Help for a Healthy Heart

A Healthy Addition (icon)

A Healthy Addition

We produce nature-identical plant compounds and improve the bioavailability of naturally occurring substances. Our bioactive ingredients provide solutions for formulating effective food supplements – thereby promoting a healthy lifestyle.

It beats tirelessly – some 100,000 times a day: the heart, our body’s engine and most important organ. It pumps our blood, delivering nutrients and vital oxygen throughout the body. If it fails in its job, the likely culprit is cardiovascular disease, our perennial number-one cause of death. Each year, cardiovascular disease claims the lives of nearly 18 million people throughout the world. One particularly challenging aspect of this condition is that many people go a long time with little awareness that their cardiovascular health is at risk – these illnesses creep up on us with virtually no warning.

Reining in Cholesterol – and Protecting the Heart

If we have a toothache or tense muscles, we immediately notice that something is amiss and usually know what to do about it. Problems with the heart and circulatory system, on the other hand, are difficult to self-diagnose. Health screenings generally reveal whether everything is – or isn’t – as it should be, and preventive measures play a huge role in keeping the heart and circulatory system healthy: giving up smoking, drinking less alcohol and exercising are good for us and for our hearts. More and more people are also recognizing that a healthy diet likewise plays an important role in keeping us healthy. This includes eating foods that are low in fat in order to keep cholesterol values within the normal range. Elevated LDL cholesterol values, in particular, are associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease and arteriosclerosis. LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein, a fat-protein compound. Nutritional supplements and functional ingredients can have a positive impact on the concentration of LDL cholesterol – also commonly referred to as “bad” cholesterol – in our blood. In one survey, consumers aged 55 and older indicated that heart health was one of their most important reasons for buying functional foods.

Tumeric (Photo)

Tumeric contains curcumin, a natural antioxidant.

Olives (Photo)

Up to now, hydroxytyrosol has been extracted from olives.

The Super Molecule from Olives

WACKER is responding to that trend with two products – one of which is HTEssence® hydroxytyrosol, a secondary metabolite found in olives and olive leaves. Not only is the substance an effective antioxidant, it is also believed to lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation. Two studies have confirmed that the WACKER ingredient can decrease “bad” LDL cholesterol levels in the blood by as much as 8 percent, which, in turn, lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease. The US National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) estimates that the risk of cardiovascular disease decreases by as much as 2 percent for every 1 percent drop in LDL cholesterol levels. It follows that HTEssence® can reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as 16 percent.

In order to obtain hydroxytyrosol directly from olives, however, the substance must first be extracted through a complex, expensive process. Another disadvantage is that the concentration of the desired natural compound in the resulting extract is very low. WACKER has been able to improve on that considerably: the company has developed a patented proprietary process for manufacturing exceptionally pure, nature-identical hydroxytyrosol – with no undesirable byproducts, of consistently high quality and with a defined concentration of active ingredient. The process yields either a liquid or an odorless, water-soluble powder, making the resulting hydroxytyrosol suitable for use in functional foods and nutritional supplements.

A Vital Material for the Body’s Engine

It should go without saying that we all need to keep our heart healthy; after all, it is on the job 24/7 for our entire lives. The most important muscle in the body consumes a great deal of energy, which is provided by the mitochondria – the microscopic power plants in every cell. The coenzyme Q10 molecule, or CoQ10 for short, is one of the substances that play a key role in energy metabolism, which is why it is often compared to a spark plug: it delivers the spark needed for cellular energy production and is what allows the cell’s power plant to do its work in the first place. Coenzyme Q10 is similar to a vitamin, and the body can generate it to a certain degree on its own. But production in the body declines as we age. Additional factors with adverse effects on CoQ10 levels are chronic disease and the use of certain medications. Statins in particular, which are regularly prescribed to combat high cholesterol, have a negative impact on coenzyme Q10 biosynthesis in the body. Research has also shown that CoQ10 values are lower in patients with heart failure. Nutritional supplements are playing an increasingly important role in compensating for this deficit and for making a supply of this important molecule available for the heart muscle and for energy metabolism in older individuals.

Microtransporters (icon)


Our cyclodextrins help convey hard-to-dissolve drugs into a patient’s body, where they can take effect. These ring-shaped sugar molecules enhance the solubility and bioavailability of such substances.

Making Beneficial Actives Accessible

Adding coenzyme Q10 to our diet is no easy task, because the substance is fat-soluble, whereas the environment in the intestinal tract is aqueous. As a result, individual CoQ10 molecules combine to form larger structures that are very difficult for our cells to absorb. The experts at WACKER were therefore keen on increasing bioavailability. Their strategy was to formulate a new product – CAVAQ10® – by combining coenzyme Q10 with cyclodextrins, ring-shaped carbohydrates that WACKER bioengineers produce through the enzymatic degradation of starch. Their three-dimensional structure allows them to draw a lipophilic, i.e. fat-soluble, molecule into their inner cavity, provided that this molecule has the right size and shape – and CoQ10 does. The cyclodextrin shell, by contrast, is hydrophilic, i.e. drawn to water. These rings of sugar thus encapsulate individual CoQ10 molecules, making them more readily soluble. At the same time, they also separate molecules from each other to create a molecular dispersion. In other words, prevent agglomeration while ensuring that a relatively large number of molecules are available for the body’s cells. This makes CoQ10 more likely to enter cells, thereby increasing bioavailability. In the case of CAVAQ10®, bioavailability grows by a factor of 18 relative to traditional products.

That cyclodextrins open the doors of our cells to health-promoting molecules is evidenced by a second example: curcumin. The biologically active component of turmeric is a true jack-of-all-trades when it comes to the range of its therapeutic and prophylactic powers. While the antioxidant has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and other health-promoting properties, it does not dissolve readily in water, resulting in very poor bioavailability. The body actually eliminates up to 90 percent of curcumin taken orally. Much as they do with coenzyme Q10, cyclodextrins from WACKER also help ensure that the beneficial properties of curcumin can take effect in the body. When the active compound in turmeric forms complexes with the sugar rings, its bioavailability increases immensely. This was demonstrated in a clinical study in which CAVACURMIN®, a product formulated by combining curcumin with cyclodextrin, was found to yield a 40-fold improvement in absorption.

A Muscle Reviver

Dr. Wolz, a traditional German manufacturer of nutritional supplements, has been selling the curcumin-cyclodextrin complex for several years now – and it has become one of the company’s most successful products. A wide array of preventive benefits is attributed to plant compounds, especially to secondary metabolites like curcumin, with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties playing a prominent role in many applications. In exercise-related muscle injuries, for example, curcumin has been found to reduce inflammatory markers and to delay the resulting soreness. The affected muscles regenerate more effectively as well. What’s more, the active agent in turmeric helps control an insidious phenomenon known as silent inflammation, in which inflammation goes undetected in the body. As with hypertension or high cholesterol, by the time we even notice gradual disorders like this, it is usually too late. That makes preventive measures all the more important for keeping our heart and muscles healthy.


CAVACURMIN® in capsule form

The Benefits of Roughage

What your body needs is sometimes hard for it to digest. Indeed, because our body cannot digest roughage – also known as dietary fiber – it simply eliminates it with our stool. Yet fiber is anything but unnecessary: a diet rich in roughage can prevent metabolic disorders and diseases of both the gastrointestinal tract and the cardiovascular system. Insoluble fiber, for example, binds large amounts of water and acts as a swelling agent, stimulating bowel movements and preventing constipation. Soluble fiber, which also includes CAVAMAX® W6 alpha-dextrin from WACKER, plays a role in metabolism. In one clinical study, this type of cyclodextrin was shown to have a positive effect on what is known as the glycemic index (GI), reducing the GI of white bread by 50 percent. Why is that good? The body needs more time to digest food with a low glycemic index – and that results in more stable blood sugar levels. The European Commission has certified that alpha-cyclodextrins have a proven health benefit (health claim). In other words, CAVAMAX® W6 alpha-dextrin can support a healthy lifestyle by serving as an additional source of fiber.

Cyclodextrins belong to the family of cyclic oligosaccharides (i.e. ring-shaped sugar molecules). They are able to encapsulate foreign substances such as fragrances and to release active ingredients at a controlled rate. WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS produces and markets cyclodextrins.