainability ambassador, noted that demand for the company’s botanicals is constant. For example, the company extracts about 35 tons of green coffee bean per month due to the popularity of its Svetol brand.

“It never ceases,” Mr. Kilham said of demand, adding that two to three 40-foot semi-trailer trucks deliver botanical materials to the New Jersey plant every couple of days.

Burlap sacks filled with raw botanical materials are stacked on pallets that stretch the length of the warehouse. One pallet is labeled Echinacea, another green coffee bean. In another area, a large machine is grinding decaffeinated coffee beans. Elsewhere, rows of 5,000-gallon tanks are used to process botanicals extracts further. Spray drying, packaging and shipment processing occur in different locations within this massive, industrial facility.

But all that is only one piece of the puzzle. Naturex is committed to total traceability and quality control. With an in-house lab the company tests the identity and purity of every batch.

“Contamination and misidentification are the two biggest issues in this sector, according to the World Health Organization, said Mr. Kilham. In many cases the company has taken the lead in developing testing methods for the industry at large. In fact, 15% of its staff is dedicated to R&D and Quality.

In 2012, sales for the France-based company grew to €300 million (up 18%). By business unit, 63% of sales are in Food & Beverage; 31% in Nutrition & Health; 2% Personal Care; and 4% Toll Manufacturing.

Glucevia

The company is hoping to cash in on two recent product introductions. Glucevia is a natural extract derived from seeds/fruits of Fraxinus excelsior, known as European ash or common ash. Research has shown that it can reduce post-prandial glucose peaks in healthy people.

Antoine Bily, R&D director, Nutrition & Health and Personal Care, explained that, historically, Fraxinus was largely limited to the Mediterranean Basin, where local populations used it in food and infusions for its hypoglycemic effect.

According to Dr. Bily, Naturex isolated and identified two new iridoid glycosides: Excelside A and B. To guarantee its efficacy, Glucevia is standardized to 10% Nuzhenide and GI3.

The company obtained a U.S. patent for the use of Fraxinus excelsior extracts containing these active compounds for blood glucose control. Naturex uses a “gentle and traditional extraction process” (70% water/30% ethanol), according to Dr. Bily, who presented clinical findings that demonstrate the ingredient’s efficacy, safety and mechanism of action.

For example, a 7-week crossover study involving 17 healthy volunteers conducted at the Universidad de Navarra indicated that 1,000 mg of Glucevia per day for 3 weeks significantly reduced post-prandial glycemia expressed as Area Under the Curve (AUC) by 28.2% versus baseline.

Type 2 diabetes affects more than 25.8 million people in the U.S., and another 76 million are prediabetic, meaning blood sugar levels are higher than normal and patients are in danger of becoming diabetic. Worldwide, there are more than 366 million cases of diabetes.

“The vast majority of diabetes cases and cardiovascular disease in industrialized countries is caused by nutrition and lifestyle issues,” noted Eric Ding, PhD, Harvard School of Public Health, Department of Nutrition, who spoke about the prevalence of diabetes at the Naturex press conference.

Flowens

Naturex recently launched another botanical product, Flowens, a full spectrum cranberry powder designed for men’s health.

Four out of 5 men in their 70s will suffer from low urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) caused by benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). Those symptoms lead to discomfort in everyday life.

Dr. Bily presented findings from a six-month, randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial, which showed that 250 mg and 500 mg doses led to a 25% and 44% improvement, respectively, in the International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS)—a validated questionnaire.

Improvement among the group taking the 250 mg dose of Flowens was similar to that seen in a separate study for those who took the leading alpha blocking drug FloMax.

According to research results on Flowens, 71% of the participants in the 500 mg group observed improvements in their symptoms/condition. Of those 71%, 96% said they would recommend Flowens to a friend.

January 2014