The product, known as HydroD, was launched in Malaysia via the company’s direct-selling subsidiary Alterni.
Developed using a patented technology, it is said to have achieved a bioavailability of more than 90 per cent. The bioavailability test was conducted by a laboratory linked with The University of Mississippi in the US.
“As you know, your gut is all water, your body is all water. So, when you take something fat soluble, there is a reduction in bioavailability very quickly.
“Normally if its fat soluble, you don't absorb more than 15 per cent, and that is taken with a fatty meal. The bioavailability becomes even lower when consumed with an empty stomach,” CEO Dr Rajen Manicka told NutraIngredients-Asia.
The company had previously used the patented technology to develop water soluble turmeric – which is also another ingredient that is known to have poor bioavailability in the human body.
This time round, the company decided to use the technology to make water soluble vitamin D, as the vitamin has been shown to produce various immune benefits against the backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Vitamin D is the most researched vitamin in the planet. There are so many new publications about it in the last 18 months about how it will boost the immune system.
“There is discussion now around the world of putting vitamin D into anything from milk to food, to bread. We can offer an option of a water-soluble drop, so it can be added into drinking water for example, which is a great and cheap way to provide vitamin D to people easily,” he said.
According to a new study published this year, vitamin D deficiency is linked to a higher rate of COVID-19 infection and mortality in Asian countries. Some researchers have also advised the need to address vitamin D deficiency in COVID-19 patients.
The recommended dosage for HydroD is 20 drops per day, which is equivalent to 1 ml of the liquid and 400 IU of vitamin D.
Each bottle has a capacity of 50ml and is sold at RM$75 (US$18).
The product is pending distribution in the US by end November or early December.
More on the technology
Developed in five years, the technology to make fat-soluble compounds into water-soluble ones was successfully patented two years ago in the US.
All ingredients used in the technology are GRAS-certified by the USFDA, according to Dr Manicka.
“The process is to create a unique environment, temperature, pressure, and time to cause the molecules to become basically nano, so that they are bioavailable.”
He added that the technology has managed to maintain the molecular integrity of the compound even after it was made water-soluble.
“We have done some work using turmeric. We found that not only is turmeric fully bioavailable, the integrity of the molecule and all the various curcuminoids remained as per the original molecule,” he said.
“Number two is that we then need to test and prove that it is indeed bioavailable.”
The company is conducting further tests to show that the water-soluble vitamin D is high in bioavailability.
There are also plans to use the technology to develop water-soluble cannabidiol (CBD) for distribution in the US.
In both Malaysia and the US, the company has decided to market the product via direct selling.
In Malaysia, the product is sold via the firm’s direct selling subsidiary firm Alterni.
“Through Alterni, the product will be marketed directly to the consumers both via online and telemarketing. If you put the product into the pharmacy, then you have to compete with a lot of products on the shelves.
“Whereas for this product, I think it requires a one to one message, or one to one relationship,” Dr Manicka explained.
There are also discussions to distribute the product with partners from Vietnam, Singapore, and Thailand.