Tea has been touted as a healthful beverage for many centuries and in recent years extracts of the ingredient have come to the fore with higher concentrations of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and other catechins. Taiyo’s specific extract is branded as Sunphenon, and the company ascribes a number of health benefits to it, including antioxidant activity, digestive health and blood pressure benefits.
But it is its use as a beauty from within ingredient where the extract could really stand to benefit from the building groundswell in the market, said Bill Driessen, Taiyo’s technical sales director for the central region/LATAM. Driessen believes the beauty-from-within wave is building, but why, when the concept is an established trend in Asia and is a growing market in Europe, has it been so slow to catch on in North America?
“It comes from a commonsensical position,” Driessen told NutraIngredients-USA. “People understand and relate to the idea that a healthy diet makes you healthier overall and makes you look better, that your outward physical appearance can benefit from a better diet.
“But in North America we are bombarded with messages about nutrition and its connection with our general health. Eat this, don’t eat that; exercise this way, not that way. It gets to the point of information overload,” he said.
Driessen said that in particular in the beauty realm that pseudoscientific messages have made consumers jaded. So many beauty products claim to have some sort of breakthrough, discovered by an expert who's credentials might be unclear.
“Because of that information overload Americans need a little bit more hard science. People want to see products backed by real research, not just some person in a white lab coat on TV,” he said.
That’s where Sunphenon has a leg up, Driessen said. The company supplied material for a 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study on 60 female subjects conducted by researchers associated with German and American universities that was published in the Journal of Nutrition. The study found the Sunphenon extract, which was administered in a beverage, helped protect the skin against harmful UV radiation and helped to improve the overall quality of the women’s skin. The endogenous photoprotection was measured by skin dryness and other markers such as skin oxygenation, and the use of the ingredient boosted microcirculation in the skin by as much as 28%.
“Concepts come and go but the ones that stay are the ones that have science backing and provide noticable benefits. The researchers really saw some significant results. To the consumer that translates to a product that really works,” Driessen said.
The beauty from within concept has been tried in both supplements and beverages in the US market. The beauty of Sunphenon, Driessen said, is that is can play well in both platforms, being water soluble and easy to formulate with.
“It works as well in a beverage as it does in a capsule. Some consumers don’t like to take capsules. We have a variety of customers some of whom use it in beverages,” he said.