Panel discussion on...

Natural ingredients

Accelerating and securing innovation in the field of clinically supported ingredients


Julien Cases


Fytexia, France


Cindy Romain

Scientific Manager

Fytexia, France

Drivers of botanical ingredients development

Nutraceutical is a market in which companies must constantly innovate, and this is this innovation that drives the market and creates the dynamic for growth. The upstream of the value chain in dietary supplement development is conscious that cost is an important criterion for formulators, and in the past, this parameter probably led to poor ingredient development, to the detriment of science-based and thoughtful bioactive dosage. More than considering the dosage by itself as a parameter of formulation, the cornerstone of successful development is the understanding of an ingredient, from its mechanism of action to the demonstration of the causal relationship between a dose and an effect. The dosage of botanical extracts in food supplements must be considered in the context of nutrition and in line with the health benefits expected. The nutritional approach in food supplements must ensure a level of safety that relies on the level of bioactive ingestion and the cross-exposure more than on the business model besides the ingredient.

Scientific approach as the keystone

Clinical trials have become the standard to justify the health benefits of botanical ingredients. The characterization of the extracts is crucial, and so is the understanding of the metabolization of the bioactive within the organism, which is necessary to properly design further clinical interventions. The number of volunteers and the duration of the trials mainly depend on the type of outcomes and health benefits expected. Moreover, the length of clinical interventions may rely on the biological/physiological functions and their up/down regulation potentials. The latest must be considered as identified risk factors for health conditions and, accordingly, mainly concern people at risk but otherwise healthy.

Nutraceutical and medical nutrition

The nutraceutical application should require a deep characterization of the ingredient including the pharmacokinetics and the bioavailability evaluations for its bioactive. It also should require determining a strong rationale strengthened with an understanding of the mechanism of action and a demonstration of efficacy during clinical interventions that are properly designed and appropriately controlled for confounding factors.

For medical nutrition, it is strongly important to demonstrate the nutritional value of botanical bioactive to justify their role in rebalancing the dyshomeostasis occurring in disease development. Unfortunately, so far, most of the bioactive from botanical extracts are still not considered by health/regulatory authorities as nutrients; there is room to bring some of them to a nutritional level in the coming decades and it is a challenge our company is aiming at on polyphenols.

Health benefits through metabolic homeostasis regulation

The main role of botanicals is to recover biological and physiological homeostasis which can be implicated in obesity, cardiovascular health, general wellbeing etc. as many examples from the scientific literature highlight applications in these fields. The real question when formulating should focus on given health benefits and the understanding of the most efficient mechanisms to reach them. Most mechanisms will rely on inflammatory homeostasis, oxidative stress, endothelial function, immune modulation, and microbiota metabolism, all directly or indirectly linked to the above categories.


Vincenzo Zaccaria

R&D Manager - Bionap

Giovanna Nicotra

Scientific and Marketing Director - EPO

Andrea Zangara 

Head of Scientific Communications & Marketing - Euromed

Benoit Daems

CEO - Fermedix

Lucia Ferron 

R&D Coordinator - FLANAT Research Italia

Eleanor Johnson

Data Analyst - FMCG Gurus

Julien Cases 

CSO - Flytexia

Cindy Romain 

Scientific Manager - Flytexia

Antonella Riva

Product Innovation and Development Manager - INDENA

Giovanna Petrangolini 

Senior Research Manager - INDENA

Domenico Avenoso 

Junior Product Scientist - INDENA

Chris Kilham

Medicine Hunter - KSM-66 Ashwagandha

Alessandro Giuseppe Tricomi 

Food Supplement Manufacturing - Natural Ingredients Solution

Raffaella Pignatiello 

Quality Control - Natural Ingredients Solution

Federica Zanzottera 

Market Manager, Nutraceutical – ROELMI HPC

Marco Biagi 

General Secretary – S.I.Fit. (Italian Society of Phytotherapy)

Cristina Airoldi 

Associate Professor in Organic Chemistry - University of Milano-Bicocca

Alessandro Palmioli 

Associate Professor in Organic Chemistry - University of Milano-Bicocca