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Incorporating Capsaicin in a Weight Loss Product

Interview with Guru Ramanathan, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer, GNC

September 21, 2010

With the U.S. obesity epidemic, it is no wonder companies are developing innovative products for weight loss and weight management. One such product was honored at SupplySide West 2009 with an innovation award; Capsimax, a microencapsulated capsaicin extract, was developed by OmniActive Technologies and incorporated into products from GNC.

During the show, Guru Ramanathan, chief innovation officer and senior vice president at GNC, spoke about the product development process and the potential of the ingredient. He noted the pungency of capsaicin made it difficult to handle during manufacturing; however, "there was a lot of data showing that the pungent principles in capsicum can help increase energy expenditure."

To tap into the opportunity, GNC worked with OmniActives, which developed a unique delivery system using microencapsulation technology for the Capsimax ingredient, allowing it to be used in a solid dose product. A clinical trial using the supplement found subjects had significantly increased energy expenditure before, during and after exercise while taking Capsimax regularly.

"In its simplest form, we can use Capsimax in a product to be used to enhance metabolism, thereby increasing the amount of calories a person burns," Ramanathan explained. He also sees potential for incorporating the supplement into a weight management kit, perhaps with a meal replacement product, positioning the product as an "integral part of a weight loss or weight management strategy."

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