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Kyowa Hakko: ushering in the new age of amino acids.

In 1949 Kyowa Hakko came to the rescue of the Japanese people following World War If. At the time, food was scarce and so was protein, which prompted the company to commence production of amino acids. From the beginning, Kyowa has committed itself to research and development, combining its fermentation strengths to create products that embody health and wellness for consumers worldwide. Fermentation was so important to the company that it even became part of its name--"hakko" in Japanese actually translates to mean fermentation.

Eventually the company branched out beyond its borders, arriving in the U.S. in 1969. Today the company operates in more than 80 countries through over 50 corporate facilities, subsidiaries and affiliates.

As it looks ahead, Kyowa wants to use its amino acid platform to enter the broader health and wellness markets around the globe. Part of that mission requires changing the mindset of consumers when it comes to amino acids, especially in the U.S. Currently, a majority of consumers associate amino acids with sports nutrition, but what Karen Todd, director of marketing, wants them to understand is that there's life after sports nutrition.

While Kyowa maintains over 50 lines of amino acids, it is looking to offer more specialized amino acid-based products and combinations. For 2007, the company intends to put a lot of marketing muscle behind glutathione. According Ms. Todd, Kyowa will look to exploit the "detox" angle for this product. "Glutathione is a 'super' antioxidant, which can strengthen the immune system. It also helps support the liver," she said. "And data show there is a dietary gap of glutathione in the U.S. diet, which has only recently been realized and discussed." Ms. Todd claims once someone turns 50 their levels of glutathione drop dramatically. That's why consumers, especially baby boomers, need to continue replenishing this nutrient in the body in order to ward off illness and disease.

Speaking of baby boomers, Kyowa is also relishing the success of its brain health ingredient, Cognizin. "There is so much data to show that brain cells die off with age, so it's no surprise that brain health is so important to this particular segment of consumers," she said. "So far our Cognizin product has been very well received as a dietary supplement."

CoQ10 is another important ingredient for the company. "We are really proactive with CoQ10 right now because we want to make sure there is a legitimate supply to the market," Ms. Todd said. According to Kyowa, it became the original marketer of CoQ10 in the U.S., nutraceutical industry in 1985. From 1994 to 2000, Kyowa claims it dominated the CoQ10 category and controlled 50% of the marketplace. It re-launched sales of the ingredient in mid-September this year.

Another big push for the company is in the area of peptides. Ms. Todd says Kyowa has the capability to customize a variety of amino acid combinations for a desired health effect or mode of delivery. "Because there are different benefits to each amino acid, you can customize a combination accordingly," she said. An example is a new technology to produce the peptide alanine-glutamine, which when combined is a more stable form of glutamine that can be added to ready-to-drink products.

Besides discussing new products and initiatives at the company, Ms. Todd also felt it important to share her concerns about the evolving nutraceutical marketplace. "The problem with current market is that a lot of manufacturers are in it for the short term. In other words, their claims are at best unrealistic or stretched, but they don't seem to care because they'll make their money and move on to the next project. This really diminishes the hard work that companies are doing to research and promote credible products," she said.

Ms. Todd continued, "I hope Congress plays a role in the regulation of this market in 2007. We just cannot sustain this business or grow it for that matter as long as ridiculous behavior continues. I am looking forward to more regulation because I would rather see the companies that don't belong here go out of business for good." --R.W.

Kyowa Hakko USA

767 Third Avenue, 19th Floor

New York, NY 10017

Telephone: 212-319-5353

Fax: 212-421-1283


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Title Annotation:SUPPLY SOURCE; Kyowa Hakko USA Inc.
Publication:Nutraceuticals World
Date:Dec 1, 2006
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