Daiichi initially plans to establish relationships with dietary supplement manufacturers to help them formulate products that are efficacious and marketed responsibly. One particular area of interest for the ingredient is in the heart health arena. According to Daiichi, it is recommended that Pantesin be taken at 600-900 mg per day in two to three separate doses. Numerous human and animal studies show that when consumed at these levels, pantethine can increase HDL cholesterol, glycogen and acetoacetic acid. Data also show that Pantesin can lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and prevent cholesterol from depositing in the arterial walls. In addition, Mr. Jacobson said, "More and more science is showing and more and more physicians are becoming aware of the need to have a balanced lipid profile. It is one thing to lower the total and LDL cholesterol but the HDL factor is becoming an important element of complete heart health."
For the future, one area of research Daiichi would like to investigate, according to Mr. Jacobson, is the possible synergistic effect between pantethine and cholesterol-lowering drugs and other dietary supplements. "Theoretically pantethine should complement products involved in cholesterol lowering. One of the most consistent benefits associated with pantethine consumption at 600 mg per day is a significant increase in the HDL factor," he said, adding, "Most statin drugs and many dietary supplements are very efficient in lowering total and LDL cholesterol but they really miss the HDL side."
The challenge now, said Mr. Jacobson, is that most of the scientific data on pantethine dates back to the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. "We know a lot more about cholesterol management today than we knew in previous decades. So we really need to modernize the data by initiating U.S. clinical trials on pantethine. And although we have the ability to tap into 35 years of research, most of it was done outside the U.S. and did not include modern lifestyle coaching advice, which is a consistent element of physician care," he said. "In addition to prescribing drugs or recommending dietary supplements, physicians and nurses are providing lifestyle coaching advice on diet, exercise and stress reduction. Our plan is to incorporate those factors when we do the U.S.-based studies, which we think will really provide the extra confidence at the physician and consumer level."
To help spread the word about Pantesin, Daiichi recently launched two websites to support the research on this ingredient. Pantesin.com is a commercial website where consumers and dietary supplement companies can learn more about the product. There will be links to other cholesterol or heart health websites as well as links to companies that manufacture pantethine-based supplements. Pantethine.info, on the other hand, is a professional website for physicians and practitioners that provides access to the research that exists as well as emerging science.
Daiichi is also engaged in a branding program for its ingredient. Mr. Jacobson explained, "We are taking a long term approach to this project and we realize that it will take time for consumers and physicians to recognize and understand what Pantesin is. The branding element of our plan is important because people, for the most part, are not familiar with pantethine. What we are doing is establishing the brand Pantesin and the logo that goes along with it so that consumers will soon recognize it on a supplement label and know that it's a quality ingredient."-R.M.