Taking Vitamin D Supplements to the Next Level with galenIQ™
Although previously seen as a “winter time” supplement when shorter days mean that exposure to natural sunlight is limited, vitamin D is rapidly becoming a year-round topic for many people as consumers are increasingly aware of its role in supporting the immune system. Able to activate the innate and inhibit the adaptive immune systems with antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects, vitamin D deficiency is known to increase the risk or severity of viral infections. For example, recent research has shown that supplementing people with a vitamin D deficiency reduces the likelihood of developing acute respiratory viral infections by 42%. In addition, it was found that patients with a vitamin D deficiency often have a longer, more severe disease course.
EFSA has defined an adequate intake of vitamin D to be 15 µg per day for healthy individuals older than one year of age. To build up the body’s vitamin D levels via the skin, short-term exposure to UVB rays in the middle of each day is recommended by scientific experts. The lack of direct sunlight causes vitamin D levels to decrease. Therefore, many consumers are looking for dietary supplements to prevent vitamin D deficiencies. As vitamin D supports the uptake of calcium in the gut, many nutritional supplements contain both calcium and vitamin D.
When it comes to producing vitamin D supplements in tablet form, BENEO’s sweet tasting filler-binder galenIQ™ is the excipient of choice. This multifunctional excipient ensures both better compliance and more efficient production processes for tablet manufacturers.
Enhancing the Taste and Formulation of Vitamin D Supplements
“If we want to support people and help them to boost their immune system and their overall health with nutritional supplements, we need to take a closer look at the dosage forms we use,” says BENEO’s Dr Maj-Britt Cepok. Are products easy to swallow, do they taste good, are they easy to take on the go, does every age group accept them?
Speaking about medications, the good news is that most people only need to take them for a limited time. With most nutraceutical supplements, on the other hand, they should ideally be taken for a longer duration to see effects.
Vitamin D supplements are important for all consumer groups and all life stages, irrespective of factors such as lifestyle. “When developing vitamin D and calcium tablets, it’s important that the bulk excipient in the formulation fulfills certain functions, such as providing excellent flowability, low hygroscopicity, physical stability during mixing, chemical inertness and a high content uniformity. Ideally, the end product tastes good as well. Vitamin D is one of the most recommended nutritional supplements and, with galenIQ™ as an excipient, we enable consumers to make their intake conveniently and pleasantly.”
galenIQ™ is the pharmaceutical grade of isomalt, BENEO’s disaccharide alcohol derived from beet sugar. The galenIQ™ range is available in a wide array of particle size distributions, morphologies and levels of solubility. There are specific grades for direct compression, wet granulation, roller compaction, hot melt extrusion, syrups and pan coating. This makes it a highly versatile excipient for oral solid and even liquid dosage forms. In fact, the agglomerate morphology of galenIQ™ 721 ensures that both a high concentration of calcium and a comparatively low amount of vitamin D can be evenly distributed within a powder mixture and that there is high content uniformity in the finished dosage form.
There are, of course, some consumer groups that warrant a closer look; children and the elderly often have difficulties swallowing large capsules or tablets. To create suitable dosage forms, not only a fine-tuning of the formulation and the active ingredients is needed, suppliers also need to ensure that the products are convenient to use on a daily basis. Here, galenIQ™ allows for the production of easy-to-administer delivery forms, and not just for vitamin D supplmentents. galenIQ™ greatly benefits the production of fast-disintegrating tablets and minitablets, effervescents, chewables, toothfriendly lozenges or syrups that provide a mild sweet taste that particularly appeals to children.
Push for dietary supplements
As consumers have been increasingly reflecting on their health and lifestyles in recent times, the nutraceutical industry has experienced a surge in demand. For example, a survey from the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) found that vitamins and minerals continue to be the most frequently mentioned supplement category, with nearly all supplement users reporting usage in the past year (98%).
Even healthy people are re-evaluating their lifestyles, resulting in a quite notable shift in mindset. In pre-COVID times, many consumers stated that by following a healthy diet, they didn’t need to support their health and wellbeing with supplements. The coronavirus provoked a surge of interest in taking a more proactive approach towards boosting their immune system with new habits and supplements. A recent study highlighted that, among hospitalized COVID-19 patients, preinfection deficiency of vitamin D was associated with increased disease severity and mortality. In addition, scientists also revealed that “vitamin D could be a piece of COVID-19’s complex puzzle.” 
Another significant effect is the impact of long-COVID, the health complications of which can negatively affect people for weeks and months. It’s not proven, but assumably people who want to recover quickly and fully from a COVID infection are also very open to help their bodies with supplements including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. What does this mean for the development of new supplements? Concepts that support a quick and full recovery from virus infections will be a great help for consumers. Owing to its sweet taste and excellent technical properties, galenIQ™ is ideally suited for manufacturers of nutritional supplements containing vitamins and minerals in tablet or stickpack form who are looking to make the most of this trend.
 Martineau, A.R.; Jolliffe, D.A.; Hooper, R.L.; Greenberg, L.; Aloia, J.F.; Bergman, P.; Dubnov-Raz, G.; Esposito, S.; Ganmaa, D.; Ginde, A.A.; et al. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: Systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. BMJ 2017, 356, i6583.