The healthy aging market continues to evolve, clarify itself and accelerate.
As industries evolve, especially those that continue unabated growth in R&D, science and consumer demand, so too does terminology and the products that represent that terminology. Take “healthy aging.” Although this term appears nebulous, that very characteristic allows for product development flexibility that can reflect research elucidating how the human body responds to the mere act of living. Discussion of how the term is perceived and defined is warranted and recommended before heading into R&D.
“For the most part, the idea of healthy aging means ‘keeping what I have now’—whether this is in physical ability, mental ability or appearance,” mused Barbara Davis, PhD, RD, vice president, medical & scientific affairs for New Jersey-based PLT Health Solutions, Inc. For different individuals, the idea of achieving and/or maintaining peak performance begins at different ages and is focused on different conditions.
Sébastien Bornet, director of global marketing at New Jersey-based Horphag Research (exclusive worldwide supplier of Pycnogenol) observed that many people now equate healthy aging to looking and feeling one’s best through the advanced years of life, e.g., enjoying youthful, pliable skin, being active, and feeling a strong sense of wellness amid aging. For an increasing number of consumers, healthy aging also means being able to continue to do the things they have done when younger—to age on one’s own terms.
“When it comes to healthy aging,” he said, “heart, skin, joint and cognitive health are all important drivers for consumers that seek natural wellness support. Consumers who want to age well often note the health conditions that can arise later in life and that motivates them to be proactive in preparing for advanced years.”
For Chase Hagerman, brand director, Chemi Nutra, Texas, there is a significant distinction between “aging” and “healthy aging” in the minds of most consumers. He believes that if you were to ask people what words come to mind when they visualize the word “aging,” likely the depictions would be “slow moving (and driving), hunched over, forgetful and wrinkled skin. These characteristics are the antithesis of ‘healthy aging,'” he asserted. “Healthy aging is desirable traits such as remaining active, fit, sharp and youthful.”
Healthy aging, summarized, Aparna Kalidindi, PharmD, BCPS, technical sales and marketing manager, New Jersey-based Natreon, Inc. is the maintenance of optimal physical, mental, and social functioning in older adults.”
Eric Anderson, senior vice president of global sales and marketing, NattoPharma USA, Inc., New Jersey, agreed, noting that the term healthy aging “means preserving systemic functioning, and preventing acceleration of age-related degradation, as proven through long-term research.”
Harking to the idea of category evolution—a term that is being abandoned by forward-thinking and responsible industry entities is “anti-aging.” This is also a crucial point moving forward.
According to Kalidindi, the term “healthy aging” is a more positive concept, suggesting that aging is a natural process. Conversely, the term “anti-aging” emphasizes that aging is a race against time. Additionally, he said, products marketed with that term may cause consumers to have unrealistic expectations about the results.
Davis agreed: “The term ‘healthy aging’ offers more realistic expectations for what consumers can expect in terms of support and endpoints. What this support means varies from person to person, and is best thought as ‘peak performance’ under any set of age/health conditions. In the words of John Lennon (who would be 75 now), ‘Well, you know … we’re all doing what we can.’”
Hagerman pointed to the prefix, “anti-” (“acting to prevent something”) as unrealistic because aging is inevitable. “The more powerful ‘anti-aging’ term might catch the attention of consumers more; but the term ‘healthy aging’ is far more realistic and achievable. Much in the way that many consumers don’t trust overhyped products, anti-aging has a tendency to over promise and under deliver.”
Below are some of the promising ingredients with compelling research that address specific concerns during the aging process. (Note that editorial space prevents the presentation of all relevant ingredients; for more suppliers of innovative healthy aging ingredients, please refer to Nutritional Industry Executive’s Annual Sourcebook.)
It is a known fact that adults begin to slowly pack on pounds starting in their 30s due to biological changes and lifestyles that tend to be more sedentary. Overweight condition can and often does lead to cardiovascular complications and blood sugar insufficiency.
PLT Health Solutions’ Xanthigen supports healthy body weight through the synergistic effects of the natural compounds found in brown seaweed (Undaria pinnatifida), a source of fucoxanthin, and pomegranate seed oil rich in punicic acid.” Separately, the bioactive compounds in these two ingredients target pathways involved in body weight regulation including adipocyte differentiation, resting energy expenditure and lipid metabolism. Combined in Xanthigen they support weight loss as demonstrated by clinical research,” said Davis. She reported that a clinical trial performed in 151 overweight and obese, non-diabetic females that underwent a hypocaloric diet for 16 weeks, showed that Xanthigen caused a significant reduction in weight and body fat percentage, as compared with placebo. Further analysis revealed statistically significant improvements in blood lipid profiles, inflammatory markers, blood pressure and waist circumference.
PLT’s Satiereal is a patented, clinically studied satiety ingredient derived from saffron. Satiereal is thought to work by improving levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which plays a role in increasing the satiety state while decreasing appetite. Satiereal has been tested in two randomized, double-blind placebo controlled clinical trials. One study was conducted with 60 healthy, only slightly overweight women (BMI 25-30). Satiereal intake over the eight weeks resulted in a significantly greater body weight reduction than the placebo group. Satiereal decreased snacking by 55 percent compared to a 28 percent reduction in the placebo group.
New Jersey-based Pharmachem Laboratories’ Phase 2 Carb Controller, through its mechanism of action of temporarily disabling amylase activity during digestion of meals, addresses the healthy support of weight management and blood sugar response. Clinical studies demonstrate that a proprietary white bean extract (Phase 2) has the ability to reduce the post-prandial spike in blood glucose levels. Experiments conducted incorporating the extract into food and beverage products have found that it can be integrated into various consumables without losing activity or altering the appearance, texture or taste of the food. In totality, research demonstrates that Phase 2 has the potential to induce weight loss and support healthy blood sugar caused by carbohydrates through its alpha-amylase inhibiting activity.
Weight issues compound blood sugar insufficiency as well as cardiovascular status; metabolic syndrome often presents in middle age. Annie Eng, CEO of HP Ingredients (HPI) in Florida explained a tie-in with metabolic syndrome and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). “NAFLD is a condition that exacerbates unhealthy cholesterol levels, blood sugar insufficiency and weight/fat accumulation. Evidence shows that NAFLD is often associated with metabolic syndrome (MS); NAFLD has been identified as the hepatic manifestation of MS.”
In a placebo-controlled trial of 107 patients exhibiting MS and NAFLD, those that took 650 mg twice daily of HPI’s Bergamonte bergamont polyphenolic fraction (BPF) for 120 days had a significant reduction of serum total cholesterol, LDL-C and triglycerides. This effect was accompanied by significant reduction of serum glucose, transaminases, gamma-glutamyl-transferase, steato test and inflammatory biomarkers such as TNF-a and CRP.
Cardiovascular issues and concerns affecting middle-aged consumers goes beyond blood lipid profiles, and several ingredients have been shown to be effective in a potential multi-factorial cardiovascular support formula.
For example, according to Bornet, “A study found that a Pycnogenol and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) combination (PycnoQ10) naturally strengthens the heart, increasing the blood volume ejected with each beat. In addition, Pycnogenol has also been found to improve endothelial function (2015) and reduce metabolic syndrome risk factors.”
Misguided calcium is another potential problem that has come to the forefront of cardiovascular research—calcification in arteries is considered a huge risk factor for dramatic cardiovascular events.
NattoPharma’s MenaQ7 Vitamin K2 as MK-7 (MenaQ7 Crystals and MenaQ7 PURE) is the only patented K2 on the market that has been clinically validated to simultaneously deliver cardiovascular benefits. Vitamin K2 as MK-7 activates K-dependent proteins in the body that help the body properly utilize calcium. In the case of cardiovascular health, Matrix Gla Protein (MGP) inhibits calcium from depositing in arteries and blood vessels, keeping them healthy and flexible.
According to Anderson, a breakthrough published study monitored 244 healthy post-menopausal women (aged 55 to 65) who took 180 mcg MenaQ7 or placebo for three years using pulse wave velocity and ultrasound techniques. Results confirmed that citamin K2 as MK-7 not only inhibited age-related stiffening of the artery walls, but also made a statistically significant improvement of vascular elasticity. NattoPharma has several other published studies showing arterial protective benefits of MenaQ7 consumption.
Bone and Joint Health
In addition to benefiting cardiovascular wellness, MenaQ7 also promotes bone health by activating osteocalcin, which binds calcium to the bone mineral matrix, producing stronger, healthier and denser bones.
A three-year study of MenaQ7 and 244 healthy women, published showed the first clinically statistically significant protection of the vertebrae and the hip (femoral neck) against bone loss, Anderson reported. “This was achieved with a nutritional dose of 180 mcg daily of MenaQ7. The MenaQ7 supplementation group significantly increased the circulating active osteocalcin (cOC), a well-established biomarker for bone and vitamin K status. The inactive osteocalcin (ucOC) in the MenaQ7 group, decreased with 51 percent +/- 21 percent as compared to the placebo group (+4 percent +/- 49 percent). After three years of supplementation, maintenance in both bone mineral content and bone mineral density were statistically significant in the MenaQ7 group. Moreover, bone strength was statistically improved, demonstrating therapeutic benefits for the MenaQ7 group as compared to the placebo group.”
Preserving bone density is of course, highly desirable. However, if joint health is ignored, mobility will be impaired—and today’s active adults won’t sit down for that.
Similar to cardiovascular health, joint health is more than just about preserving cartilage; it’s also about managing the inflammatory cascade. Formulas or “packs” that suitably and effectively address both will get the nod of approval—and purchase—by consumers.
HPI’s Paractin is a patented extract of Andrographis paniculata, standardized to Andrographolide, 14-deoxyandrographolide, and Neoandrographolide. According to Eng, studies have shown ParActin to promote healthy inflammatory response by naturally invigorating the PPAR gamma response, inhibiting NF-kappaB, the key regulator of the human inflammatory response system, thereby naturally reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines and proteins associated with pain and redness from everyday activities.
“Various studies have shown that ParActin works by inhibiting NF-κB from binding to DNA, inhibiting IKKβ, inhibiting COX-2 and reducing PGE2, decreasing rheumatoid factor (TNF-a), reducing IgA and IgM which results in cartilage damage, reducing inflammatory C-reactive protein, and reducing AP-1 & STAT3 in synovial tissue,” Eng explained.
Several studies on Pycnogenol, noted Bornet, demonstrated its ability to promote joint mobility and naturally relieve discomfort. It was also shown that after supplementing with Pycnogenol, joints were more flexible and less medication was required. In addition Pycnogenol has been found to lower several key inflammatory markers of joint soreness, such as COX-2 enzymes, C-reactive protein, reactive oxygen species and NF-kappaB.
The ability to be as mentally flexible and active is also a key desire of aging Americans. The fear of issues that cause severe memory lapses and other brain dysfunctions remains common, especially if a recent ancestor has had such complications.
SerinAid PhosphatidylSerine (PS), from Chemi Nutra, is a brain health ingredient whose evidence is so compelling, said Hagerman, that the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) granted two health claims for it; indicating that it may reduce the risk of cognitive dysfunction and dementia in the elderly. “This is especially notable since it is the only ingredient to have a qualified health claim for cognitive health,” Hagerman asserted.
A 2015 study concluded, “Phosphatidylserine is required for healthy nerve cell membranes and myelin. Aging of the human brain is associated with biochemical alterations and structural deterioration that impair neurotransmission. Exogenous PS (300–800 mg/d) is absorbed efﬁciently in humans, crosses the blood–brain barrier, and safely slows, halts or reverses biochemical alterations and structural deterioration in nerve cells. It supports human cognitive functions, including the formation of short-term memory, the consolidation of long-term memory, the ability to create new memories, the ability to retrieve memories, the ability to learn and recall information, the ability to focus attention and concentrate, the ability to reason and solve problems, language skills, and the ability to communicate. It also supports locomotor functions, especially rapid reactions and reﬂexes.”
According to Bornet, several studies have found Pycnogenol to offer a wide range of cognitive health benefits among a broad audience, including women experiencing peri-menopause and menopause, seniors, and most recently Baby Boomers 55 and over.
Energy is the key that powers healthy aging in many ways. It drives physical and mental fitness. The very idea of napping on a porch in the mid-afternoon, once considered a luxury of retirement, is as of 2016’s retirees, rather abhorrent.
Kalidindi described Natreon’s PrimaVie as a clinically proven, purified shilajit containing dibenzo-α-pyrones (DBPs), DBP-Chromoproteins (DCP), fulvic acid and more than 40 different minerals. Fulvic acid independently stimulates mitochondrial energy metabolism, protects mitochondrial membranes from oxidative damage, and helps channel electron rich DBPs into the mitochondria to support the electron transfer chain. Several clinical studies have shown that PrimaVie can boost mitochondrial energy, improve exercise performance, and increase testosterone levels. It has shown to increase ATP synthesis and protects coenzyme Q10 from degradation by oxidative free radicals in the mitochondria. It is an ideal anti-aging product due to its ability to boost mitochondrial energy and up-regulate the genes responsible for collagen synthesis by several hundred fold. PrimaVie has shown beneficial effects in male reproductive health in two clinical studies.
LJ100 is HPI’s Eurycoma longifolia extract, standardized to 40 percent glyco saponins, 28 percent eurypeptides, 30 percent polysacharides, and eurycomanone. Eng noted that Eurypeptides is clinically proven at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for its androgenic properties. Created by the original researchers at MIT and University Malaya, this product has been shown in human clinical trials an ability to increase energy, enhance sports performance, promote a favorable anabolic state, and increase fat free mass. According to one study, it has been shown to be useful by both middle-aged/senior men and women to increase muscle force through a natural increase in total and free testosterone production. Another study noted that it may help improve the Aging Male Symptom score and testosterone concentration of aging men.
These are a few stellar examples of how far suppliers have come via investment in research to support ingredients that provide a wide range of appealing efficacy to help millions of aging Americans live their fullest and most vibrant lives possible. NIE
For More Information:
Chemi Nutra, (866) 907-0400
Horphag Research, (201) 459-0300
HP Ingredients, www.hpingredients.com
Natreon, (732) 296-1080
NattoPharma USA, (609) 454-2992
Pharmachem Laboratories Inc., www.pharmachem.com
PLT Health Solutions, (973) 984-0900