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Living-Well Ingredients: The Healthy Aging Nutraceuticals Market Today

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K2VITAL®
Healthy Aging Healthy Aging

The panel:

Denis Alimonti, Director of U.S. Nutrition, Maypro, Purchase, NY, www.maypro.com

Dr. Benny Antony, Co-founder and Joint Managing Director, Arjuna Natural Private Limited, Kerala, India & Irving, TX, https://arjunanatural.com

Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, RH(AHG), Vice President of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, NutraScience Labs (Twinlab Consolidated Holdings), Farmingdale, NY, www.nutrasciencelabs.com

Michael Chernyak, President, CK Ingredients, Oakville, ON, Canada and Glendale, New York, https://ckingredients.com

Jenny Lacerda Chisholm, Global Business Development Manager, RIBUS, St. Louis, MO, www.ribus.com

Katie Emerson, Manager, Scientific Affairs, Nutrition21, Saddle Brook, NJ, https://nutrition21.com

Dr. Shavon Jackson-Michel, Director of Medical & Scientific Affairs, Dolcas Biotech, Landing, NJ, https://dolcas-biotech.com

Angie Rimel, Marketing Communications Manager, North American, GELITA, Sioux City, IA, www.gelita.com

Maria Stanieich, Marketing Manager, Kyowa Hakko USA, New York, NY, www.kyowa-usa.com

Lindsey Toth, Director of Global Marketing, Lonza Capsules and Health Ingredients, Basel Switzerland, www.lonza.com

Mark Walin, Senior Vice President, Business Development and Marketing, BIO-CAT, Troy, VA, www.bio-cat.com

Kristin Wilhoyte, Global Director of Product Marketing, Deerland Probiotics and Enzymes, Kennesaw, GA, https://deerland.com

There are estimates that the market for healthy aging ingredients and formulations will reach approximately $70 billion in sales by 2026. Regardless of whether this is accurate, interest in—and sales of—aging-well ingredients and products are through the roof. Here to help us sort it out is a distinguished panel of dietary supplement industry experts.

NIE: Aging gracefully and well is about more than just less wrinkles and being able to run a 5K; how do you define aging well in the context of nutrition and lifestyle?

Bruno: While there are different ways to answer this question, I’d personally define it as the ability to remain healthy and retain elements of youthfulness while aging—perhaps even to age more slowly. Of course that’s a pretty general definition, so to give more specific elements, I’m going to highlight the results of a survey by HealthFocus which indicates that the top two health concerns of aging adults are “Continuing with normal activities as I age” and “Retaining mental sharpness as I age.” So, whether considering my general definition or these more specific elements, either requires a healthy diet, regular exercise and the thoughtful use of evidence-based dietary supplements.

Stanieich: Graceful aging is a perfect way to encapsulate the concept of longevity and quality of life. We have seen the conversation in this market evolve from “anti” aging messaging to brands and products that embrace the aging process, and help consumers continue to live fully and enjoy their hobbies.

Emerson: Aging well these days is very much in the eyes of the beholder. Everyone has a different definition of what it means to age well—some relate this to their appearance, while others consider how they are feeling as they age and are cognizant of their physical well-being. Either way, they are searching for products that will help them achieve those ends.

Rimel: Today’s consumers are more informed than ever about the importance of exercise, proper nutrition and supplementation. As these consumers increase their focus on active lifestyles, they are also realizing both increasing age and overuse make tendons, ligaments and joints more injury prone and put bones at increased risk of stress fractures. So, it is no surprise that white connective tissue injuries today account for more than 70 percent of the time away from exercise regimens, with personal, financial and emotional consequences to the active person.

Toth: This decade has been labeled the “Decade of Healthy Aging” by the United Nations—and for good reason. Worldwide, people are living longer and as a result, consumers are increasingly looking for ways to stay healthy as they age. Today, aging well is about more than skin health and staying fit—it is driven by older consumers wanting to do what they love for longer, whether that is going for a walk or simply playing with their grandchildren. And they’re turning to nutraceutical products, like supplements, to support their individual healthy aging goals.

Today, this sentiment rings true for more than just seniors; people of all ages are taking proactive measures to ensure they age well. In fact, research shows that Millennials are stepping up their purchasing power and have doubled their monthly supplement spending since 2010. For supplement brands and producers, there is a huge opportunity to innovate on-trend and efficacious healthy aging solutions to suit consumers across a multitude of ages and demographics.

Jackson-Michel: Healthy aging, or graceful aging is resisting in thought and action anything more than what physiology dictates is normal in the process of getting older. With the advances in natural and preventive medicine, I believe even the boundaries defining “normal” aging can be challenged.

Walin: An increasing number of senior consumers are resisting the acceptance of aging with the realization that age can be just a number (think 70 is the new 50). This segment of consumers is more active than generations past, and these consumers are spending significant resources and time to enjoy activities previously enjoyed only by younger generations.

Optimizing health and vitality later into adulthood requires lifestyle changes, such as modifying diet and exercise. Today’s adult consumer is focused on solutions that will help them maintain mobility, strength and independence. These three elements are highly correlated with quality of life, and are supported by adequate nutrition, including increased protein bioavailability.

Antony: The protective mechanism of supplement actives and compounds in improving intestinal microbial balance, reducing blood cholesterol and increasing defense systems against oxidative damage in living cells—as well as their role in normal cellular structure and function regulated by enzymes, transporters, sensors and metal-binding molecules, etc.—could be the reason for the growing popularity of anti-aging formulas.

Alimonti: The idea of aging well is subjective and comes down to how the individual consumer defines it. I would say it is based on both lifestyle goals and personal values. For example, a lifelong runner may prioritize the ability to continue running into their later years and in that case, they will want nutritional support for mobility, strength and endurance. Nevertheless, aging-well nutrition encompasses so much more than that and involves boosting brain health, addressing immunosenescence, enhancing beauty-from-within, supporting energy and metabolism, helping with stress and sleep, aiding cardiovascular health and more.

NIE: The World Health Organization says “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Please comment.

Alimonti: Agreed—true health is not merely living or surviving. It is about thriving. Market data shows that consumers are more aware of that than ever—as evidenced by the growth of the mood, stress, sleep and cognitive health categories.

Wilhoyte: Today’s consumers are increasingly looking at their health and well-being holistically, rather than focusing on one or two areas of wellness. This change toward balanced wellness bodes well for the healthy aging arena, as consumers consider how each aspect of their diets, daily routines, lifestyles and habits play a part in aging well. On top of that, consumers are progressively taking a proactive approach to addressing their unique wellness goals, with many seeking solutions today that can benefit them in the future.

This proactive personalization trend continues to grow, with 63 percent of consumers saying they are interested in products that are customized to meet their individual needs. With that, shoppers want tailored solutions that can address multiple aspects of their well-being, from physical to emotional. Supplements and functional offerings that can go beyond the surface level to address well-being both on the inside and out will better meet consumers’ shifting definitions of health and wellness and what it means to age well.

Rimel: Healthy aging is relevant to all consumers—independent of age. For instance, as teenagers become more aware of their own physiology, they often turn to sports and higher levels of physical activity. As we start to show the first signs of aging, between 35-40 years old, aches and pains creep in and wrinkles begin to appear. At this point we become more health aware and self-conscious as we juggle the many lifestyle issues of healthy nutrition, physical activity and finding balance. The world will soon have more elderly people than children, and more people living into older ages than ever before; fortunately, seniors are more devoted to staying healthy, active, mobile and independent.

Stanieich: I couldn’t agree more. If your cognition and memory, for instance, are not performing optimally, you are likely not living life to the fullest. Consumers who prioritize their physical, mental and social well-being are the consumers who tend to live the healthiest lives overall.

Bruno: When I started in the natural products industry in 1979, I remember reading that health is not just the absence of disease. At that time I agreed with this position, and I certainly still do to this day. I’m also pleased to see that even the standard definition of health has evolved. According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of health includes “the condition of being sound in body, mind or spirit,” and “a condition in which someone or something is thriving or doing well.”

NIE: What is the state of the market today for anti-aging ingredients and formulations?

Toth: The increasingly diverse consumer base has bolstered innovation in the healthy aging space. Combination or hybrid products are emerging as a popular choice for today’s health-savvy consumers who are looking for multiple ingredients or benefits in a single product. These solutions can be customized to offer a range of health and wellness benefits, such as mood and sleep support, joint health, immune support and cognition, to help consumers support overall health and wellbeing as they age.

Bruno: America is getting older, with the middle-aged currently outnumbering the children; in 2034 people over 65 years will outnumber children. This paves the groundwork for a strong anti-aging market. In fact, according to Market Insights Reports, the Anti-Aging Supplements Market was estimated at $52.5 billion in 2022, and is projected to reach $83.2 billion by 2027, with a CAGR of 6.8 percent during the forecast period 2020 to 2027. So I’d say the state of the market today for anti-aging ingredients and formulations is very strong.

Antony: Natural anti-aging active ingredients are gradually gaining momentum due to the increasing demand for nutritious foods and lifestyle choices that support beauty from within. The anti-aging market is propelled not only by the aging population but also by the younger population—which is starting in mid-age to care about delaying the appearance of aging relating to skin, body and hair. There’s increasing interest in anti-aging ingredients such as curcumin, ashwagandha, boswellia, Indian gooseberry and more.

Chernyak: There is little doubt that the market for anti-aging products has great potential—likely as much as any other “category” of health. The issue today is that the term “anti-aging” is not particularly well-defined—there does not seem to be a consensus view on what it really means. Perhaps it’s because it means different things to different people, there is no “standardization” of the term. The bottom line is that the market is ripe for innovation and opportunity; it’s a matter of how to engage the consumer in a compelling and meaningful way. I see many branches to this category—myriad [sub-segments] each with clearly-defined positioning statements in terms of consumer health benefits and indications.

Rimel: Consumers are very interested in collagen. In fact, globally, the true versatility of collagen is now accepted alongside its traditionally recognized role in beauty-from-within products, such as those that support the health of skin, hair and fingernails. We are seeing greater demand for the whole range of benefits that specific collagen peptides offer. Collagen is now a go-to ingredient in sports nutrition, bone and joint health.

In the USA, GELITA expects collagen to continue its upward growth with double-digit growth (10-15 percent) year-on-year for the foreseeable future. According to Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ), growth was strong at 14.6 percent in 2021, with the market reaching $222 million.

Overall, the positive momentum of collagen will maintain. Consumers continue to seek and purchase collagen products and brand owners continue to express interest in creating new formulations with collagen for a range of benefits.

Alimonti: Based on our 2022 sales and what we saw trending at Expo West, the NBJ Summit and SupplySide West, it’s booming—no pun intended. Formulators are heavily focused on new research-supported ingredients, but there is still strong demand for more traditional functional ingredients.

Stanieich: The aging population is looking for products that support the longevity of their mental and physical health. Within the cognitive health category, this translates to opportunities to optimize their memory and mental acuity throughout life, such as our Cognizin citicoline ingredient. NIE: Is cellular health becoming a critical focus of the aging well category?

Chernyak: It is—we’re hearing more about this topic from our clientele (dietary supplement formulators and brand marketers). The idea is that cellular health is “ground-zero”—where it all begins. However, I believe the science needs to catch up—preliminary research is promising, but more of it is needed, especially in the bioactive raw materials realm. It seems to me that sales are getting ahead of science in this area; science has some catching up to do, from my perspective.

Alimonti: Yes, it is. Cellular senescence is linked to a variety of age-related conditions such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, dementia and osteoarthritis. It is also related to declines in eyesight, mobility and cognition. Consumers are looking for preventative care and manufacturers are answering that call. Fortunately, there are a few science-backed anti-aging ingredients that support cellular and metabolic health, including Sirtmax, a powerful extract derived from the rhizome of Kaempferia parviflora known as black turmeric.

Jackson-Michel: With the recent onslaught of private interest and financial backing of start-up biotech companies, such as Jeff Bezos in Altos labs, pursuing biological reprogramming technologies to reverse aging at the cellular level will become more of a critical focus than ever before. While the extreme innovations under development on the pharmaceutical side are thought to be decades away, answers from nature in the form of botanicals, such as turmeric, may be more valuable players in anti-aging than ever before.

One of the hallmarks of aging is oxidative stress, but not in the way it was previously theorized. While the destructive, pro-oxidative environment that free radicals create within the cell is linked to aging, it is now widely accepted that it does not cause aging in silos. It is in fact aged cells that are maladapted in their homeostatic response to these inescapable insults.

This newer, more comprehensive theory is called Defective Adaptive Homeostasis. Youthful cells can adjust more fluidly to free radical exposure, showing more resilience whereas aged cells do not.

Aged cells accumulate damaged proteins, DNA, lipids, etc. causing diminished function and many age-related diseases, including neurodegenerative ones. Aged cells are also less able to efficiently neutralize oxidative stressors with the endogenous antioxidant system – NrF2. NrF2 does not do well to be overexpressed, according to a 2017 Clinical Science publication by Lomeli et al, as it can be cancer-promoting.

By contrast, nature offers a more adaptogenic approach. Curcugen, a safety-vetted turmeric extract, is naturally formulated to be more bioavailable and application-versatile, as it provides curcuminoids that are proven modulators of NrF2 and other senescent processes that add the “grace” to aging gracefully.

Stanieich: Cellular health is certainly a critical focus in the cognitive health category. To function optimally, cell membranes need adequate levels of phospholipids. Phospholipids are a combination of lipids (fats) and the mineral phosphorus that line cell membranes and help determine what is allowed in and out of the cell.

Clinical research indicates that Cognizin citicoline supports the health of mitochondria, the powerhouses within cells that actually produce the brain’s energy. Healthy mitochondrial function results in higher levels of ATP—the body’s main energy storage molecule—in brain cells.

Bruno: While cellular health is often considered a subcategory of aging, the fact is that all tissues in our bodies are made from cells. So, by definition, cellular health should always be a critical focus of aging well. That being said, there are at least two areas that should be highlighted in the discussion of cellular health in the context of aging: antioxidants and NAD promoters. Since much as already been elucidated with regard to the role of antioxidants in health and aging, I’ll focus on NAD promoters—which has been growing in popularity, and which has been in the news lately since the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) has indicated that NMN (an NAD promoter) is not a dietary ingredient, and since a researchers has questioned the safety of nicotinamide riboside (another NAD promoter).

Mounting evidence has indicated that levels of NAD (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, an essential cofactor in all living cells) decline with age in multiple types of tissues. NAD depletion has been associated with hallmarks of aging and may underlie a wide range of age-related diseases, such as metabolic disorders, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. Emerging evidence implicates that elevation of NAD levels may slow or even reverse the aspects of aging and also delay the progression of age-related diseases. Consequently, anything that can be done to increase cellular NAD levels has the potential to be beneficial for promoting health aging. In addition to the aforementioned nutraceuticals, it should be noted that ordinary niacinamide has also been shown to be an effective NAD promoter in human clinical research.

NIE: What are the top one to two proprietary branded ingredients for aging well?

Walin: BIO-CAT’s ingredients are tied to the optimization of protein digestion, theoretically resulting in the maintenance of muscle mass, which contributes to strength and mobility.

BIO-CAT’s proprietary blend of enzymes in OPTIZIOME P3 HYDROLYZER helps digest dietary proteins under simulated in vitro gastrointestinal conditions and provides substantially more release of amino acids compared to other leading enzyme products. Additionally, P3 HYDROLYZER supplementation improved plant protein digestion in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of 24 healthy adults. The primary endpoint of the trial focused on plasma amino acid concentrations across a 5-hour window following consumption of a protein shake (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04821557). Promising results of the trial show that at the critical postprandial 45-minute and 60-minute timepoints, the total amino acids (TAA) concentrations were 36 percent and 33 percent higher, respectively, with OPTIZIOME.

Alimonti: Sirtmax is Maypro’s healthy aging powerhouse. We also have a lot of interest in AppleActiv DAPP, Juvecol, MicroActive CoQ10 and NeuroHD. While we’re pleased to see so much interest among formulators, it’s not particularly surprising. The global anti-aging market was $58.5 billion in 2020 and U.S. beauty-from-within dietary supplement sales were $1.5 billion in 2021. This is just one data set that shows consumers are demanding efficacious ingredients and are willing to pay for them.

Toth: Joint health solutions are gaining further traction as consumers both old and young look to prioritize their long-term mobility. For these people, collagen—specifically, Lonza’s UC-II undenatured type II collagen—offers a science-backed solution that supports their joint health needs.

Backed by decades of research including 11 human clinical studies, UC-II undenatured type II collagen’s unique mechanism of action triggers the body’s immune system to build new joint cartilage and can support consumers at every age, including young and healthy populations. In fact, our latest clinical research—a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study—investigated the effects of UC-II undenatured type II collagen on knee joint mobility and flexibility in healthy male and female subjects, ages 20 to 55.

In these recently published findings, UC-II undenatured type II collagen becomes the only joint health ingredient that is clinically proven to improve joint flexibility 15 times better than placebo; help active consumers of all ages hit their daily step count; and decrease joint discomfort by over 30 minutes following physical activity.

These results not only solidify the benefits of UC-II undenatured type II collagen, but also present new opportunities for brands to provide consumers of all ages with joint health supplements that are supported by cutting-edge science.

Bruno: For joint health, I like a cucumber fruit water extract called Q-Actin. A six-month, randomized, double-blind, parallel-group study in 122 OA (osteoarthritis) patients (aged: 40-75) compared 20 mg/day Q-Actin to 2,700 mg/day glucosamine/chondroitin. Joint pain decreased ~70 percent w/ Q-Actin, compared to ~34 percent with glucosamine-chondroitin. Likewise, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study with three groups (Q-Actin 20 mg, Q-Actin 100 mg, placebo) demonstrated the following pain score reduction: 20 mg-32 percent, 100 mg-39 percent, placebo-5 percent. I like the fact that such a low dose of this nutraceutical is effective; it makes it easy to formulate with.

Jackson-Michel: Morikol is a beauty-from-within active, sourced from fish and precisely formulated to deliver a 15 percent minimum concentration of directly absorbable tripeptide bioactives (~ 280 Da). These bioavailable collagen actives are delivered intact to the bloodstream and skin to activate fibroblasts, upregulate the production of hyaluronic acid and ceramides in damaged skin, leading to an increase collagen for a smoothing of wrinkles and better hydration to the skin. Morikol is backed by at least two clinical studies supporting skin health claims, is effective at only 1 gram per day, and is water soluble for convenient and varied formulation use.

Curcugen is a multifunctional turmeric rhizome extract, delivering bioavailable curcuminoids, synergistic essential oils, dispersion-driving resins and water-soluble polysaccharides. Unlike similar curcuminoid-concentrated extracts, Curucgen delivers a unique spectrum of native actives and ratios of innate curcuminoids that make the most out of the whole rhizome and its many synergistic interactions, as used traditionally. Namely, Curcugen’s food-native spectrum of curcuminoids avails more of the stable, soluble, bioactive BDMC than any naturally prepared extract in the market.

Curcugen is supported by numerous clinical studies on a variety of endpoints of aging including joint degeneration and cognitive decline. It’s versatility as a dispersible, mild-tasting extract also allows for its ease of use in many different formats.

Antony: BCM-95 (Curcugreen)—which is truly the most researched bioavailable turmeric extract—has been examined in 80-plus published studies across the world. BCM-95 is an important ingredient for improve cognitive health. Joint health is another major area that significantly impacts quality of life in healthy aging. BCM-95, along with AKBAMAX Boswellia extract, has been responsible for protecting the joint health of millions across the globe.

While exercising is widely recognized as a must for every age, there are unique challenges in aging due to exertion-caused musculoskeletal pain. Arjuna has introduced an innovative all-natural solution, Rhuleave-K, which was a finalist for the 2021 Fi Innovation Awards 2021 and that can provide fast pain relief within hours.

Arjuna has also introduced Tri-Low, an extract of Indian Gooseberry (amla) that supports heart health. Restful sleep support is also important in aging well. SHODEN, a unique ashwagandha ingredient standardized to 35 percent withanolide glycosides, has been proven to be highly beneficial for restorative sleep as well as managing stress.

Wilhoyte: We uniquely offer a solution that harnesses the power of spinach, Solarplast, and initial results from pre-clinical trials show that it may support factors relevant to healthy aging and overall well-being. Solarplast is extracted from organic spinach through an innovative and unique process that breaks down the cell wall of spinach while preserving the integrity of the plant’s protoplast. Moreover, Solarplast can be incorporated into multiple dietary supplement formats, including capsules, tablets and powder blends. While one consumer may find adding a capsule to their day most convenient, another may discover that adding Solarplast to a shake via a powder blend is best suited for them. Providing convenient offerings that can easily fit into consumers’ everyday lifestyles is crucial for continued adherence, ultimately helping support long-term wellness goals.

Stanieich: Cognizin is our branded form of Citicoline, a substance found in every cell of the body and one that is especially vital to brain health. It has several mechanisms of action that provide a path to multiple brain health benefits across the entire age spectrum, from focus to energy to memory and beyond. Unlike other cognitive health ingredients, Cognizin provides brain performance as well as more comprehensive brain health support over time; it’s available globally in more than 200 products.

Cognizin is among the most clinically validated nootropic ingredients, giving it a unique edge against other ingredients used in cognitive health products. Some of its science-backed claims include:

• Enhancing overall memory, especially episodic memory: A 2021 study showed that healthy adult men and women (ages 50–85) taking Cognizin at 500 mg/day experienced statistically significant increases in the score for episodic (recalling events) memory and overall memory.

• Improved focus for better productivity: A 2012 study on Cognizin’s effect on focus and attention in middle-aged women taking 250 mg showed improved attention and focus. Subjects also experienced fewer omission and commission errors compared to placebo.

• Potent nutrition for brain energy to fuel and keep it functioning at its best: A 2008 study demonstrated increases in brain activity among middle-aged adults who had taken 500 mg of Cognizin for six weeks. This same study also revealed an increased formation of brain membranes by 26 percent and restored brain energy by 13.6 percent.

Rimel: To support joint health and mobility, GELITA’s FORTIGEL is an innovative ingredient for the regeneration of joint cartilage. In most cases, the symptoms of the joint problems are tackled—not the cause. However, GELITA’s FORTIGEL takes on this problem in a completely different way. According to published research, when ingested orally FORTIGEL is absorbed in the intestines and accumulates in cartilage. It stimulates cartilage cells to increase cartilage tissue formation, with collagen and proteoglycans making up almost 90 percent of cartilage dry mass. By addressing the actual causes, FORTIGEL considerably improves joint mobility and produces a lasting quality of life. The effectiveness of FORTIGEL in joint-cartilage recovery has been scientifically proven by GELITA in several clinical and pre-clinical studies according to Good Clinical Practice standards.

Emerson: Nutrition21 unveiled its anti-aging ingredient, Lustriva, in 2021 on the heels of a clinical study. Lustriva is a complex that combines bonded arginine silicate with magnesium biotinate, a new combination that offers a superior form of silicon and a novel form of biotin, proven to promote healthier-looking skin and hair. Magnesium biotinate is a novel complex of magnesium ionically bound to biotin. The complex is unique in that it significantly increases biotin solubility 40 times greater than that of D-biotin, which is the form commonly found in beauty products.

NIE: Elizabeth Blackburn shared a Nobel Prize for her research on telomeres and aging. She found that we can lengthen our telomeres with certain nutrients, food sources and extracts. Is this research important to formulators formulating anti-aging products?

Bruno: It is important! In fact, I wrote an article for the November 2013 issue of Vitamin Retailer called “Extending Lifespan and Reducing Signs of Aging” in which I explained the importance of telomeres with regard to healthy aging. In it, I explained how the telomerase enzyme added telomere length to DNA, and that by promoting telomerase activity, it is possible to increase telomere length. Since various nutraceuticals can promote telomerase activity, a smart formulator can include applicable nutraceuticals which may also have other health aging benefits as well which can provide the basis for meaningful and compelling structure/function claims.

Alimonti: It is fascinating, and those ingredients and foods should most certainly be on our formulating radar, to be sure. Oligonol, for example, is a patented, low-molecular-weight polyphenolic extract derived from lychee fruit (85 percent) and green tea (15 percent) with excellent absorption and multiple anti-aging benefits backed by clinical research.

Chernyak: Delphinol is an ingredient we’re particularly excited about. It’s fairly new to North America, however it’s gaining a lot of momentum in a very short time. Delphinol is a proprietary maqui berry extract from Patagonia (Chile)—it is a very potent antioxidant rich in flavanols and delphinidins. Six published human studies point to benefits in areas ranging from skin health to blood glucose control, to vision health.

Furthermore, preliminary research shows that Delphinol has a beneficial effect on telomeres—in-vitro studies involving Delphinol, significant results were observed telomere-shortening rates, particularly under conditions involving oxidative stress. This research is very exciting, and positions Delphinol as a leading ingredient solution in this emerging opportunity space.

Jackson-Michel: This research is important to formulators because it powerfully substantiates soft claims that have been made about natural ingredients for years. It establishes that natural ingredients can work in varied and complementary ways to limit the attrition of telomeres, including antioxidation, anti-inflammatory and DNA methylation. For formulators, the variety of named ingredients and those unnamed—in continued research since—allows for the design of differentiated formulas that are effective and researched-backed.

One of the great pieces of research I’ve read into recently is on omega-3 supplementation in sedentary, overweight, middle-aged persons, in modulating the stress response and the adaptability of cells in terms of their age-advancing impact. The research showed an important dose-dependent benefit, wherein 2.5 g/day vs. 1.25 g/d was better able to block the effects of stress on telomerase activity and inflammation, improving resistance to premature aging and risk of depression.

Stanieich: We welcome and are motivated by any new research that advances the healthy aging category. We always want to stay on the forefront of clinical validation, always prioritizing a science-driven approach to our research and development process.

NIE: What is the most important recent study on anti-aging nutrients, whether branded or not?

Bruno: Resveratrol is known for helping to activate the SIRT1 longevity gene, and so is largely accepted as an “anti-aging” nutraceutical. In addition, resveratrol has been shown to have a range of other benefits, including effectiveness for inflammation, immune health, muscle health, cognitive health, weight loss, blood sugar/insulin resistance, non-alcoholic fatty liver and more.

Consequently, it was particularly interesting note a study focusing on the benefits of resveratrol in association with functional physical limitations in later life, which are not unusual in an aging population. A 12-week, three-arm, two-site pilot randomized, controlled trial was conducted with 60 adults, aged 71.8 ± 6.3 years. Participants received either exercise + placebo, EX + 500 mg/day resveratrol, or EX + 1000 mg/day resveratrol. EX consisted of two sessions a week for 12 weeks of center-based walking and whole-body resistance training. Outcome measures included a battery of indices of physical function as well as skeletal muscle mitchondrial function.

Results were that the distance travelled in the six-minute walk test were 9.45 meters (EX0), 22.9 (EX500), and 33.1 meters (EX1000). In addition, data suggested that EX + resveratrol may improve skeletal muscle mitochondrial function and mobility-related indices of physical function. In conclusion, the pilot RCT indicated that combined EX + resveratrol was safe and feasible for older adults with functional limitations.

Emerson: For hair specifically, Lustriva was clinically shown in a 2021 study by Douglas Kalman and Susan Hewlings to significantly increase growth in as little as three weeks. In addition, Lustriva has been shown to improve the skin’s appearance. In a comparison to baseline, those taking 160 mg Lustriva daily for 12 weeks experienced significant improvements skin texture, and a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles—simply by adding Lustriva to their daily routine! Lustriva, with an efficacious dose of just 160 mg, is versatile in that it may be used in various applications and innovative product formulations. The ingredients found in Lustriva are also GRAS (generally recognized as safe) and can be easily formulated into a wide variety of dietary supplement and functional food/beverage applications, including mixes, gummies, capsules and tablets.

Stanieich: We published a study in 2021 which supports Cognizin’s ability to improve overall memory and episodic memory in healthy older adults. The study showed that dietary supplementation with Cognizin citicoline for 12 weeks improved overall memory performance, especially episodic memory, in healthy older males and females with age-associated memory impairment (AAMI). The findings suggest that regular consumption of citicoline may be safe and potentially beneficial against memory loss due to aging.

Rimel: To improve bone mineral density and support bone stability and flexibility, the specific peptides of FORTIBONE stimulate bone cells to renew the bone collagen matrix optimally. They signal bone-making cells (osteoblasts) to trigger collagen synthesis and, thus, counterbalance collagen degradation in the extracellular bone matrix, which is the essential framework for bone mineralization. The result is a healthy bone matrix. In fact, the latest clinical research on FORTIBONE shows statistically significant increase in bone-mineral density in postmenopausal women.

Alimonti: Recently, scientists who study aging have focused their attention on a group of protective genes called sirtuins, especially SIRT1 (known as “the longevity gene”). SIRT1 “recharges” mitochondria—the “power plants” of the cells—which tend to wind down with age. Therefore, any substance like Sirtmax that can enhance the SIRT1 gene pathway should be of great interest to anti-aging researchers, as well as, consumers.

NIE: What should finished-product formulators keep in mind when working on aging-well formulas?

Toth: When developing new healthy aging formulations, it is critical that brands consider the consumption experience and diverse needs of supplement users. Consumer preferences have evolved in recent years—now they demand proof a product works. Our research shows 82 percent of dietary supplement users would be interested in taking a joint health supplement if proven to be effective. Clinical evidence is therefore key to selecting ingredients for new product development.

Dosage is also integral to successful new product development the healthy aging market, not only for efficacy but also for consumer experience. Due to its small 40 mg dose and powdered form, the UC-II undenatured type II collagen is easy to take and can be used in a variety of applications to cater to a range of consumer preferences—from capsules with complementary ingredient combinations, to bars, foods and beverages, and beyond.

Emerson: In that October 2022 survey conducted by the Benchmarking Company, consumers said the preferred their beauty supplement products in multiple forms, led by capsules (65 percent), gummies (52 percent), and tablets (51 percent).

Stanieich: Healthy aging products are not just for older consumes. We are seeing an increase of younger consumers recognizing how important it is to fill nutritional gaps in their diet early in life to ensure that they live fuller, longer lives. This growing interest has allowed emerging concepts and new brand offerings to meet the need for new buying habits as everyday active lifestyle is top of mind. Clinically proven ingredients like Cognizin are a way to signal to this audience that your brand has done its homework to ensure that it does what it claims to do. Once that trust is established, this audience can become loyal to your product throughout their whole life.

Alimonti: Three things come to mind. First, choose ingredients that have human clinical studies to back them up. Second, be careful with certain synthetic ingredients that may not be as effective as their natural counterparts, such as dl-alpha tocopherol (synthetic). Finally, look for ingredients
with strong bioavailability and absorption to maximize your product’s efficacy. Ingredients such as MicroActive Astaxanthin, MicroActive CoQ10, MicroActive Curcumin and MicroActive Resveratrol have demonstrated greater clinical efficacy for that very reason.

Walin: BIO-CAT has heavily invested in both in vitro and clinical studies to substantiate product claims to assist formulators in only selecting proven ingredients that will support statistically significant improvements.

Chernyak: Choose ingredients that have published studies to support their health-benefit claims. Today’s consumer is educated—they want products that are truly science-based. Also, try to build multi-ingredient formulas that address multiple aspects of healthy aging—this creates competitive differentiation/insulation in a highly crowded natural products market. Don’t overpromise—take care to craft claims language that is truthful and evidence-based. I also believe products must be experiential—formulas must deliver benefits that consumers can see/feel. Otherwise, it will likely be “one and done”—no repeat purchase.

Bruno: I’m going to say the same thing I always say when asked this question about formulating for any product category: No fairy dusting! If you can’t afford to include a clinically relevant dose of the right nutraceutical in the product for the purpose intended, don’t put it in an ineffectual dose in an effort to fool consumers. It’s bad for business, bad for the industry, and bad for consumers.

Rimel: Brand owners and manufacturers should consider how they want to position their products. Then, check that the specific ingredient is supported by clinical studies. This is really important when formulating with collagen. Not all collagen is the same. As consumers increasingly understand how supplements work, they will choose formulations containing ingredients with the greatest efficacy. It is essential that the functionality of the active ingredient is based on credible science and has been proven in high-quality clinical studies.

NIE: In what ways do you see this category evolving?

Chisholm: From a global consumer standpoint, I think the anti-aging market has had a very positive expansion in the past couple of years. Consumers are today more well-informed and interested in expanding their definition of anti-aging via the optimization of general health, plus they’re starting to realize that anti-aging, just like true, thriving health, requires a multifaceted approach, and is not just a one pill solution.

Of course certain products have what might be considered a more “direct” effect on the physical expression of aging, a hope partly fueled by the mainstream success of collagen but also by what appears to be a deeper understanding of just how much more there is to this topic. For example, consider how a simple amino acid like NAC, the precursor to glutathione, can increase this principal antioxidant in the body and indirectly affect so many systems in a positive way.

Chernyak: Micro-targeting is huge: formulations that address multiple angles as relates to healthy aging, and product lines that address various aspects of anti-aging.(i.e. healthy aging product-pack or product bundle). No one product or concept is going to command category dominance—there will be many unique opportunities for brands to succeed in this exciting space.

Walin: As the median age range rises, we will see more older consumers focusing on their health and wellness. This will mean that manufacturers will need to launch more products specifically focused for the older generations, while also focusing on continued research surrounding how aging affects the body and the mind. Further segmentation should be expected to include an increase in age breaks (30s, 50s, 70s), gender specificity, and solutions moving toward personalized nutrition.

Bruno: With the aging of America, this category will continue to grow and demand will likewise grow for brands that are prepared to meet the demand with evidence-based dietary supplement formulations.

NIE: Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Chisholm: Regardless of category, with this widening of our reach as an industry, we are all aware that consumers are increasingly resistant to buying products with ingredients they don’t trust. Beyond the active ingredients, people are paying more attention to ensure they are purchasing “clean label” products.

Rimel: Sarcopenia, the age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength, is a serious health-related problem and affects the mobility and quality of life of billions. The physical consequences of this disease put a person at risk for falls, fractures and hospitalization.

GELITA has developed BODYBALANCE, designed to maintain and increase muscle mass. These highly specialized collagen peptides have been shown to contribute to stronger muscles. Combined with resistance training, significant improvements can be made. BODYBALANCE is an amazing ingredient suitable for those who want to stay mobile and physically active at an advanced age or anyone looking for a natural way to get more out of their training.

Walin: What has been conveniently explained as the “three-legged stool”—nutrition, sleep and exercise—is now understood to be more than just those basics. We now understand that increased protein intake is for naught if it cannot be utilized. Aging is a dynamic process that requires continual adjustments to each “leg on the stool” due to changes in life stages, lifestyle and even environmental or genetic factors. NIE

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