The company — founded in 1991 as a business unit of Switzerland's largest cosmetics manufacturer, Mibelle Cosmetics — had been developing ingredients exclusively for use in beauty and skincare products before making its move into the nutricosmetics segment.
Based on its tried and tested concept of combining naturally derived compounds with extensive scientific research, Mibelle Biochemistry recently developed three novel ingestible ingredients, each meant to target a key aspect of the ageing process, namely: hair loss, collagen production, and skin stem cell vitalisation.
The three ingredients, AnaGain Nu, DracoBelle Nu and PhytoCellTec Md Nu, come in powder form and can be used in capsule, beverage and gummy formats.
AnaGain Nu is an anti-hair loss ingredient derived from an organic pea extract, with clinical evidence to support its ability to not only stop and prevent hair loss, but to encourage hair growth as well. It does so by stimulating specific signalling molecules in dermal papilla cells needed to induce the growth of new hair.
Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia, CEO Fred Zülli said: "We have in vitro data on its underlying mechanisms that show it acts on the hair growth cycle. In our clinical trial, participants showed that the number of hairs they lost daily had been reduced after they took the product for two months."
Indeed, the clinical trial in question reported that 100mg of AnaGain Nu taken daily had statistically significant effects on reversing mild to moderate hair loss (34% reduction after one month and 37% reduction after two months), and even led to visibly improved hair density in its 21 participants.
Derived from the Moldavian dragonhead plant, DracoBelle Nu is said to be able to help to stimulate and sustain collagen production by mimicking the effects of caloric restriction to improve cellular defence, antioxidant activity and cell repair.
Zülli said, "DracoBelle Nu is activates genes like AMPK (AMP-activated kinase), which induces caloric restriction mimetic activity. This is a quite a new strategy that leads to a general anti-ageing effect. Physically, it will help to rebuild collagen, so it can be used in collagen supplements."
A clinical study on the ingredient, involving 32 female participants aged 50.8 years on average and suffering from sun-damaged skin, had each of them take 200mg of DracoBelle daily as an addition to her beverage of choice.
After eight weeks, the study reported an overall increase in the participants' skin density, elasticity and moisture by 2.5%, 6.7%, and 14.4% respectively.
Regarding PhytoCellTec Md Nu, Zülli said, "This ingredient is developed using a biotechnological process, whereby we grow plant cell cultures that are actually totipotent plant stem cells. We have chosen a very old breed of apple for this — the Uttwiler Spätlauber.
"This apple has very good storability, meaning its cells remain fresh for a very long time. It's a very old Swiss breed, and there are only a few of these apple trees left, and the only way to gain access to them is through biotechnology.
"We have conducted in vitro studies that showed that these apple stem cells could help to rejuvenate skin stem cells, as well as a clinical study, which found that consuming these stem cells led to a beneficial effect on the skin."
The eight-week clinical trial tested PhytoCellTec Md Nu's effects on skin health, assessing 31 female participants with sun-damaged skin.
Each participant consumed 10mg of the ingredient within her drink of choice daily, and at the end of the study, the researchers found that their overall skin elasticity, firmness, and density had increased by 4.7%, 5.8% and 10.5% respectively.
Expanding in existing markets
Currently, Mibelle Biochemistry's APAC presence covers nine countries, with distributors in the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan, China, Japan, South Korea for both its cosmetics and food / supplement ingredients.
Anti-hair loss capsules using AnaGain Nu are available in all nine countries, while powdered beverage sachets using PhytoCellTec Md Nu are sold in Indonesia and Malaysia. As the newest ingredient of the three, DracoBelle Nu (launched last September) has not yet been used in any finished product, though such a development is expected sometime this year.
The existing health food and supplement products containing AnaGain Nu and PhytoCellTec Md Nu are mostly sold via MLM (multi-level marketing) and in specialty food and supplement stores in the region.
According to Zülli, the firm is not looking to enter new countries at the moment, preferring to focus on growing its business in its existing markets.
"These ingredients are part of our beauty-from-within range, but we will be launching a new ingredient this spring for cognitive health. While Mibelle is focusing on beauty-from-within in the supplement space, we also want to extend our research and product launches to other fields, like cognitive health.
"We consider our start in this industry a success — there's been a lot of interest. Coming from the cosmetics space, we combine our clinical studies with good marketing stories, and we want to continue being innovative and coming up with new concepts. I think this would also be appreciated in the health food industry by consumers as well as manufacturers."
Mibelle Biochemistry will be presenting the three ingredients at this year's Vitafoods Europe in Geneva in May, Vitafoods Asia in Singapore in September, and Supply Side West in Las Vegas in October.