In 2023, the Arkhangelsk Algae Plant plans to double the production of iodine-containing additives and will be ready to fill the shortage of such drugs that arose due to the departure of iHerb and a number of Western brands from Russia.
Such additives, as well as salt and food iodization, are necessary for the prevention of iodine deficiency — a problem of 70% of the Russian population. The draft law on this topic was finalized at the end of autumn and again submitted by the Ministry of Health to the Government of the Russian Federation for consideration.
From May to September 2022, the Arkhangelsk Algae Plant — one of the oldest pharmaceutical companies in Russia, which was founded in 1918 for the production of iodine — for the first time after the collapse of the USSR reached the volumes of Soviet times and harvested 3 thousand tons of algae in the ecologically clean waters of the White Sea near Solovki and uninhabited islands of the Barents Sea. This will increase production, including doubling the production of iodine—containing dietary supplements and functional nutrition with iodine - for example, dried kelp, which can be added to salads and other dishes, and the "Pomorie Spices" line, which contain kelp powder as a source of bioavailable iodine.
Also this year, the Arkhangelsk Algae Plant managed to completely abandon imported components. Imported ingredients and materials were no more than 30%, this year the company found a replacement for them, so it has no difficulties with logistics and equipment.
In December, the network of laboratories "Hemotest" shared the statistics of the conducted studies: 48% of patients have a level of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) above normal, which means problems with the thyroid gland. This deviation was included in the top 3 most frequent, according to "Hemotest".
Iodine deficiency is a problem of 70% of Russian residents, which, according to experts from the National Research Institute of Endocrinology, is not systematically fought at the state level, not covering the entire population, and, unlike the EAEU countries, less than 30% of people consume iodized salt in our country. According to the international organization Iodine Global Network, Russia ranks 3rd in the ranking of countries with insufficient iodine intake, the average iodine intake is 3 times less than the norm of the World Health Organization: 40-80 mcg per day instead of 150-250 mg. Every year in our country, more than 1.5 million adults and 650 thousand children face thyroid diseases associated with iodine deficiency.
Among the recommendations of doctors and nutritionists is taking supplements with iodine to prevent this dangerous condition, which becomes the main cause of thyroid diseases, infertility, can provoke oncological and other diseases.
"During the pandemic, many people began to drink vitamin D, but we should not forget about iodine either. Doctors call it "a trace element of life and wisdom." Iodine is a vital trace element necessary for normal human growth and development, it is an integral part of thyroid hormones, which have a huge impact on almost all organs and systems of the human body. The fundamental function of iodine is human development, the ability to conceive a healthy fetus and a healthy child, carry it, give birth, maintain health and IQ throughout life.
The role of thyroid hormones produced by the thyroid gland in our body is extremely large, they are responsible for the reproductive function of a person, including its formation and the possibility of conception, contribute to the normal development of a child during intrauterine life, ensure the proper course of pregnancy. Thyroid hormones control the consumption of proteins, fats, carbohydrates. They regulate the activity of the nervous system, sexual and mammary glands, brain activity, growth and development of the body itself. The spectrum of manifestations of diseases associated with iodine deficiencies is very wide: from goiter and thyroid tumors to mental retardation and fetal malformations, early menopause, bone thinning, emotional problems. In 2019, according to WHO, iodine deficiency was one of the causes of severe mental retardation in almost 43 million people worldwide.
Iodine deficiency is called "hidden hunger". Hormonal disorders associated with it occur imperceptibly in the body, but the lack of iodine as a building element in almost all processes taking place in our body often becomes the root cause of many health problems. Including with a mental state: the first bell of iodine deficiency, when a person is irritable, depressed, sleepy, he has lethargy, forgetfulness, memory impairment, attention. This also happens at school: in winter, teachers call parents and, complaining about the student's inattention and forgetfulness, arrange a "debriefing". In fact, a child may simply lack iodine," says Maria Taranenko, an algologist and nutritionist.
According to the monthly retail audit of the pharmaceutical market of Russia conducted by DSM Group, the number of iodine—containing dietary supplements sold amounted to 6.3 million packages for 3 million 894 thousand rubles (on average - 0.7 million packages per month). A part of the Russian market of dietary supplements with iodine belongs to foreign brands, with which difficulties have been regularly arising since March of this year. An increase in the production of AV1918 supplements with bioavailable iodine based on White Sea algae will reduce the risk of defects in such preparations necessary for the prevention of thyroid diseases.
The Arkhangelsk algae plant has existed since 1918, began its history as a pharmaceutical enterprise, at first iodine was produced here. Now it is the only enterprise in Russia that has implemented and uses deep complex processing of algae "from the sea to the shelf". In 2016, it was privatized, in 2017 it was bought by a group of Moscow investors, since 2019, the management team has been completely changed, which revitalized the unprofitable enterprise - over the past two years, revenue has increased 3 times, according to SPARK, for 2021 it is 263 million rubles. This year, revenue is expected to grow by 50% compared to 2021. The key products in the company's portfolio are pharmaceutical products sodium alginate and diuretic mannitol. Since 1989, the plant has been producing cosmetics, dietary supplements, including iodine—containing, and functional nutrition, under the AV1918 brand - since 2019.