The product features Mitsubishi’s Immuno-LP20 ingredient, which is a specially-processed Lactobacillus plantarum L-137. The processing step Mitsubishi uses deactivates the strain as far as its probiotic activity is concerned. There is no colonization of the gut following supplementation. But that is far from saying the resulting ingredient has no benefit, said Viva 5 CEO Brian Baer.
“The strain is heat treated. The heat actually kills the probiotic that is kind of counter-intuitive,” Baer told NutraIngredients-USA. “But there is a lot of research that shows the resulting cell fragments stimulate the immune system in the gut.”
Baer said Mitsubishi’s research has shown that Immuno-LP20 stimulates a specific interleukin in the immune system, IL-12. Greater IL-12 activity results in the production of specific interferon molecules and greater T-cell growth.
Because the strain has been killed off, dosages are no longer quoted in CFUs, Baer said, but rather in milligrams. Mitsubishi has studied the ingredient in a 50 mg dose, which is what Viva 5 offers in its gummy delivery system.
Viva 5 has had a number of years in probiotic ingredient development, and through that experience has formed relationships with production partners, said chief technical officer Tony Corey.
“We call ourselves an innovation house. We go out and find clinically researched ingredients and bring them to the North American market,” he said. The company represents Probi probiotic ingredients in the US market, he added.
The unique aspect of Mitsubishi’s ingredient is its great stability, Corey said. That offers possibilities in a variety of dosage forms, he said.
“The focus right now is in gummies because that is the hottest confectionary delivery form. But we have done work on putting it into pan chews, soft chews, chocolates and soft gels,” he said. Corey said the company has a partnership with both domestic and overseas gummy manufacturers.
Mitsubishi as a company is known for crossing its research T’s and dotting its regulatory I’s. So it comes as no surprise that Immuno-LP20 has GRAS status and has a successful NDI notification under its belt, Baer said.
Corey said although Viva 5 is offering the ingredient in a stand alone formulation for its North American launch in this delivery format, the ingredient offers opportunities in combination with other immune boosting substances.
“We’re focusing on the ingredient alone at the moment, because that’s where most of the research is. But we think it offers opportunities in combination with vitamin C, vitamin E and potentially with beta glucans,” he said.