Health E-Insights: What makes your vitamin D3 so special?
Mr. Natarajan: VegD3 is Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) of 100% non-GMO plant origin. That makes it universally acceptable, unlike animal-derived vitamin D3 such as lanolin-origin. VegD3 is approved by the Vegan Society and is also Kosher and Halal certified. VegD3 is the perfect vitamin D3 for use across all foods, nutritional supplements, and animal nutrition formulas, immediately making them suitable for vegans and vegetarians. VegD3 is available in neat crystal (40 MIU), oil (1 MIU/g), and powder (100,000 IU/g) formats.
Health E-Insights: Is vitamin D3 more potent than vitamin D2? Why?
Mr. Natarajan: Vitamin D3 is superior to vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol, a vitamin D analog) both in terms of efficacy and stability. Numerous studies have concluded that vitamin D2 is less efficacious. The most famous of which was published in the Clinical Journal of Endocrinology and concluded that vitamin D3 is approximately 87% more potent than vitamin D2. A stark conclusion published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition was that vitamin D2 should no longer be regarded as a nutrient appropriate for supplementation or fortification of foods. The traditional purpose of vitamin D2 was for use in vegetarian/vegan products due to a lack of suitable vitamin D3 source. VegD3 takes that issue away.
Health E-Insights: What studies have you done for your ingredients?
Mr. Natarajan: VegD3 is produced as neat vitamin D3 40 MIU/g crystal, which we then dilute into different forms. We have tested VegD3 extensively to prove that it is chemically-identical to cholecalciferol of animal-origin. Our comprehensive data pack not only takes away any uncertainty about absorption or efficacy (as it is literally neat, pure cholecalciferol), it meets all regulatory requirements. We have extensively stability tested VegD3 to ensure that it offers a shelf-life that is at least the same as lanolin-origin D3. VegD3 meets the United States Pharmacopoeia monograph for cholecalciferol.
Health E-Insights: Is there much competition for vegetarian vitamin D3 ingredients?
Mr. Natarajan: VegD3 is the only plant-origin vitamin D3 produced as neat, 100% cholecalciferol. It is therefore not a plant extract. There are some vitamin D3-rich plants, but to date we have not seen any sources with the ability of producing neat D3. VegD3 is produced from 100% non-GMO perennial plant origin and is completely sustainable. In addition, it is responsibly-sourced, ensuring no negative impact on wildlife habitat or food sources. For all these reasons, VegD3 is completely scalable, and our process is such that we can expand production in line with market demand. That is vitally important in allowing VegD3 to be available to small customers right through to multinationals.
Health E-Insights: Is vitamin D3 considered a supplement trend, and veganism in general?
Mr. Natarajan: Vitamin D3 is currently everywhere in the media, and rightly so. On an almost daily basis, we see articles being published about new findings and research into the wide range of health benefits associated with vitamin D3, and the detrimental health effects of vitamin D3 deficiency. For years, the sole limitation with vitamin D3 has been the availability of a sustainable plant source, and VegD3 now allows vegan, vegetarian, Kosher, and Halal products to be fortified with vitamin D3. Veganism is also a major trend, and we worked with the Vegan Society, which diligently reviewed our data and supply chain to approve VegD3. The Vegan Society is the most respected and recognized voice for the vegan community and we are proudly certified.
Health E-Insights: When did you launch VegD3 and what has the market reaction been like?
Mr. Natarajan: VegD3 is brand new to the U.S. market, following completion of our regulatory approval procedures. We officially launched VegD3 in Anaheim at Natural Products Expo West 2018, and the reaction was amazing. It is fair to say we’ve been extremely busy since then, following up on some exciting projects. We’re already in talks with a wide range of market-leading food and nutritional brands and retailers. We look forward to supporting customers and growing the market.
Health E-Insights: What can you tell me about your company goals for growth?
Mr. Natarajan: We are very excited about VegD3 and its potential. Not only can vegan, vegetarian, Kosher, and Halal products now be fortified with a fully certified vitamin D3, we can also help companies move away from the inferior vitamin D2. Our plans are to make VegD3 available to companies of all sizes, with the aim of rejuvenating the existing vitamin D3 market and creating new market opportunities that were previously unavailable due to a lack of suitable ingredients.
Health E-Insights: What motivates you?
Mr. Natarajan: I am motivated by the combination of aiming to provide innovative vegan-suitable (and plant source) ingredients, and a deep concern surrounding vitamin D deficiency. While Avlaanis primarily based in Minnesota, we also have an operation in India (Chennai) and see first-hand the serious health implications of vitamin D deficiency. Almost every country in the world reports widespread vitamin D deficiency, and we are proud and highly motivated to be able to offer a universally-acceptable vitamin D3 ingredient in VegD3.
Sheldon Baker is CEO of the Baker Dillon Group LLC and has created numerous nutraceutical marketing communications and public relations campaigns for many well-known companies and brands. For Health E-Insights interview consideration or public relations consulting, contact him at SBaker@BakerDillon.com.