L-Carnitine: Strong potential for senior sports nutrition market and novel, combination delivery forms

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06 Jun 2018 --- L-Carnitine supplementation can particularly enhance post-exercise recovery in aging populations at risk from skeletal decline, according to a review conducted by Lonza Consumer Health & Nutrition in conjunction with Tufts University in Boston, US.* The review sought to collate all relevant scientific trials involving the ingredient from the past few decades. It highlights the extensive evidence on L-Carnitine as a sports nutrition ingredient for enhanced exercise capacity in young athletes and how the ingredient can highly benefit other demographics, such as the elderly.

“The benefits outlined in the review paper for older subjects who used L-Carnitine post-exercise opens up significant market opportunities for manufacturers within this demographic, as well as the overall sports and active nutrition segment. In addition, the ingredient’s benefits in wider applications – from weight management to healthy aging – and versatility for use in a range of dosage forms presents manufacturers with the ability to create high-performance combination products,” Dr. Aouatef Bellamine, Senior Scientific Manager, Consumer Health & Nutrition at Lonza, tells NutritionInsight.

With a rapidly aging global population increasingly taking part in moderate exercise and given the additional challenges met by older people suffering from the age-related decline in skeletal muscle mass, strength and overall activity, L-Carnitine was found to exert a beneficial effect by maintaining lean muscle mass and reducing muscle degradation and fatigue. This was found to be particularly true regarding people with sarcopenia.

“Most importantly, the review paper concludes with an emerging demographic that may benefit from Carnipure L-Carnitine: people with sarcopenia, a natural condition of muscle deterioration as part of the aging process, which may be mitigated by supplementation with the ingredient. The research summarized in the review shows that Carnipure L-Carnitine alone, or in combination with other amino acids, contributes to the support of muscle mass and function in a healthy aging population,” Bellamine adds.

Click to Enlarge
Clean label capsules from Lonza 
at Vitafoods Europe 2018.

Innovation in delivery systems 
“Lonza Consumer Health & Nutrition invests significantly in its research and development program, to ensure that its ingredients and dosage forms are backed by science and to accelerate speed-to-market for new products. With a pressing need to address multiple segments, dosage forms that can pair Carnipure L-Carnitine with other ingredients to deliver diverse benefits have become increasingly important in helping supplement manufacturers’ products stand out on the shelf,” says Bellamine. 

Suitable delivery systems must enable the benefit of combining multiple active ingredients. Following Lonza's acquisition of capsugel last year, the company have positioned themselves as being able to combine “active ingredients along with delivery systems and finished dosage forms,” which in turn brings “a unique offering to the market,” Beth Tormey, Head of Global Business Unit at Lonza tells NutritionInsight at this year’s Vitafoods Europe.  

The synergies of the company have allowed for the combination of active ingredients that do not usually work together, Tormey explains, being delivered in one single form and dose, bringing the benefit of other health ingredients that are desired for sports nutrition, such as omega 3, being coupled with L-Carnitine, for example. This includes the combination of dry and liquid forms together.

Click to Enlarge
Lonza at Vitafoods Europe 2018.

“For example, Lonza Consumer Health & Nutrition’s Duocap capsule-in-capsule technology enables Carnipure L-Carnitine to be combined with nutrients that have different release profiles, such as omega 3 or probiotics, in a single nutritional supplement. While Carnipure L-Carnitine is held in the outer capsule and released immediately, probiotics can be housed within the inner capsule and dissolved later in the digestive tract, offering potential opportunities for sports recovery and weight management applications.”

Lonza is also able to deliver clean label solutions with their, “vegetarian Licaps liquid-filled capsules [which] enable Carnipure L-Carnitine to be formulated in combination with other health ingredients, such as with choline and vitamin B12, to offer a clean label solution and meet demand from millennials and baby boomers for supplements that address mental fatigue.” These capsules address clean label issues in supplementation: They are colored using food (with no E-numbers) or other natural colorants. They are vegetarian, non-GMO, “free from” and they have a gelatin-like dissolution profile.

The company is also addressing the growing demand for functional foods, with a line of gummies that delivery 10mg of Carnipure per piece.

Lonza’s Carnipure is a high-quality grade of L-Carnitine, with over 30 clinical studies to support its versatility and broad usage, according to the company. NutritionInsight has previously hosted a webinar on the new market opportunities for L-Carnitine. A key highlight from this was the “unquestionable“ room for market growth of L-Carnitine, including infant food applications and energy drinks.

By Laxmi Haigh

R. Fielding, et al., “L-Carnitine supplementation in recovery after exercise,” Nutrients, 10, 349 (2018).

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