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Helpful Ingredients Offer New Hope to Pain & Inflammation Sufferers

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Pain & Inflammation Pain & Inflammation

Current trends and innovative ingredients to combat pain and inflammation continue to grow in 2021.

“Oh, my aching back!” This sentiment, and others like it, has never been more of a reality than it is today. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), millions of people in the United States are afflicted with chronic pain and arthritis. It’s estimated that one in four adults suffer—roughly 15 million—from severe joint pain and nearly half of all adults with arthritis deal with persistent pain.

Pain and inflammation in the body can have different causes and require slightly different treatment. There are two main types of inflammation that individuals deal with: acute or chronic. According to an article, “Chronic Inflammation,” published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), inflammation is a defense mechanism of the body. “It is the process by which the immune system recognizes and removes harmful and foreign stimuli and begins the healing process,” stated the article.

Acute inflammation can come on quickly. An example is a cellulitis or pneumonia which begins rapidly but typically subsides in a few days. On the other hand, chronic inflammation is slow starting but longer-lasting—sometimes it’s an issue for several months or in some cases years.

According to information in “Anti Inflammatory Drugs Market – Growth, Trends and Forecast (2020-2025)” by Research and Markets, the following trends in pain and inflammation treatment are prevalent in the U.S. “North America is the largest market in the Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Market due to the factors such as established health care sector with a large number of renowned players, high investment & demand for more effective and safer drugs, etc.” The report goes on to point out that increased patient visits to physicians and research advancements are driving this growth. Following closely on the heels of the U.S. is the Asia Pacific, which the report noted, “is expected to emerge as the fastest market, driven by a vast patient pool, increasing disposable incomes, growth in health care spending and rising awareness about health.”

This growth isn’t a surprise to physicians across the country, who see large numbers of patients per week due to pain and inflammation issues. In fact, this is one of the most common reasons that adults seek medical care, according to “Prevalence of Chronic Pain and High-Impact Chronic Pain Among Adults—United States, 2016,” by the CDC. Whether because of “… restrictions in mobility and daily activities, dependence on opioids, anxiety and depression, and poor perceived health or reduced quality of life,” the article notes that between 11 to 40 percent of American adults are dealing with pain and inflammation issues.

Despite the causes—whether conditions are acute or chronic—there are beneficial products to support a potential reduction in both.

Pain and Inflammation: What Trends are Helping Now?

There are a variety of ways in which pain and inflammation can be treated today. Individuals might seek out relief through a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit, which issues small electrical currents to the skin surrounding an area of pain. Deep tissue massage, spinal cord stimulation (SCS), which acts similarly to a pacemaker but is intended for pain management, supplements and other alternative therapies are also popular.

Other more traditional forms of treatment for pain and inflammation include both over-the-counter and prescription medications, creams and ointments to alleviate pain, physical therapy and in some cases, surgery. In the area of supplements, exciting research and results are being studied regularly. Key ingredients are prevalent in new pain and inflammation products, leading to further study and experimentation.

Amanda Ollenburger, senior director of marketing and international sales at Biova with headquarters in Iowa, stated that she expects to see continued growth in the market of products designed for pain and inflammation relief. One particular area she’s excited to see is that of delivery methods. “Non-traditional delivery formats are the leaders in those products situated toward sports nutrition and recovery,” said Ollenburger, with things like drink mixes, gels and tinctures. “The joint health category is still largely dominated by traditional capsules and tablets due to the inflexible formulation options of some of the more traditional ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin,” noted Ollenburger.

Vice President of Marketing at PLT Health Solutions in New Jersey, Steve Fink, agreed with Ollenburger’s assessment of these well-known ingredients. “If we look at the most commonly used natural solutions for mobility support—glucosamine and chondroitin—two things stand out. They require relatively large doses and require a long time to show efficacy. Sixty days is a long time and six months is an eternity when you compare it to an over-the-counter alternative like Advil.” On the other hand, Fink noted, “Ingredients like boswellia extracts have efficacy in as fast as five days and with doses as low as 100 mg.”

Brian Keenan, ND at Ayush Herbs Inc., in Washington, explained that many of the trends in pain and inflammation right now focus on dietary changes as much as supplementation. “For instance, the ketogenic diet, originally designed to support those with epilepsy, was reborn into a weight loss diet. We are now seeing it be touted for being anti-inflammatory as well; however, research does not substantiate that claim,” said Keenan.

Other trends he’s noticed include increased interest in joint health and comfort, the use of CBD, and the endocannabinoid system. “What we have found is that there are several other herbs that work with the endocannabinoid system along with other known pain-relieving mechanisms,” Keenan noted. “For instance, black pepper, long pepper and red pepper all decrease substance P—a local pain signaling molecule—to promote comfort but have also been found to bind to endocannabinoid receptor sites. Similarly, boswellia, an herb used very often for rheumatic support, also binds to these receptors and at the same time decreases inflammation through the cyclooxygenase pathway, which has been well studied.”

What Key Ingredients are Prevalent in Pain and Inflammation Products Today?

Dr. Benny Antony, joint managing director at Arjuna Natural in India, stated that certain ingredients continue to dominate the marketplace because of the effectiveness. “One of the most popular ingredients have been turmeric extract and Boswellia serratta extract. In this Arjuna Natural’s BCM-95 (Curcugreen) and BOSPURE (AKBAMAX) have dominated the quality segment,” Dr. Antony noted. “The generic segment and the ‘me too’ segment have followed with similar alternatives.” This is a continuing trend, he noted, and he expects to see more growth in the marketplace.

“BCM-95 and BOSPURE share a long history of successful use,” explained Antony. “BCM-95, the world’s most researched bioavailable turmeric extract and has been proven in multiple independent studies across the world. The biggest proof has been its use in over 300 formulations in over 60 countries. BOSPURE, likewise has been clinically proven with a long history of effective usage powering the leading products across the world.”

He explained that in the case of RHULEAVE-K a study conducted against a popular over-the-counter drug showed the same recovery rates. “What is more, RHULEAVE-K has undergone safety studies to prove its safety even in very high dosage—both acute and chronic [conditions],” stated Antony.

At Bergstrom Nutrition in Washington, vice-president of sales and marketing, Tim Hammond, noted that the company’s branded form of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) helps to deter accumulations of oxidative damage. “MSM’s ability to reduce oxidative stress, down-regulate the expression of inflammatory markers, and mitigate inflammation caused by exercise, supports its inclusion in overall wellness, healthy aging and joint health applications,” he noted.

Ollenburger pointed out that “Fish oil, curcumin and resveratrol have been well-known anti-inflammatory ingredients and very popular in the market,” she stated. “BiovaFlex eggshell membrane has been shown in clinical studies to decrease joint discomfort while going about daily activities and providing a reduction in back discomfort within five days.”

Ollenburger pointed to an article, “Support of Joint Function, Range of Motion and Physical Activity Levels by Consumption of a Water-Soluble Egg Membrane Hydrolyzate,” published by the Journal of Medicinal Foods in 2015 to support this claim. Likewise, noted Ollenburger, “The water-soluble nature of BiovaFlex also offers the formulation flexibility that sports nutrition and recovery products desire.”

PEA was first identified in the 1950s as a therapeutic principle with potent anti-inflammatory properties, said Maggie McNamara, marketing director at Gencor in California. “Since 1975, its analgesic properties have been noted and explored in a variety of chronic pain states,” she noted. “Gencor’s branded PEA is Levagen.”

Levagen is fast-acting, stated McNamara, in many cases starting to work within 15 minutes of being administered, and its half-life is eight hours in the body. “However, PEA’s effects are even longer lasting than that as it prevents the output of inflammatory cytokines and interleukins into your system,” McNamara explained. Because of this, the effects last longer because as it’s acting on the cause and not the symptoms, she noted.

At PLT Health Solutions, AprèsFlex Joint Health Support is a flagship of the company’s “AKBA-Franchise,” said Fink, which also includes 5-LOXIN and Dynagenix. AKBA stands for 3-O-acetyl-11-keto-β-boswellic acid. This, he said, is the key active compound in PLT’s proprietary Boswellia serrata extracts. “These three ingredients have been developed to give consumer health product formulators targeting options in delivering relief of joint discomfort along with increased flexibility and mobility,” Fink explained.

“Taken together, the PLT AKBA franchise are the main ingredients in some of the world’s top-selling joint health formulations for the last decade.” This includes the No. 1 selling Osteo Bi-Flex line in the United States, Fink stated. “More than 1.5 billion doses of these ingredients have been sold and consumed around the world.”

Studies that Support the Effectiveness of Pain and Inflammation Product Ingredients

Ollenburger mentioned an article, “Natural anti-inflammatory agents for pain relief,” by Joseph C. Maroon et al. Published in Surgical Neurology International in 2010, it points to the effectiveness and relative safety of omega-3s, white willow bark, curcumin and resveratrol among other more natural anti-inflammatories. “For centuries, natural anti-inflammatory compounds have been used to mediate the inflammatory process and often with fewer side effects,” the article noted.

Three randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human clinical trials have been conducted with AprèsFlex, Fink said. One example of these trials was the “Comparative Efficacy and Tolerability of 5-Loxin and Aflapin Against Osteoarthritis of the Knee: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Study,” published by the Internal Journal of Medical Sciences in 2010.

Lien Wang et al. published an article titled, “The Antinociceptive Properties of the Corydalis yanhusuo Extract” in the peer-reviewed journal, PLoS One. The article’s findings are significant, stated Brien Quirk, director of research and development at Draco Natural Products in California. He points out the positive attributes of the Chinese herb, yanhusuoa, which has been used to treat pain for centuries. Unlike some over-the-counter and prescription medicines, this plant does not cause dependence over time.

“We sell an herb extract known as corydalis,” stated Quirk. “Corydalis is widely used in Chinese herbal medicine and known as yanhusuo. There are few supplements that can actually block pain outside of the typical anti-inflammation pathway.” According to the study, the herb can reduce chronic neuropathic pain. This is encouraging news, particularly since this type of pain is difficult to treat in many who suffer pain and inflammation.

Said McNamara, “In 2018, the population of people aged 60 years and above was around 991 million. This population is projected to reach 1.18 billion by 2024. With the prevalence of chronic pain being significantly higher in older adults, the demand for pain management drugs is escalating across the globe.” She sees cannabis and CBD-infused products as one potential solution. “There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that cannabinoids are beneficial for a range of clinical conditions, including pain, inflammation, epilepsy, sleep disorders, the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, anorexia, schizophrenia and other conditions.” She pointed to a study, “Cannabinoid Delivery Systems for Pain and Inflammation Treatment,” published in Molecules in 2018 supporting this stance.

Do Ingredient Suppliers Anticipate Continued Growth in This Area?

Keenan believes that an upward trajectory in pain and inflammation support products will continue. “There is continued growth of all herbal supplements across the board both in the USA and abroad. Specifically, herbs used for inflammation support have continued to increase yearly,” said Keenan. “Because herbal products tend to support multiple aspects of health, their efficacy and body of research continue to grow in support of their use.”

He shared these statistics: “The herbal trade group the American Botanical Council released an article stating that herbal supplements increased by 8.6 percent from 2018 to 2019 with a total of 9.602 billion dollars exchanged in the U.S. alone.” Keenan, like others, expects this trend to continue.

Fink concurred. “Joint health is a fast-growing market because in the USA and around the world, we are facing an aging population, where joint discomfort becomes a fact of life. At the same time, seniors—until recently—have been more active than ever before. Freedom from discomfort, with enhanced mobility, is a must-have for today’s aging population,” said Fink.

Quirk noted, “Consumers are increasingly steering away from over-the-counter and prescription drugs for more natural-based approaches.” These, he stated, “Are safer and are being proven to have almost equal efficacy with fewer side effects in most cases and based on human clinical trials.”

“The category has always been a growth category. With the rise in stress, changing hectic lifestyles, the need for safe, effective pain management solutions is more needed than ever,” Antony explained. “The pain management solutions market has been growing historically at a CAGR of 7.6 percent, and it has predominantly been an acute pain market dominated by over-the-counter NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).”

This has been largely due to the lack of safe alternates, noted Antony, and the concerns on long term use which limits the market growth. “We believe that with the advent of effective and safe natural pain management for acute pain, we can see an increased growth in both the market itself and the share of the market of natural products in the acute pain management space.”

Baby Boomers are living longer and more active lives today than ever before. Likewise, more of the general population is looking for non-traditional ways to promote overall wellbeing and decrease inflammation in the body. Therefore, it’s likely that pain and inflammation reduction products will continue to experience growth in 2021 and beyond. NIE

For More Information:

Arjuna Natural, www.arjunanatural.com
Ayush Herbs Inc., www.ayush.com
Bergstrom Nutrition, https://bergstromnutrition.com/
Biova, www.biova.com
Draco Natural Products, www.draconatural.com
Gencor, www.gencorpacific.com
PLT Health Solutions, www.plthealth.com

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