Following the launch of its flagship Setria Glutathione product, Kyowa Hakko is keenly watching and helping build the European market for immunity, beauty and sports nutrition products at a key time in its development. Earlier this year, the company launched its glutathione product in the European market. Manufactured through a patented fermentation process, the product can help replenish the body’s reserves of glutathione that may be depleted through poor diet, damaging lifestyle habits or aging.
Oksana Ritchie, European Marketing Manager for Kyowa Hakko Europe, that glutathione is often called the “master antioxidant” and is essential for healthy immune function, the body’s detoxification processes and more.
“Glutathione is an endogenous molecule that is produced by the body itself,” Ritchie explains. “It exists in almost every cell and is very important because it is involved in a multitude of cellular functions. It can neutralize reactive oxygen species and other substances such as chemicals, toxic drugs, heavy metals. It also helps to reactivate vitamin C and E, extending their own abilities as antioxidants.
Glutathione at forefront of latest products and launches
Setria Glutathione is a tripeptide of glutamic acid, cysteine and glycine – three essential amino acids produced in the human body – and it enhances the glutathione content of critical tissues.
Kyowa Hakko has shown that Setria Glutathione helps to support healthy immunity because it stimulates the production and activity of natural killer (NK) cells and also increases lymphocytes (white blood cells) needed for appropriate immune response. In addition, Ritchie reports that Setria Glutathione has skin-brightening qualities, as well as showing sports performance-enhancing possibilities.
The present popularity of glutathione as an ingredient may be connected to aging, according to Ritchie. “As we age, our glutathione level goes down,” she notes. “It significantly decreases in both males and females – somewhere from the ages of 40 to 60, and from 60 to 80 there’s an even more rapid decrease.”
Supplementation is not the only path to improved glutathione levels; Glutathione is naturally occurring in fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy and fresh lean meat, Ritchie explains. “The key thing is to have a healthy diet and to eat non-processed food, as glutathione is destroyed by most methods of food processing” Ritchie says. “Poor diet, stress, smoking, alcohol and pollution can drastically reduce your glutathione levels.”
Consumers evolve with help of Internet
People are more knowledgeable about certain ingredients nowadays, and as a result, customized nutrition is the next level of consumer evolution, Ritchie notes. “We decide based on our lifestyle and diet what kind of ingredients would fit into our lifestyle. This is where we are as consumers; all of us are evolving.”
"In the past we relied mainly on doctors and older family members for recommendations on what was healthy and what our body and mind needed." Ritchie commented. "With the depth of information now available on the internet consumers feel much more empowered to make their own choices."
The Internet is a great tool, but with an increasing amount of information being published online, consumers need help selecting the right ingredients, Ritchie adds. “For many products, we either look for certain efficacy and safety data or we look for recommendations, so we are looking for indications or guidance to make the right decision.”
“In Europe, what we note is that people traditionally believe if they eat a healthy diet, they don’t need any help,” Ritchie observes. But she believes the situation in Europe is changing. “A healthy diet and exercise are sometimes not always enough because of the environmental stressors that we have. It never hurts to have a little support.”
Consumer trends pushing European launch
There is a growing demand for dietary supplements in general, along with a huge demand from people who are looking to age healthily.
In fact, Innova Market Insights notes that between 2012 and 2016, there was an annual growth of +63.4 percent in F&B launches tracked featuring glutathione or l-glutathione as an ingredient. In 2016, 91 percent of products with glutathione were listed as supplements, with 41 percent of the total products tracked with glutathione launched in Asia.
Kyowa’s Setria glutathione has been marketed and successfully sold in the US and in Asia for several decades. “With its growing success the company decided to expand its sales into Europe. Glutathione has been available for many years, and we are now promoting our new branded Setria Glutathione that has science to support efficacy in immune and skin health as well as sports nutrition.”
“There are a lot of formulations on the market offering glutathione, and a lot of customers are looking into trying to supplement in addition to having a healthy lifestyle,” which prompted the company to expand the initial sales of Setria Glutathione in Europe.
“Setria Glutathione is produced by a patented fermentation process,” she says. “It allows us to achieve a high-quality ingredient without the risk of contamination that could happen through the use of synthesis or animal-derived products.”
Scientific evidence supports glutathione and various applications
Ritchie cites a Kyowa double-blinded, placebo-controlled human clinical trial on 54 healthy adult subjects that was published in 2014. One group was administered 250mg of Setria Glutathione, another was administered 1,000mg of Setria Glutathione and the third was a placebo group. The studies were done over six-month period, with check points at three and six months.
“The statically significant result was that after six months, subjects who were taking 1,000mg of Setria showed a 30 percent increase in glutathione in their blood and 35 percent showed an increase in red blood cells,” Ritchie says. “After three months, subjects also increased their lymphocytes and NK cells activity.”
In Europe, glutathione can be sold in food supplements and the recommended dose for oral use is between 250mg and 1,000mg a day, Ritchie says, adding that Setria is a pure, safe material which is manufactured according to GMP standards, and is suitable for use as a powder to produce capsules or tablets.
Additionally, Kyowa published a promising new study earlier this year on the effects of Setria glutathione on skin and melanogenesis. Melanogenesis results from exposure to UV radiation, causing our skin to darken. Decreased levels of melanin suggest brighter skin. “Glutathione inhibits the oxidative damage due to sun exposure thus preventing excess melanin production. The results showed that Setria glutathione may help with skin brightening in darker skin individuals. The new study also showed a significant difference in wrinkle reduction between the Setria group compared to the placebo across participants of all ages. While the results did not indicate statistically different elasticity measurements, the groups given Setria glutathione tended to have higher skin elasticity,” Ritchie says.
In the field of sports nutrition, Kyowa states that Setria can help to achieve strength-training results by maintaining the increase in nitric oxide production pre -workout. New research in resistance-trained males cited by the company suggests that Setria Glutathione may support nitric oxide production when combined with L-Citrulline. This Setria Performance Blend may help sustain nitric oxide levels, which could lead to reduced fatigue and speed recovery.