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Heart Market Beats Strong

Albion Minerals®

Heart disease is the leading cause of death of both men and women in the United States. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), someone dies from heart and blood vessel diseases every 36 seconds, and coronary heart disease claims the lives of 452,000 individuals each year. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that by 2030, nearly 23. 6 million people will die from a cardiovascular disorder.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. spent $316.4 billion on heart disease in 2010. This includes the cost of health care services as well as the cost of medication. As American consumers have begun to accept that living a healthier lifestyle filled with fresh food and exercise can have positive effects on their overall health, they are also embracing the notion of preventative care. As the cost of health care continues to rise, consumers are acknowledging the benefits of adding supplements to their diets.

A Healthy Market

SPINS reported that between October 2009 and October 2010, shoppers purchased $227 million worth of supplements targeting hypertension, atherosclerosis and high cholesterol. Baseline ingredients include those that have the potential to promote healthy cholesterol, support healthy blood pressure, foster healthy arteries and encourage the proper functioning of the heart muscle itself.

The heart health category is continuing to expand with no signs of stopping. As Baby Boomers now represent approximately 22 percent of the U.S. population, it seems that the demand for heart health supplements will only increase. “However, this is not to say that heart health supplements are only welcomed by the older group of people,” said W.H. Leong, vice president of Carotech Inc. (Edison, NJ). “WHO reported that every year around the world, ‘a substantial proportion (46 percent) of the 17.1 million deaths due to cardiovascular diseases were of people under 70 years of age, in the more productive period of life.’ This creates a potential for heart health supplements to be used among the younger generation as a preventative measure.” 

As studies continue to shed light on The various benefits dietary supplements have on heart health, many health practitioners are now recommending that their patients add them to their diets. In fact, according to a poll conducted by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), 59 percent of physicians and health care professionals prescribed heart health supplements to their patients. 

According to Jay Levy, director of sales for Wakunaga of America (Mission Viejo, CA), both health care providers and patients typically look for nutrients that:

• Promote healthy cholesterol by blocking HMG-CoA reductase, preventing LDL oxidation, increasing HDL levels or a combination of these mechanisms.

• Promote healthy blood pressure by inhibiting angiotensin converting enzyme, opening the blood vessels, decreasing the viscosity of the blood and increasing urine production (which reduces blood volume).

• Promote vascular health by dilating and relaxing blood vessels while discouraging endothelial damage and plaque buildup.

• Promote heart muscle function by providing energy to heart cells, improving muscle weakness and exercise capacity, and supporting normal cardiac rhythm.

As the consumer demand for supplements focused on heart health continues to develop, the industry is rising to the challenge. Market research released by Windrose Partners reported that new product launches in the heart health category were estimated to have tripled in the last five years and are currently 1. 5 percent of all new launches.

According to the report, heart health ingredients showed an impressive revenue growth in the wholesale market, reaching $563 million in 2008, and were predicted to exceed $1 billion by 2012, marking a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20 percent. “As con-Sumers are becoming more health conscious, the market for supplements that complement a healthy lifestyle is on the rise,” said Dr. Dan Edwall, research and development manager for NattoPharma ASA (Lysaker, Norway).

The Power of Omega-3s

With new products continuing to launch, consumers are zoning in on certain ingredients of which they recognize and understand the benefits. Omega-3s have been embraced by many consumers as a staple in the heart health category. According to ConsumberLab.com’s 2010 survey, among people who use dietary supplements, fish oils and omega-3s continue to rise in popularity and are used by 75. 7 percent of those surveyed, up from 75 percent in 2009. The survey also noted that fish oil and omega-3 supplements rank higher in popularity than multivitamins. As more studies are published on the growing list of benefits that both fish- and plant-sourced omega-3s have on cardiovascular health, bone and joint health, among others, manufacturers, retailers and consumers are all responding.

To meet the demand, DSM Nutritional Products (Columbia, MD) launched its vegetarian and sustainable life’sDHA plus EPA™ algal oil for use in foods, beverages and supplements last year, noted Andrea Martin, the company’s manager of public relations. “We recognized that consumers wanted a vegetarian fish oil alternative to help support heart health,” explained Martin, adding that life’sDHA can be found in more than 500 food, beverage and supplement products worldwide.

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition November 2011 issue entitled “A Meta-Analysis Shows That Docosahexaenoic Acid from Algal Oil Reduces Serum Triglycerides and Increases HDL-Cholesterol and LDLCholesterol in Persons without Coronary Heart Disease,” examined the effect of algal DHA compared to fish oil on triglycerides, HDL and LDL. The results of a meta-analysis describe similar effects of algal DHA to that of fish oil in terms of the outcomes measured (triglycerides, HDL-C and LDL-C); however, the effect was achieved with a lower amount of algal oil. The study’s authors explained that the increase in LDL in the algal studies is not associated with an increase in cardiovascular risk (namely due to the bigger, more buoyant particles).

Similar to omgea-3s, resveratrol is also growing in popularity for use in everything from heart health to beauty supplements. In 2008, DSM Nutritional Products launched resVida™, a 99 percent pure form of trans-resveratrol, an antioxidant polyphenol found in red wine that helps support cardiovascular health and overall healthy aging.

Dependable Ingredients

While media outlets can skew a consumer’s view of a product or ingredient, the ingredients with strong research to support claims are the ones consumers deem trustworthy. “Consumer acceptance is based on trust (based on good scientific background) and user benefit (if a product can be perceived As effective and working),” said Edwall. “Obviously marketing and consumer awareness are prerequisites.”

Wakunaga of America’s most successful heart ingredient, Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract™ (AGE), has been featured in more than 650 published scientific studies, many of them focusing on heart health. According to Levy, focusing on ingredients that have scientific support helps builds credibility through efficacy substantiation.

Some of Wakunaga’s successful products that incorporate AGE include Kyolic 109, which was developed to support healthy blood pressure levels and overall heart health through multiple pathways, as well as Kyolic CoQ10 capsules. A combination of Kyolic AGE and CoQ10, the formula was used in a recent UCLA clinical study with firefighters and was shown to significantly reduce atherosclerosis, bad cholesterol and homocysteine, while improving good cholesterol.

“Specific heart healthy ingredients with strong scientific credibility (through preclinical and clinical research) include not only AGE, but also alpha lipoic acid, CoQ10, folic acid, hawthorn, L-carnitine, lecithin, nattokinase, omega-3 fatty acids, phytosterols, and vitamins B6 and B12,” added Levy.

Total Care

Although consumers are taking responsibility and are trying to live healthier lives, they also look for convenience. While they are exercising more, adjusting their eating habits and taking dietary supplements, many Would prefer supplements that target more than one issue.

“Formulating products with multiple ingredients helps to create a more synergistic approach to supporting total heart health,” said Levy. “For example, heart disease goes beyond just cholesterol. Multiple risk factors are now well established for progressing heart disease. Products that contain ingredients which can reduce multiple risk factors associated with heart disease provide a more convenient and cost effective way to support overall heart health.”

Pycnogenol®, a French maritime pine bark extract from Horphag Research (USA) Inc. (Hoboken, NJ), is an antioxidant as well as an anti-inflammatory that provides many benefits to the body including the heart, skin, joints and circulation. According to the company, in the past 12 months, six new clinical trials were completed and published, all of them showing the contributions of Pycnogenol for better blood flow.

“A study recently published in Panminerva Medica describes that Pycnogenol prevents recurring thrombosis in patients who previously suffered a deep vein thrombosis,” said Dr. Frank Schonlau, scientific director of Horphag Research. “Such patients typically live at elevated risk for suffering further thrombotic incidents, yet Pycnogenol prevented them from developing another blood clot clogging their leg veins.” 

Education is Key

As new heart health supplements continue to be introduced to consumers, NattoPharma’s Edwall advised manufacturers to educate the public on how the ingredients come together to perform a specific function; as consumers are now educating themselves about heart health, many are looking for specific ingredients and want to know exactly what makes one product different from another. “Product manufacturers need to focus on how a product can help with its ingredients, not what a product can do,” he said. “Letting consumers know about the current and future trends of heart health, and how a product can address coming issues to outlast common health problems is more important than selling.” 

MenaQ7®, vitamin K2 from NattoPharma, aims at not only targeting heart health by preventing arterial calcification, but it also supports optimal bone health by redirecting calcium. This supplements bone health by directing the calcium to the bone and out of the arteries where it can have detrimental negative effects. 

In addition to educating consumers about ingredients, Carotech’s Leong stressed the importance of bioavailability. “The two main specific checkpoints are science and also absorption. The latter is equally important to ensure that the active ingredient is absorbed to be effective,” he said. “What is most important is to ensure the optimum and maximum absorption of each individual tocotrienols into the body. 

And as such, bioavailability is of utmost importance to ensure the organs and cells can accumulate tocotrienols. This is far more important compared to an individual tocotrienol or an oil extract that may not be absorbed or have poor absorption, as in the case of any tocotrienol or vitamin E for that matter.”

Carotech offers Tocomin SupraBio®, a patented bioenhanced self-emulsifying formulation containing natural full spectrum tocotrienols concentrated from vir Virgin crude palm oil. According to the company, the advanced formulation ensures an increase in oral tocotrienol absorption (each and individual tocotrienols) of up to 300 percent. Carotech has collaborated with Researchers to investigate the various cardioprotective mechanisms of Tocomin SupraBio in addition to its ability to improve lipid profiles (cholesterol reduction), reversal of arterial blockage and increased blood blow through the carotid artery of carotid stenosis patients and improving arterial compliance.

As more information and research reveals the benefits of adding supplements to their daily routines, consumers will continue to seek out the best products that will help them live healthier. “Consumers are proactively seeking supplements that not only promote overall heart health, but also to combat specific heart conditions,” said Levy. “When compared to prescription drugs, doctors’ visits and hospital charges, consumers are discovering that dietary supplements are an extremely cost-effective way to sustain and promote heart health. In many cases, the choice to use nutritional supplements is not only driven by cost factors, credibility and safety of ingredients, but because physicians and health care professionals have recommended them.”