Current Issues - Newsletter

April 1998



  Sabinsa Corporation at the Tokyo Health Industry Show
  In late March, Sabinsa Corporation along with Twinlab, GNC, Nature's Way, Capsugel and a handful of other dietary supplement leaders joined together in exhibiting at the Tokyo Health Industry show in Tokyo, Japan. Mr. Gregory Loose, Commercial attache for the U.S. embassy in Japan stated best the objective of having a USA booth at the show when he said "... the Embassy will be using the exhibition and seminars at the Show to hammer home the message of why liberalization of these products is important for the health and welfare or the people of Japan, as well as to showcase products and market development in the United States ... this is the second largest market in the world, and with the population aging faster than any other in the developed world, the promotion of health (including through dietary supplements) must inevitably become a top priority."

Left - Todd Norton, Executive Vice President, Sabinsa Corporation;
Middle - Loren Israelsen, Executive Director, Utah Natural Products Alliance;
Right - Jeffrey Morrison, President, American Herbal Products Association.

Ayurvedic Gems : Picrorhiza kurroa

Picrorhiza kurroa (fam. Scrophulariaceae) has been used in the traditional Indian systems of medicine to treat liver troubles and bronchial problems.

Kutkin, a mixture of the iridoid glycosides picroside I and kutkoside has been found to be an efficient liver protectant, which is more effective than silymarin obtained from milk thistle1.

Androsin, a phenolic glycoside isolated from P. kurroa, has been attributed with anti-asthmatic properties, probably through the inhibition of the platelet activating factor, which is responsible for bronchial obstruction2. P. kurroa extracts have also been shown to possess anti-allergic activity through mast cell stabilization3.

In a clinical study performed on 20 asthma patients, a crude extract of P. kurroa produced significant improvement. Interestingly, patients who had a known history of allergy to certain food items developed tolerance to these items during the treatment.

Sabinsa Corporation's Picroliv® is standardized for 4% kutkin.


1. Planta Medica. 1991, 57: 29-33.

2. Int. Arch. Allergy Appl.Immunol., 1991. 95:128-133.

3. Aspects of Allergy Appl. Immunnol., 1977, 11 : 137-144.

4. Bombay Hosp. J., 1982, 24(2): 15-18.

Bioperine®: Bioavailability enhancer

The 1996 patent awarded by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office to Sabinsa Corporation on the use of the trade marked extract of black pepper, Bioperine® (containing at least 95% piperine) has been much in the news recently, on account of misinformation generated by oleoresin maufacturers who tried to sell the product for its patented use. Critics have made a totally false accusation that the patent interferes with the export of black pepper and its products from India.

The patent refers to the USE OF PIPERINE, specifically to increase the bioavallability of compounds such as vitamins, amino acids and minerals in nutritional supplement formulations. It is not a product patent and does not infringe upon the export of black pepper, piperine or pepper oleoresin from India, Indonesia or Sri Lanka. Based on documented research and detailed clinical studies, the patent only serves to render credibility to the use of a piperine as an enhancer of nutrient bioavailability.

A recent study further validates the use of Bioperine® in enhancing bioavailability of nutrients by improving absorption and altering their disposition. The in vivo utility of curcumin, a valuable antioxidant phytonutrient, is sometimes hampered by its poor bioavailability due to rapid metabolism in the intestinal wall.

Concomitant administration of piperine with curcumin (5 mg Bioperine® /500 mg curcuminoids) to human volunteers resulted in a significant increase in serum levels of curcumin for a short post-administration period (1-2 hours), as compared to controls receiving curcumin alone, and decreased its elimination half life. The increase in bioavailability of curcumin in the 0.25 hour to 1 hour post-administration period with piperine was 2000% . The authors of this study concluded that in the dosages used, piperine enhances the serum concentration, extent of absorption and bioavailability of curcumin, with no adverse effects (Planta Medica 64 (1998), 1-4). The study was conducted at St. John's Medical College, Bangalore, with funding from Sami Chemical & Extracts Ltd., Bangalore, India- a Sabinsa Company.

  Judy lewicki : Customer Service Associate  
Judy Lewicki, is a recent addition to Sabinsa's talented marketing team. She received a B.S. degree in Nutritional Sciences from Cook College, Rutgers University, In 1997. Her work experience with the New Jersey State Park Services helped her gather valuable customer service skills. With her sound technical background, and interest in working with people, Judy enjoys helping customers find the products and information they need. We take this opportunity to welcome Judy aboard!
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