‘Second business category’: South Korea’s AceBiome identifies joint health as its next major focus

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

AceBiome's latest launch – AnaParactin for joint health. ©AceBiome
AceBiome's latest launch – AnaParactin for joint health. ©AceBiome

Related tags AceBiome South korea Business

South Korean probiotics firm, AceBiome, popular for its weight management probiotic BNRThin, is adding joint health as one of its core business focuses amid an ageing society.

The firm launched the joint health product ‘AnaParactin’ in late April to support joint, cartilage, and bone health.

However, unlike its existing range, its latest launch does not contain probiotics.

Instead, the key ingredient is ParActin – a patented extract of Andrographis paniculata leaves said to contain 50 per cent of andrographolide that could aid joint health by improving anti-inflammatory response and relieving joint swelling and pain. It is a trademarked ingredient of US firm HP Ingredients.

The ingredient was recognised by South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) for “helping to improve joint health” with a daily dose of 300mg under the individually recognised functionality regulatory framework.

The other key ingredients are vitamin D3 for bone formation and maintenance and N-acetylglucosamine (NAG).

The formula also consists of 10 other ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, Boswellia extract powder, fish collagen, salmon nose cartilage extract, elastin, shark cartilage mucopolysaccharide protein, green-lipped mussel powder, and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM).

Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia, ​founder and CEO of AceBiome, Myeong Hee Kim said the firm decided to venture into joint health as it was linked to obesity and was also a growing concern amid an ageing society.

“Although it is necessary to reduce body fat and increase muscle mass through diet and exercise, many middle-aged and older people, especially women, find it painful and uncomfortable to move their body or exercise due to pain and stiffness in their knees, shoulders, wrists, and finger joints.

“As weight increases, the burden on joints and cartilage increases, but the amount of physical activity decreases, making it easy for muscles around joints to decrease or weaken. It is easy to fall into a vicious cycle in which the quality of life is reduced, inconveniences in work and daily life, and obesity or overweight worsen.

“To alleviate the pain and discomfort of these people and improve their quality of life, we selected joint health products as our second business category,” ​Kim explained.  

Although the product is designed for the obese and/or ageing demographic, she pointed out that the product has been clinically proven to help with rheumatoid joint pain experienced by all age groups.

The key ingredient, ParActin, acts by inhibiting NF-kB activity and reduces the DNA binding of NF-kB, thereby reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines, enzymes and hormone that cause pain and inflammation in the body.

The ingredient contains the component andrographolide, known to reduce TNF-α, which leads to a significant reduction in rheumatoid factors.

An eight-week study​ found that supplementation of 300mg or 600mg of ParActin per day has led to significant reductions in pain, stiffness, and function based on the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC).

Why no probiotics?

Kim explained that the new launch did not contain probiotics due to considerations such as cost and functionality.

“Considering the relationship between overweight, obesity, and joint health, the formula was also supposed to include our weight management probiotic strain BNR17.

“However, both are premium ingredients individually recognized by MFDS, as such, the product’s price may be too high [if we include both ingredients].”

The probiotic strain Lactobacillus gasseri ​BNR17, isolated from human breast milk, is sold as a finished product BNRThin/BNRThin Pro. The product took home the Probiotic Product of the Year in NutraIngredients-Asia Awards 2020​.

On the other hand, although the firm could have chosen to incorporate general probiotic strains that are of lower cost, it eventually decided that the product should have a clear focus on joint health and consumers could separately purchase probiotics that they require instead.

“There is an assumption and hope that there are common customers who purchase BNRThin and AnaParactin together, which would be business synergies.

“In addition, the product name of 'AnaParactin for Joint' includes ParActin, the name of the functional ingredient of Andrographolide, and Anapa in the first part means ‘no pain’ in Korean so that consumers can intuitively recognize the functionality of the product through the product name,” ​she explained.

The company is in the midst of developing different dosage formats of the product which is currently sold in tablet form.

TV home shopping focus 

While the product is sold online and offline, the TV home shopping channel will be the key focus for selling this product.

The TV home shopping channel, according to Kim, is mainly used by consumers in their 50s and bulk purchase are more common from this channel.

There are also plans to launch the product in Japan which is also facing an ageing population.

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