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Heart Health Maintenance

Heart Health Heart Health

Though the market for heart health supplements is mature, improved ingredients and consumers’ increasing desire for natural preventions may help the category build speed.

Non-GMO Project

Older adults drive the heart health supplement market, with good reason. According to Thierry Garrier, marketing director, supplements for New Jersey-based DSM, “Consumer sales of supplements targeted to heart health have been growing in the last three years at around half the rate of the total supplements market, as the category is more mature than other health benefit areas of the industry (U.S. data, source: NBJ). The market for ingredients tends to follow retail sales trends,” he noted. “The cardiovascular health supplement market is primarily driven by middle-aged to older consumers. A 2017 DSM proprietary global consumer research with a sample of 750 people in the U.S. showed that cardiac health is of concern to 60 percent of adults 31-50 years of age and 57 percent of adults 51-plus. Younger adults are significantly less worried about their cardiac health,” Garrier said.

“With more than 75 million Baby Boomers,” added Michael I. McBurney, PhD, FACN, vice president of science, communications and advocacy with DSM, “735,000 Americans have a heart attack each year and one out every four deaths is due to heart disease (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).”

People are looking for holistic approaches to health and well being, he added. “According to Managed Healthcare Executive, 88 percent of consumers experience challenges to eating healthy.”

However, Bryan See, business developer, ExcelVite Sdn. Bhd. (Malaysia) cited a 2017 market research reported published by Global Industry Analysts, which projected the global market for ingredients supporting heart health to reach $23 billion (U.S.) by the year 2022. Contributing factors include both an increase in consumers taking more preventative measures and the prevalence of cardiovascular disease.

Maintaining adequate heart health is a daunting task, which is a detail that ingredient suppliers are aware of. As a result, in order to create more effective products, manufacturers are attempting to cover all of their bases, from the process of trying to prevent heart issues to embracing the active lifestyle for all ages.

“Prevention has always been a foundation for heart health, but it’s also shifting to include categories that are increasingly important to consumers—healthy aging and sports performance/active lifestyle,” said Brian Appell, marketing manager with OmniActive Health Technologies in New Jersey. “Not so much of a concern but still relevant, the term ‘healthy aging’ is being thrown around a lot but it is resonating with consumers whose perception about aging is less about ‘anti-aging’ and more about living an active lifestyle, and heart health plays a big role. In sports nutrition, ‘vasodilators’ and ‘nitric oxide boosters’ have been a staple for bodybuilders, but they are trickling down to active lifestyle consumers who find value in supporting heart function.”

Improving Popular Ingredients

According to Appell, some of the most popular ingredients for heart health supplements include:

• CoQ10
• Magnesium
• Soy
• L-arginine
• Fish oil
• Vitamin C
• Resveratrol
• Cocoa

In addition, OmniActive has found curcumin to be effective to combat heart health via its CucuWin product, although it may struggle in the bioavailability department. However, the company’s use of UltraSOL technology addresses that problem.

“OmniActive has focused on curcumin, since it’s such a promising ingredient for heart health,” said Appell. “But, the bioavailability of orally administered curcumin is quite poor because of poor solubility, low absorption from the gut, rapid metabolism and rapid systemic elimination. CurcuWIN uses UltraSOL technology; a molecular dispersion process that converts lipophilic nutrients into water-dispersible ingredients to enhance bioavailability and retention greater than standard curcumin. The results of the Jaeger study show that CurcuWIN has 46-times higher relative absorption than standard curcumin. CurcuWIN was also shown to have longer-lasting action with higher serum concentrations after 12 hours. The combination of improved bioavailability and extended retention in the body may explain why CurcuWIN’s heart health benefits are observed in a healthy population at a lower dosage.”

Norway-based Aker BioMarine’s SuperBoost product, which utilizes new technology to create a concentrated krill oil, addresses blood pressure and cholesterol. Krill oil operates differently, compared to omega-3 triglycerides, the company noted.

“Omega-3 fatty acids (specifically long-chain omega-3s EPA and DHA) are essential for our overall health and play an important role in many processes in our bodies,” said Dr. Nils Hoem, chief scientist at Aker BioMarine. “In fact, research has shown that long-chain omega-3s support blood pressure, cholesterol levels and normal blood clotting processes, as well as a regular heartbeat, all of which contribute to keeping both the heart and its arteries healthy.

“Krill oil, an increasingly popular omega-3 option, provides EPA and DHA mainly in the form of phospholipids, which are structurally different than omega-3 triglycerides found in fish and algal oils or the semi-synthetic free fatty acid and ethyl ester forms found in concentrates. Krill’s omega-3s are carried directly into the blood via the phospholipids, thereby raising one’s omega-3 index more efficiently as compared to other omega-3 oils that are delivered as triglycerides and follow different paths in the body.”

Jayesh Chaudhari, MS, CNS, director of research and development, Prinova Solutions (Illinois), the manufacturer of Oxyjun, a stimulant free, extract of the Terminalia arjuna tree containing standardized polyphenols that may help to improve endurance, further expounded upon Hoem’s point. He illustrated that these sorts of ingredients, including healthy omega-3 fatty acids, Co-Q10, phytosterols, vitamin K2, beta glucan, vitamin D, niacin and polyphenols, continue to be in demand due to new research.

“Clinically speaking, most of the nutrient ingredients have exhibited positive findings in minimizing the cardiovascular issues by establishing a healthy-lipid profile,” he said. “For example, studies have shown lowered triglycerides and LDL, cholesterol, increased cellular energy, increased antioxidant power (chelate free radicals), and reduction in a building of plaques and inflammation. With increased awareness about health and proactive approach for life extension, there has been an increased demand for nutrient ingredients supported by a strong scientific backup and possibly with qualified health claims. That being said, well-established trademarked/branded ingredients from global corporates capture more market share than traditional ingredients.”

Germany-based Wacker Chemie AG has also invested in production and technology. According to Rachela Mohr, manager of business development, the company:

• Received about €3.0 million (about $3.5 million U.S.) from licensing agreements in 2016
• Filed 116 patent applications in 2016
• Has a portfolio containing about 5,600 active patents worldwide, and 1,900 patent applications currently pending.

Mohr continued, adding that, “We patented for example the new production method to synthesize nature-identical hydroxytyrosol, known under the brand HTEssence. WACKER has also developed a solution for significantly improving the bioavailability of such hydrophobic substances. Our technology of choice here is complexation with the ring-shaped cyclodextrins. Cyclodextrins are hydrophilic on the outside but have a lipophilic interior that can take up other lipophilic molecules. This inclusion compound can improve the solubility of lipophilic substances, and thereby significantly improve their bioavailability.”

ExcelVite also has a focus on bioavailability. “In addition to research that supports the efficacy of the ingredients,” stated See, “manufacturers should really consider the bioavailability of the ingredients that they use. Oil or fat-soluble ingredients such as vitamin E, CoQ10, omega-3s are insoluble at all, pose the most challenges in processing and formulating in term of ensuring optimum absorption in the GI (gastroinestinal) tract. Very often, these ingredients are poorly absorbed or not absorbed at all. The tocotrienol is one such ingredient because vitamin E is a fat soluble compound,” he explained.

Optimum Efficacy

NattoPharma USA, Inc. (New Jersey) developers of MenaQ7 (vitamin K2 as MK-7), created a new product based off MenaQ7, with the goal of successfully closing the diet-supplement gap that so often exists for consumers.

“Natural product consumers recognize that supplementation is required to fill dietary gaps, but they want their supplementation as close to natural food sources as possible, which inspired us to recently develop and launch MenaQ7 Full Spectrum K2,” said Eric Anderson, senior vice president of global marketing and business development with the company. “The Rotterdam and Prospect studies 1-3 have shown that food-derived vitamin K (such as from aged, not processed cheeses) improves long-term cardiovascular health outcomes because it more specifically delivers the long-chain menaquinones MK-6, 7, 8 and 9.

“MenaQ7 Full Spectrum provides the vital menaquinone isomers MK-6, 7, 8 and 9 – vital for cardiovascular health – for optimum delivery of vitamin K2 with respect to absorption, half-life and biological activity.”

Whatever the ingredient for heart health may be, testing through the entire process, from formulation to finished product, is also important to knowing its effectiveness. “The main concern is that once you mix few ingredients together into a formula and you do not test the final formula (finished product) for efficacy, you can never say whether the product is effective or not,” noted Golan Raz, PhD, head of the global health division at Lycored (New Jersey), who created Tomato-O-Red, a carotenoid extract that is derived from tomatoes. “The fact that an ingredient was proven to be effective as a standalone isn’t saying much about its efficacy once mixed with other ingredients. Therefore, the minimum that can be done to move from guessing to knowing is to run the formulation through a relevant and suitable pre-clinical test. This isn’t the best practice, but it is well better than going straight to the market.”

Raz was also reluctant to say one ingredient for heart health was superior than another, but noted that lycopene, an antioxidant found in Tomato-O-Red, and phytosterols “have been tested in a variety of preclinical[s] and clinical[s] and for multiple indications.”


Low magnesium levels have serious implications for heart health. “The World Health Organization has stated that low magnesium status has been implicated in hypertension and coronary heart disease, also noting that up to 80 percent of Americans are deficient in magnesium,” said Todd Johnson, senior director of marketing, human nutrition and pharma with Balchem/Albion Minerals in Utah. “According to the National Institutes of Health, magnesium is a cofactor in over 300 enzyme systems that regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control and blood pressure regulation.

“Many studies have shown a significant correlation between people that have low levels of magnesium (either in their diet or in their blood) and a higher incidence of heart attack and stroke. Research also connects magnesium with inflammation. Arteriosclerosis, where there are actual blockages in the heart, is closely related to inflammation in the vascular system.”

Balchem offers Albion Magnesium Bisglycinate Chelate, which Johnson described as “both gentle and highly bioavailable.”

As the industry heads into the New Year, it will see continued improvement.

“With the breakthrough revolution and disruptive innovation, the food and nutrition industry has changed its face radically by offering differentiated products through the use of clinically proven branded ingredients in convenient delivery systems and cutting-edge packaging,” observed Chaudhari. “Constantly shifting trends and educated consumer behavior promotes innovation, and the need to meet new requirements, such as the use of clean label (natural ingredients), non-GMO (genetically modified organism), gluten free, small dosage with more effective, small and convenient delivery systems, i.e. films, spray, mini-tabs.”

These types of developments have helped the ingredient market become what it has today.

Transparency and Quality

When it comes to creating products, manufacturers must consider that consumers are more aware of where the ingredients are sourced. Companies such as Aker BioMarine are adamant about this.

“Manufacturers need to consider where their ingredients are coming from when formulating new products,” recommended Hoem. “According to 2016 data from the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), supplement users are looking more closely at where ingredients are sourced from, showing strong preference for natural, organic and sustainable sources. Not all omega-3s are created equal or sourced the same. Sustainability is a major factor for Aker BioMarine and something the company takes very seriously on many levels, from technology to third-party certification. For the third year in a row, Aker BioMarine received an ‘A’ rating from The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) for its operations.

“Transparency is also very important. Aker BioMarine owns and controls its entire supply chain, which means the company can assure secure supply volume, product quality and seamless service every time. And by utilizing a GPS tracking system that can pinpoint the exact location of each krill batch processed, consumers can use the coordinates on the product bottles to know where the krill was harvested from.”

Besides transparency, Chaudhari added that manufacturers must be adherent to specific criteria, such as:

• Effectiveness (effective – clinically validated) and safety (absence of toxicity & GRAS)
• Bioavailability
• Stability
• Regulatory compliance – federal and local regulations
• Compatibility in finished product
• Convenient delivery system

Consumers are also looking at ingredients backed by research. DygloFit, a product developed by Vermont-based Icon Group LLC, an affiliate company of NutraGenesis LLC, is backed by clinical trials.

“The most important research that can be performed on any heart health ingredient are human clinical trials,” said Bruce Abedon, PhD, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs, NutraGenesis LLC. “DygloFit, an advanced, self-affirmed GRAS (generally recognized as safe), standardized extract of Dichrostachys glomerata fruit, has had two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human clinical trials performed which have shown that it is efficacious at helping to support healthy levels of important blood lipids that are associated with cardiovascular function. These trials have also shown that it is well tolerated. In fact, DygloFit helps support cholesterol levels that are already in the normal range* through its significant effect on LDL, HDL and triglyceride levels at both once daily and twice daily dosage protocols.”

An area of study OmniActive Health Technologies is interested in is nitric oxide, which has been shown to help with blood flow.

“New research that OmniActive has been focused on is in the field of nitric oxide enhancement, and we’re seeing growing interest among companies to tell that story,” Appell observed. “Nitric oxide plays such an important part in heart health. The endothelium is the innermost layer of blood vessels and forms an interface between the blood and the vessel wall. It plays a critical role in the proper functioning of the blood vessels and the entire cardiovascular system including anticoagulation, vasodilation and reducing smooth muscle proliferation (which plays a role in atherosclerosis). We believe this is a key area of focus and there’s growing interest among companies to ‘tell’ that story.”

These studies have continuously involved, which opens up the door for new solutions in the health and wellness space.

“Over the years, poor diet and lack of exercise have made the consumers more prone to cardiovascular issues,” said Chaudhari. “As cardiovascular disease continues to be one of the leading cause of death around the world, advancement of technology, easy access of information, shifting consumer trends and hectic lifestyle have motivated the scientists to persistently invent healthier solutions for heart health and wellness.”

Furthermore, down the road, changes in consumer preferences will help propel condition-specific products (such as those for heart health) forward.

“Back in the day, most of the consumers used to buy supplements containing a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals, i.e. ‘multivitamins,’” he noted. “Now, the consumer preferences have changed to optimize the health by making up with only the deficient nutrients. So, the demand for personalized nutrition will continue to drive condition-specific supplements containing vitamin D, E, Co-Q10, omega-3 and so on.” NIE

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


1 Geleijnse JM, et al. “Dietary intake of menaquinone is associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease: the Rotterdam Study.” J Nutr. 2004;134:3100-5.

2 Beulens JW, et al. “High dietary menaquinone intake is associated with reduced coronary calcification.” Atherosclerosis. 2009;203:489-93.

3 Gast GC, et al. “A high menaquinone intake reduces the incidence of coronary heart disease.” Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2009;19:504-10.

For More Information:
Aker BioMarine, www.akerbiomarine.com
Balchem/Albion Minerals, www.balchem.com, www.albionminerals.com
DSM, www.dsm.com
ExcelVite Sdn. Bhd., www.excelvite.com
Lycored, www.lycored.com
NattoPharma USA, Inc., www.menaq7.com
NutraGenesis LLC, www.nutragenesis.com
OmniActive Health Technologies, www.omniactives.com
Prinova Solutions, www.prinovausa.com
Wacker Chemie AG, www.wacker.com

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