Kohjin rebrands glutathione to highlight accumulating science behind ingredient

Kohjin's glutathione is already featured in a wide variety of products in markets across the globe. Kohjin photo

Kohjin Life Sciences is betting that a rebranding effort and accumulated science on stability, uptake and health benefits will help make 2017 a breakout year for glutathione.

Kohjin has chosen Opitac for the new brand name for its glutathione, which the company has been manufacturing and researching for more than 50 years. Robert Price, product manager for North America for Kohjin, which is part of Mitsubishi Corporation, said the facelift for the ingredient was overdue.

“It was important to catch up to other trademarked glutathione products,” Price told NutraIngredients-USA. “Our ingredient has been known for being highly effective clinically.”

Price said that earlier papers had concluded that glutathione is broken down in the stomach and intestine and effective increases of what is often called the ‘master antioxidant’ must come via intravenous administration. But he said studies conduced by Kohjin have shown that glutathione levels in the protein-bound fraction of blood increased significantly from one to two hours after oral supplementation.

“The 2013 study broke that myth and showed that glutathione was absorbed,” Price said.

Another study combined mouse and human data. Data from the mouse study indicated that two weeks of supplementation with glutathione prevented the decrease in intramuscular pH, which typically occurs as lactic acid builds up. In sedentary mice, mitochondria levels increased after glutathione supplementation, compared with sedentary control animals. Two weeks of supplementation in men was found to decrease exercise-induced fatigue, compared to placebo, reported scientists from Kyoto Prefectural University and Kohjin. “To the best of our knowledge, the present study is the first to demonstrate that glutathione supplementation improves aerobic metabolism in skeletal muscle, leading to reduced exercise-induced muscle fatigue,” they wrote in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

Fatty liver disease

Price said the company has also looked into glutathione’s role in the amelioration of fatty liver disease, which could present a huge market opportunity. “About 25% of people suffer from some form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease,” he said. 

The rebranding is an effort to bring all those skeins together to highlight an ingredient that has been for sale since the 1960s. A key differentiator is that it still is the only glutathione ingredient that has FDA no objection GRAS status, he said.

“In many countries glutathione is used as a pharmaceutical for Tylenol poisoning,” he said. “Our studies on glutathione and NAFLD have shown very significant results that may be patented for normalization of liver enzymes and reduction of inflammation markers. We have been successful over the years because we ingredients that people can tell are working.”

Kohjin will be highlighting the new brand promotional materials at its booth at the Natural Products Expo West trade show in Anaheim, CA this week. The company is at booth No. 761.

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