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A Good Mood Plan

Good Mood Good Mood

Life can be stressful and sometimes overwhelming, but consumers facing these challenges are now looking to natural ingredients to help calm down and pull themselves out of their funk.

Jacob Fishback, sales supervisor with Lief Organics in Valencia, CA, explained that the healthy mood category is on an upward trend—mental health and awareness is at an all-time high and is continuing to grow. “Consumers are getting smarter and are looking for more natural ways outside of prescriptions to help with cognitive function and overall wellbeing that may have less side effects than prescribed medications.”

He added, “We are also living in a tech-driven world; with social media platforms continuing to rise in popularity, whether it be YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Podcasts, etc., people are spending more time on their phones or in front of a computer. Research continues to come out about blue light damage not only effecting eye-site but affecting mood as well. Therefore, more consumers are actively looking for products to enhance their mood and focus.”

Juliana Erickson, senior marketing manager with New Jersey-based Lonza Consumer Health & Nutrition, agreed. “With people leading busier lives and becoming more attached to their digital devices, it is increasingly difficult to ‘switch off’ and wind down. Subsequently, awareness is growing among consumers on the importance of maintaining optimal mental health, to help complement the health benefits of physical exercise. This has led to more and more individuals seeking solutions like supplements to manage mental wellbeing, including mood. Indeed, according to research carried out by Lonza, 42 percent of U.S. consumers state they are very likely to use supplements to address stress and anxiety, a 56 percent growth between 2009 and 2018.

“Millennials are particularly susceptible to the challenges associated with busy, on-the-go lifestyles and are looking for solutions to help manage their everyday stress levels,” Erickson added. “According to Lonza’s proprietary survey, there has been a significant growth in the number of Millennials turning to supplements to manage sleep and stress/anxiety issues (45 percent), suggesting that this demographic is playing a key role in driving this demand. This marks a substantial increase in interest in these condition-specific supplements, indicating that there is potential for further growth of this market in years to come.”

Michael Chernyak, president, CK Nutraceuticals, in Oakville, ON, Canada, said the category has strong upside potential. “The demands of fast-paced modern-day living can lead to stress, which can negatively impact mood and cognition. Even those not afflicted with chronic stress can experience mood issues.” He pointed out that experiential ingredients supported by controlled clinical studies that address mood balance and cognitive performance therefore have great potential, “but they must deliver a benefit the user can feel, otherwise a purchase of a second, third and fourth bottle will not follow the purchase of the first.”

Top Ingredients

Research-backed traditional and new ingredients are favored for mood support.

“There are some terrific ingredients in the category,” Chernyak said. “We’re seeing growing interest in saffron. The most prized spice in the world, saffron contacts bioactive compounds that support a healthy mood. There are excellent studies that point to saffron’s effectiveness in supporting mood balance. Our SaffSerene ingredient is clinically validated, effective at a low daily dosage, and produced in a GMP (good manufacturing practice) facility in Europe—it fits into this emerging category.”

Lonza’s Relora ingredient is a proprietary blend of Magnolia officinalis and Phellodendron amurense bark extracts that has been shown to improve mood and reduce overall stress. The science-backed ingredient is supported by three peer-reviewed, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies that demonstrate its positive effects on mood state scores and weight maintenance in stress eating.

Matt Titlow, CEO with Compound Solutions, Inc. in Carlsbad, CA, noted that ginseng, ashwagandha and choline derivatives are the standard ingredients. “But the latest additions to re-make the category are TeaCrine and Dynamine, which activate dopamine receptors to unlock energy, mood, motivation and focus.”

Fishback added that the majority of the ingredients the company receives regular inquiries about are tyrosine, theanine, bacopa, lion’s mane, alpha GPC, huperzine, KSM-66, Teacrine and Dynamine, due to Dynamine achieving GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status. “It is creating an even higher demand for this cutting-edge innovative material,” he said.

“Having clinical data surround a material is more important than ever. Don’t get me wrong—everyone reacts differently to each and every ingredient depending on blood type, stress levels, etc., but this data provides a solid back bone for the material and gets more of an engagement and curiosity around it than your common ingredient you can find anywhere.”

According to Pennsylvania-based Gnosis, the market favors molecules of natural origin, and this segment is a major revenue contributor due to their cost-effectiveness. Mood health/cognitive function ingredients and products belong to vitamins and minerals, herbal extracts and natural compounds.

The company stated that forefront research is rewarding known molecules, such as the B9 in the form of active folate 5-methyltetrahydrofolate, that remain at the top of the ingredients in this category. Strong epidemiological studies and case observations have suggested that low concentrations of the 5-MTHF in the blood are related to poor cognitive function and have a role in the progression of cognitive impairment in older people as well as in depressed mood: low folate concentrations in fact have been associated with both an increased incidence of depression and an inadequate response to treatment.

Gnosis added that the 5-MTHF or L-methylfolate, such as Quatrefolic, is the only form of folate able to enter the brain without previous metabolism. Quatrefolic passes the brain blood barrier and can support brain function also in subject with reduced metabolism of folate, due to a genetic defects (polymorphism) of a key enzyme 5-methylentetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR), which impair body ability to produce 5-MTHF.

In addition, the S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) maintains its appeal. SAMe is associated in longevity and aging being implicated in all the major life-sustaining pathways and having a role in body stress responses, good stress management, inter- and intra-cellular communication, and mitochondrial functioning. Supplementation of SAMe may result in increased synthesis of neurotransmitters, which may account for its mood enhancer effects.

Looking Ahead

As the clean-label trend continues to gain momentum and expand, it is creating new challenges and opportunities for manufacturers of mood supplement products. Erickson said, “Starting from a demand for naturally sourced products, it now also includes sustainable and ethical (values-based) considerations. According to Lonza’s survey, there was a 97 percent growth in the proportion of supplement users indicating that an environmentally responsible brand is a very important factor in their purchasing decision, over a five-year period. This has brought new challenges in today’s market, where developers and marketers have had to adapt to meet increased consumer demand for products that are from natural sources, organic or non-GMO certified.”

The challenges come not only from selecting ingredients, but in the delivery method, too, Erickson added. “Release profile is also a key consideration for efficacy—whether a timed release, or sustained release of actives is needed for the desired effect on mood and sleep. Furthermore, with more and more consumers looking for products that offer a unique story and are customized to them, the personalization trend is increasingly gaining traction in the dietary supplements industry.”
Lonza’s DUOCAP capsule-in-capsule technology, which enables supplement producers to address more than one health benefit or deliver ingredient synergy in a single capsule, is ideal to help meet these demands, significantly broadening the spectrum of supplement combinations possible and offering supplement producers new opportunities to drive innovation in the mood category.

Good Mood + Energy

According to Titlow, there is an important aspect product developers should consider when addressing mood. “I believe the wider category is ‘energy.’ When you feel well, you feel energetic. So, the new energy category is ‘functionalized’ with mood, motivation and/or focus. Additionally, some are realizing that goBHB (beta-hydroxybutyrate) is a clean, less oxidative alternative energy source for the brain. The energy in this new category can be stimulant or non-stimulant, but it’s functionalized with mood enhancement.”

For example, Titlow explained, one formula could involve a simple, yet effective combination of caffeine, Dynamine and TeaCrine. Or, a second formula could be non-stimulant and include ginseng, Dynamine and goBHB (beta-hydroxybutyrate) … “Dynamine and TeaCrine are not stimulants, but they can enhance the caffeine experience. They’re used in either formula. The fact that both Dynamine and TeaCrine don’t illicit a crash, or even habituation, is changing and optimizing the whole energy, mood and focus (EMF) categories from pre-workouts and gaming to mood and cognitive-enhancers.” NIE

For More Information:

CK Nutraceuticals, www.ckingredients.com
Compound Solutions, Inc., www.compoundsolutions.com
Gnosis, www.gnosis-bio.com
Lief Labs, www.lieflabs.com
Lonza Consumer Health & Nutrition, www.lonza.com