Eyeing opportunities: Atacama Bio and Vitamin Angels to launch astaxanthin supplement in South Korea
Chile astaxanthin producer Atacama Bio Natural Products S.A. has partnered with Heamin Co., Lt a South Korean specialty seller of health and food ingredients, to distribute the supplement. This is Atacama Bio’s first entry into South Korea after Heamin contacted the Chilean company in November 2019 to learn more about astaxanthin.
The supplement (Floraglo Lutein + Astaxanthin) contains Atacama Bio’s branded astaxanthin ingredient NatAxtin (4mg) and 20mg of lutein.
The soft-gel supplement claims to support eye health, decrease risk of macular degeneration and improve eye fatigue.
Recommended to consume one soft-gel daily, Jose Tomas Arenas, Atacama Bio’s vice president of global marketing said: “The effects have been scientifically studied and the product is targeted to people with stressful habits for the eyes (office workers, drivers, exposed to UV radiation) as well as a healthy ageing supplement.”
In one study conducted in 2005 by Takahashi N et al, astaxanthin was found to aid recovery in eye fatigue after use of an electronic device.
In another study by Michiyuku Saito et al in 2011, astaxanthin intake was found to increase blood flow velocity in the eyes, which can potentially identify eye diseases.
Nagaki Yasunori et al also published a study in 2002, reporting that astaxanthin intake of 5mg/day for four weeks had higher accommodation amplitude among visual display terminal (VDT) workers. Accommodation amplitude is the maximum potential increase in optical power that an eye can achieve in adjusting focus.
Vitamin Angels sells supplements as well as donate vitamins to the needy populations such as elderly living alone, homeless people, malnourished children, both locally and overseas.
Arenas said: “We expect an increasing demand for our products in South Korea thanks to Heamin's efforts and knowledge of the product and local market.”
According to Arenas, consumers in South Korea were knowledgeable on astaxanthin as a functional ingredient.
“Consumers are aware of the ingredient and its various health benefits.
“We are confident that the core message behind NatAxtin will resonate strongly due to the increasing desire of costumers to be able to trace the origin of a product, as well as to select the ones that come from sustainable sources.”
Its astaxanthin derived from the Haematococcus pluvialis microalgae is produced in the Atacama Desert, North of Chile.
“The desert has the highest solar irradiation in the world which combined with the environmental cleanliness, provides vibrant year-round sunlight for Haematococcus pluvialis to thrive and produce astaxanthin,” he said.
Atacama Bio also uses a sustainable, low energy consuming production technology to produce astaxanthin.
“It uses the energy from the sun, the algae synthesise carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere, and the facilities have access to pure underground water coming directly from the peaks of the Andes Mountain Range,” Arenas explained.
As demand for astaxanthin as a functional ingredient is forecasted to grow, Arenas said the firm is exploring increasing its production capacity.
NatAxtin has also been clinically studied for its effects on immunity, energy, brain, skin and heart health.
For Atacama Bio, it is working closely with Heamin to understand the local market, eventually hoping to collaborations with more brands.
The firm is also focusing on growing in APAC, “(where there is) a deep understanding of the value of supplementation.”