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Swanson Welcomes TryptoPure L-Tryptophan

Dear Friends and Valued Customers,

It is with great pleasure that I annouce the return of L-Tryptophan to our Swanson Health Products catalog. It's been many years since we've been able to offer this natural and effective amino acid for sleep and natural mental health support. The return of L-Tryptophan to our catalog is made even more triumphant thanks to the pristine quality of the material we have selected for our Swanson L-Tryptophan capsules. Produced by the world's recognized quality leader in amino acids, AJINOMOTO'S TRYPTOPURE® L-Tryptophan is the world's only high purity, pharmaceutical-grade, vegetarian-source L-Tryptophan on the global market. Up until now TRYPTOPURE has only been made available to medical doctors, hospitals and professional health care facilities. Therefore, we at Swanson were honored and humbled when AJINOMOTO made the decision to enter the nutritional supplement marketplace and chose Swanson Health Products as its partner for distribution in the United States. Following is an exclusive interview with two of AJINOMOTO'S top sales and marketing executives in the U.S., Mr. Yoshihiko Shimpo and Mr. Tim Osborne, in which they discuss what sets TRYPTOPURE apart from all other tryptophan ingredients on the market today in terms of quality, purity, efficacy and, most important, safety.

~Lee Swanson

Tim, Yoshihiko and Lee

Mr. Tim Osborne and Mr. Yoshihiko Shimpo recently visited Lee Swanson at our Swanson Health Products Corporate Headquarters in Fargo.

SWANSON: Yoshihiko and Tim, thanks for coming out to Fargo and meeting with me regarding Swanson's being granted marketing rights to AJINOMOTO'S pharmaceutical-grade L-tryptophan, TRYPTOPURE. Before we get into the product itself, will you please start by giving our readers some background on the AJINOMOTO company?

SHIMPO: AJINOMOTO is the world's premier supplier of pharmaceutical-grade amino acids and the worldwide market share leader. In fact, AJINOMOTO sells more amino acids worldwide than all our competitors combined.

SWANSON: How long has AJINOMOTO been in business?

SHIMPO: AJINOMOTO has been the world's leading producer of amino acids for over 90 years and has been producing pharmaceutical-grade amino acids since 1956—50 years. We will celebrate our 100th anniversary as a company in 2009.

SWANSON: AJINOMOTO'S pharmaceutical-grade L-tryptophan, TRYPTOPURE, has been supplied to medical doctors, hospitals and health facilities around the world for decades. You've now made the decision, and I'm truly honored that you've chosen Swanson Health Products to represent AJINOMOTO, to enter the nutritional supplement market here in the U.S. Why?

SHIMPO: Yes, we are just beginning to make our amino TRYPTOPURE L-Tryptophan available to dietary supplement manufacturers. Up until now we concentrated primarily on the medical/pharmaceutical industry. The reason AJINOMOTO chose to work with Swanson Health Products as our first customer for nutritional supplements in North America is because of your firm commitment to educating your customers—it's really unique in the U.S. marketplace. After many meetings with our corporate upper level management in Tokyo, Swanson Health Products is the only company we felt comfortable with, knowing that you will bring our products to your customers with honesty and integrity.

OSBORNE: Yes, that's right. AJINOMOTO spent a great deal of time researching many U.S. nutritional supplement companies and Swanson Health Products, with your worldwide reputation for stellar product quality, great customer service and the fact that you are dedicated to comprehensive consumer education made a business partnership with you a perfect fit for us.

SWANSON: Thank you very much for those kind words. I know the educational aspect of our catalogs is something that our customers appreciate as well. In keeping with that, but without getting too bogged down in it, can you tell us about L-tryptophan and why it has not been available for some time?

SHIMPO: Actually, although it had been restricted from the dietary supplement marketplace, L-tryptophan for human health never really went away. AJINOMOTO has been supplying the pharmaceutical and medical industry—doctors and hospitals—with our pharmaceutical-grade L-tryptophan all along. It's used widely around the world in hospitals in intravenous solutions, as well as on the consumer market as part of infant formulas and other specialty products. The restriction that you refer to was enacted in 1989 in response to negative reactions suffered by some users of L-tryptophan nutritional supplements. The U.S. then instituted an importation ban on L-tryptophan. The events turned out to be caused by L-tryptophan produced by another firm who used an untested manufacturing method. But for reasons some view as overzealous consumer protection and others see as pure politics, a ban was instituted across the board. AJINOMOTO, however, was allowed to continue supplying the American pharmaceutical hospitals and medical markets so our business was unchanged. This is due to the fact that L-tryptophan is a significant nutrient with confirmed medical uses, and AJINOMOTO enjoys a global reputation for excellence in quality, purity, research and safety. There has never, ever been an issue with our L-tryptophan.

SWANSON: What has changed to make L-tryptophan available in the U.S. again?

OSBORNE: The 1989 importation ban was rescinded in 2006, and the market is being flooded with Chinese material, which we at AJINOMOTO feel is inferior to our pharmaceutical-grade L-tryptophan, which we've branded under the name TRYPTOPURE. In the interest of public health and to exert a positive influence on this market segment, we've chosen to place our TRYPTOPURE into supplements. But as I mentioned earlier, in order to optimize the value of that effort we were very careful in deciding who we would partner with. AJINOMOTO has been contacted by many supplement companies in the U.S. We have chosen to work with Swanson Health because your multifaceted commitment to uncompromised product quality, your reputation for excellent customer service and dedication to ongoing customer education matches our philosophy and goal of providing truly safe, beneficial products to the educated U.S. health consumer.

SWANSON: What makes AJINOMOTO'S pharmaceutical-grade L-tryptophan, TRYPTOPURE different from Chinese or other L-tryptophan?

SHIMPO: I think it's important to know that AJINOMOTO was one of the first companies in the world to manufacture pharmaceutical-grade amino acids for medical and nutritional use, beginning in 1956. We literally invented the processes that make these ingredients possible. Eventually other manufacturers entered the market making similar products. About 15 years ago, the Chinese entered the market using processes such as extracting amino acids from human hair. While this is a very cost-effective method of manufacture, it often creates serious impurities. The Chinese and other manufacturers also make lower grade materials using more modern fermentation processes for animal (non-human) feed. This is the source for most tryptophan on the market today. The process for making animal feed does not include our purification process, which is critical in assuring the highest purity available for our TRYPTOPURE L-Tryptophan product. TRYPTOPURE and the entire AjiPure® line of amino acids is only manufactured via fermentation from vegetable sources. AJINOMOTO has more patents on process for producing amino acids than any other producer in the world. We've also developed the standards for evaluating the structure of end products, confirming purity and safety, and identifying activity and potential applications. This is why AJINOMOTO was allowed to continue supplying our pharmaceutical-quality L-tryptophan in America while others could not.

OSBORNE: We've tested other L-tryptophan products on the market using advanced HPLC techniques, and we can say with confidence that AJINOMOTO'S TRYPTOPURE brand L-tryptophan is among the purest product available today.

SWANSON: Our customers will appreciate the fact that most of your AjiPure amino acids are produced right here in the U.S.A. in Raleigh, NC.

OSBORNE: That's right. Our Raleigh plant produces a full line of individual amino acids under the AjiPure brand label, and it should be noted and emphasized that all AJINOMOTO amino acids are manufactured under GMP conditions. AJINOMOTO is the only manufacturer of pharmaceutical-grade amino acids in the U.S. Our amino acids are of vegetable origin and of a purity that sets the standard for our industry.

SWANSON: Thanks very much for your time, gentlemen. It's been a pleasure speaking with you, and I know our valued Swanson customers throughout the United States and Canada will find your insights very informative.

OSBORNE: Thank you, Lee. It's been our pleasure to partner with Swanson Health Products and to share this information with you and your loyal customers.

Why Supplement with Tryptophan?

L-Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, which means it cannot be synthesized by the human body and therefore must be part of the diet.

L-Tryptophan is a precursor for serotonin. Unlike other products that indirectly influence serotonin production or increase metabolism, L-tryptophan is a direct precursor that results in almost immediate increases in circulating serotonin, which is one of the primary neuro-hormones involved with sleep and mood. L-tryptophan has been shown to help establish and maintain healthy levels of serotonin, which may help to support a positive mood and reduce tension. In those people with serotonin levels already within the normal range, L-tryptophan not only helps people fall asleep, but also helps them stay asleep throughout the night and wake without grogginess.

L-Tryptophan is a powerfully effective amino acid, and some individuals should be cautious about using it. Anyone who takes a pharmaceutical medication of any kind should consult with a doctor or pharmacist before taking L-tryptophan. This is especially true for medications known as SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. These drugs, commonly in the antidepressant category, work by reducing the brain’s uptake of serotonin in order to keep it circulating. Taking L-tryptophan would simply increase the circulating serotonin even further, which could be detrimental. Also anyone who is pregnant or nursing, or those using over-the-counter or prescription sleep aids should also consult a professional before taking L-tryptophan.