Formulators have been looking to B-vitamins to add value to products. These vitamins help the process the body uses to get or make energy from the foods we eat. They also help form red blood cells. Demand from consumers for B-vitamins has exhibited steady growth in recent years. The aging of the Baby-Boom generation has put the need for energy, mental acuity and chronic diseases of aging in the spotlight and many of these conditions have links to the B-vitamin group.
Among the B-group, B-12, is exhibiting growing demand in an aging population not only because of the energy enhancement component, but because of the addition of folic acid to standards of identity for enriched flour, which can mask the effects of pernicious anemia in the absence of enough B-12. Thus, there is a rationale for adding B-12 to flour because of this concern. We are preventing 2,500 cases of neural tube defects annually and jeopardizing older people instead.
Consumers are increasingly aware of the connection between nutrition and prevention of disease, despite regulatory pressures not to say what is known lest we go over the line into a drug claim. TV doctors, articles in mainstream media and the emergence of online information sources have been major drivers of this megatrend. There is more of a tendency to self-diagnose and self-treat because of the rising costs connected to health care in the U.S. and other developed countries. There is an economic incentive to remain healthy that was not there a decade ago when most people had company paid benefits.
Some of the major connections between B-vitamins and health include pantethine and niacin’s ability to help balance cholesterol levels, B6, B-12 and folic acid in reducing homocysteine levels, a cardiovascular risk factor, B2 and depression, B1 and B-12 and energy, biotin and skin health., folic acid in the prevention of neural tube defects, B6 and B2 in colorectal cancer, B-12 and B6 in optimizing brain function….the list goes on and on.
B5 (pantothenic acid)
How are we using B-vitamins?
We have seen interest in using B-vitamins in energy beverages, which has opened up new opportunities for suppliers who have unique technologies to mask the unpleasant odors and flavors, which can result from certain B-vitamins, particularly thiamine and pantothenic acid derivatives (thiamine tablets are often used to repel insects and can also repel people at times!).
The Wright Group’s SuperCoat® microencapsulation technology can help formulators include these and other value-added ingredients without the strong “off” notes commonly associated with these ingredients.
The B-Vitamin Market
We would suggest that customers be very cautious of buying B-vitamins sight unseen. Most reputable companies require that raw materials be sourced from audited plants, especially in China and India, which account for 90% of B-vitamin supply in 2013. Sometimes there can be a very high price connected to low product cost. Always know the actual producer behind the vitamin in question. Some dealers pretend to be basic and, unfortunately, their customer only discover otherwise when a problem arises.
When in doubt, it would be good to contact a reputable supplier, who understands this market inside and out.