Aging is inevitable and modern adults want to be as youthful as possible for as long as possible. Compared to a generation ago, research, development and perceptions meld to make this possible for more folks than ever.
In Italy, people toast with the saying, “Cento anni,” which translates to “May you live 100 years.” And of course, they mean a long healthy life. In the U.S. in 1900, the average life expectancy was about 47 years; 100 years later, it shot up to 77. The last two years, however, the National Center for Health Statistics showed a minor drop, but in 2016, it was on average 78.6 years.
Most Americans engage in a diet or other healthy lifestyle activities at some point during adulthood in an attempt to stave off the physical aging they have seen among their elders. No whiling away hours on the rocking chair wearing slippers and a blanket.
Still, many people also think that preventing aging is all about keeping the wrinkles away. The good news about wrinkles is that they are benign; they don’t hurt anything except the self-esteem. Healthy aging, however, is more than just keeping one’s looks somewhat intact, and American adults are starting to realize it’s a whole-body thing.
“The idea of ‘healthy aging’ as merely skin or beauty health is a thing of the past,” declared Eric Anderson, senior vice president of global marketing and business development for New Jersey-based NattoPharma USA, Inc. Healthy aging, he described, is about optimizing our opportunities for good health to enjoy the longest, best possible quality of life. “Two of the major health issues impacting healthy aging are cardiovascular events and weakened bone health.”
Brian Appell, marketing manager of New Jersey-based OmniActive Health Technologies observed that the notion of aging has changed over the years from simply “aging” to “healthy aging.” This is largely due to the demographics of the current aging population, who saw how their parents and grandparents have aged and realize that they do not want the same for themselves. “Also, societal paradigms about what aging means has changed,” he pointed out. “Most people don’t feel ‘old’ now and don’t want to be thought of as old—but are aware of the slow progression of time, bringing about the idea of ‘healthy aging.’”
An increasing number of younger people (20s and 30s) are now aware of adopting healthy habits, as the availability of healthier foods and beverages, as well as health information, has exploded into the mainstream. It is not unusual anymore for teens to express interest in eating vegan, using clean-label body care products, and caring about how what they eat and use affects their health.
Older generations (Generation X and Baby Boomers) are primary consumers for dietary supplement sales, observed Sébastien Bornet, vice president of global sales & marketing at New Jersey-based Horphag Research. The benefits of healthy aging—the desire to remain active and fit mentally and physically—is the main influencing factor for purchase decisions. “This concept involves taking action earlier on for issues like heart health and cognitive health and taking proactive measures to manage health concerns,” he said. “Muscle loss, joint health, heart health, cognitive function and menopause are just a few of the most popular healthy aging topics.”
In the viewpoint of Deanne Dolnick, science director for Georgia-based TR Nutritionals, among those in their 40s through 60s, the “No. 1 concern is dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, we worry about having a sudden deadly heart attack. We worry about losing our hearing. We worry that we can’t stay in the same kind of shape that we used to even when we do the same exercise and eat the same way. We worry about how anxious we’ve become and how that effects our overall health.” TR Nutritionals provides numerous ingredients, including vitamins and Indian botanicals, for a wide range of targeted health benefits, such as joint health, cardiovascular support and cognitive/brain health.
Overall, noted Heather Arment, marketing coordinator-North America, GELITA, Iowa, characteristics of a high quality of life at any age include mobility, independence and confidence. “Healthy aging means to add life to your years rather than years to your life,” she stated. GELITA offers a diverse and versatile portfolio of Bioactive Collagen Peptides to support healthy aging:
• BODYBALANCE for body toning and increased muscle strength.
• FORTIBONE for improving bone mass density and supporting bone stability and flexibility.
• FORTIGEL for supporting joint health and mobility.
• VERISOL for improved skin elasticity, wrinkle and cellulite reduction and improved nail growth.
• TENDOFORTE for increasing health and quality of ligaments and tendons.
Healthy aging is a term that Leslie Gallo, vice president of operations of Indiana-based Artemis International, (that specializes in “berryceuticals, flavonoid-rich berry-based ingredients”) believes was coined in the late 1990s by Dr. Jim Joseph, a neuroscientist at the Jean Mayer Institute on Human Nutrition and Aging in Boston. Joseph declared that healthy aging was “growing old, feeling young.” She agrees, using as examples the current wave of commercials for pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements targeting Baby Boomers and latter Generation Xers, showing individuals in these generations as active, happy and enjoying life and love. The message is, even if you have a condition, you can grow old and feel young. “Anti-aging is a promise that can’t be kept. Healthy aging is an achievable objective for everyone,” she clarified.
The ability for the body to detoxify lessens during age as well, especially if the individual tries to become healthy in middle age after decades of very poor lifestyle (smoking, too much alcohol, environmental, etc.). Kyowa Hakko of New York manufactures Setria glutathione, made from a patented fermentation process, according to Elyse Lovett, marketing manager. “Glutathione, supports the function of the liver, kidneys, GI (gastrointestinal) tract and intestines—our bodies’ major detoxification pathways,” she explained. “Setria glutathione helps eliminate toxins and potential carcinogens that the body has already absorbed, plus it also intercepts and neutralizes toxins in the GI tract before then are even absorbed.”
Similarly, said Richard Hunsaker, business development manager, Mineral BioSciences, Arizona, “Protecting and maintaining healthy cells is a key element to a healthy lifestyle and our Ioniplex (an active fulvic ionic mineral complex that contains up to 65 essential macro, micro and trace minerals) has been clinically shown to help protect cells and improve cellular energy and vitality to the 37 trillion-plus cells in in the human body.” Ioniplex, he said, acts as a detoxifier, by chelating and removing heavy metals and neutralizing free radicals within cells. Independent clinical studies, “which found that Ioniplex helps improve cellular activity, promotes healthier glucose metabolism, reduces cellular degradation, increases energy performance and optimization, and promotes proper digestion and utilization of nutrients,” Hunsaker added.
Solarplast is an extract of organic deep-green leafy vegetables, which is enzymatically enhanced by a proprietary manufacturing process, by Georgia-based Deerland Enzymes. The extract is abundant in chloroplasts that are a rich source of molecular chaperones and antioxidants, all in a naturally occurring lipid protective coating, according to CEO Scott Ravech. Solarplast, he explained, supports healthy aging by optimizing the body’s processes through natural energy and repair mechanisms; it contains natural concentrations of antioxidants, energy molecules and molecular chaperones, components that support healthy aging by helping the body to repair the damage.
The long-suffering woe of “middle-age spread” also was considered a part of aging—where both men and women, whose sex hormone production have dwindled, experience weight and fat gain primarily in the abdomen. Often, this is accompanied by increasingly dysfunctional blood sugar response.
One supplement that can help hormonal balance in men and in middle-aged women is LJ100 Tongkat ali, which has 13 published studies overall showing that its ability to encourage the body to increase its testosterone production has benefits of promoting lean muscle mass, energy for working out, and thus better workouts, according to Annie Eng, CEO, HP Ingredients, the Florida-based maker of LJ100.
There are many other factors that contribute to middle-aged spread, and one of them is slower metabolism and maintaining the same diet, which typically includes a high carb intake, said Mitch Skop, director of new product development for Ashland’s Pharmachem division in New Jersey. Its Phase 2 Carb Controller has multiple studies showing that its mechanism of action reduces digestion and absorption of carbohydrates by up to 66 percent, resulting in easier weight reduction.
No doubt, concerns about all aspects of biological functioning arise in middle age, with more American adults reaching first for preventative measures—primarily dietary supplements. In fact, a TV commercial for Prevagen (cognitive and brain support), tells viewers, “You take supplements for your heart and your joints …”
It makes sense to consider formulating a boutique line target marketed to Generation X men and women, and soon, the upper level of Millennials to follow. Keep in mind that supplement ingredients that promote healthy aging and maintaining fitness is a quickly evolving sector, so the idea of reformulating when appropriate should be embraced and built in for future R&D plans.
Longevity Spurs Innovations
Of course, medical science is devoted to a cure for cancer (and other killer diseases), but it is also focused on how to extend youthful vitality through latter decades, and as such, especially in the research of dietary supplements, there have been some exciting revelations about how some supplements can help promote healthful balance during a time when the body is breaking down, and for which nothing could have been done in the past.
“The sheer number of people living into their late years has forced this category to explode with innovation and product development,” observed Samantha Ford, new business development director, California-based AIDP, Inc. “Years ago, drugs were the only answer and often too late. Now, science has uncovered proof of function for many nature-based ingredients as preventative solutions for healthy aging.”
For example, she offered, clinical studies for AIDP’s Magtein, a proprietary formulation of magnesium l-threonate, have demonstrated improvements in cognitive function—memory, focus and stress-reduction—by restoring the health of the brain’s neuronal cells, without side effects and contraindications. Another AIDP ingredient, KoACT, is a bone and joint health ingredient combining calcium and collagen through a proprietary process that models the body’s natural bone structure. “KoACT has been clinically shown to improve bone mineral density, bone strength and flexibility by targeting the bone’s organic matrix,” she described.
Calcification is usually believed to be an unfortunate result of aging, especially calcium that builds up in cardiovascular arteries, a risk factor for heart disease, Anderson pointed out. More recently, however, studies show that arterial calcification is an actively regulated process. “Consider this: flexibility of the arteries is in direct correlation to longevity (biological age vs. chronological age),” he asserted. “Calcification is said to add 10 years to one’s biological age.”
Although the fact that about 30 percent of our total body protein is collagen—making collagen the most abundant protein in the human body is not a new discovery. According to Heather Arment, marketing coordinator-North America, with Iowa-based Gelita, there are advances in collagen peptides research as it relates to the body’s collagen metabolism and human physiology. While collagen has been successfully used for years in topical beauty and personal care products, “recent scientific evidence confirms that the highest efficacy can be achieved when collagen is ingested orally,” she emphasized. “This has created new opportunities for beverage, food and nutraceutical manufacturers to help consumers achieve their goals.”
Eye health and retaining one’s vision is critical for adults who greatly fear losing the ability to see. According to Appell, the newest development that is trending quickly in the eye health category is visual support against enduring screen time with digital device use. Lutemax 2020 is OmniActive’s macular carotenoids ingredient that was studied in subjects with long duration exposure to digital screens and other sources of high-energy blue light. “The B.L.U.E. (Blue Light User Exposure) study showed that supplementation with lutein, RR-zeaxanthin and RS (meso)-zeaxanthin from Lutemax 2020 has beneﬁcial effects on ocular health and performance, sleep quality, and eye strain and fatigue,” he described. “These same macular carotenoids have also been linked to cognition and mental acuity. This exciting new trend is supported by OmniActive’s LAMA (lutein and mental acuity) I and II studies and Lutemax 2020’s effect on brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF).”
Appell observed that another trend on the rise is bioavailable curcumin for sports nutrition. He reported that OmniActives’ CurcuWIN was recently granted a patent to support its sports nutrition use. The FloMeD (Flow Mediated Dilation) Study, he noted, showed CurcuWIN to support healthy blood flow and circulation—major contributors to a healthy, active lifestyle.
Active lifestyles in the minds of middle-aged individuals encompass discomfort-free and agile mobility, as well as an agile mind. According to Bornet, recent studies have shown Pycnogenol to be beneficial for cognition, joint health and muscle function, including:
• A 2017 published study that found that the polyphenols in Pycnogenol are directly distributed into joint synovial fluid to reduce C-reactive protein (CRP) levels and inhibit nuclear factor-kappa B to reduce inflammation.
• A 2017 published study that demonstrated that Pycnogenol helps to alleviate the disruptive symptoms associated with menopause transition and reduce cardiovascular disease risk markers, CRP and homocysteine.
While both homocysteine and CRP levels indicate cardiovascular status, so too does arterial calcification. According to Anderson, groundbreaking research confirmed vitamin K2 as MK-7 (MenaQ7) is a cardiovascular-support—and bone-support—nutrient in a three-year study, which gave 180 mcg MenaQ7 to 244 healthy post-menopausal women, according to Anderson. The first arm of one study showed that maintenance in both bone mineral content, bone mineral density and bone strength were statistically significant in the MenaQ7 group. The second published arm of the research confirmed that vitamin K2 as MK-7 not only inhibited age-related stiffening of the artery walls, but also made a statistically significant improvement of vascular elasticity. In this study, Anderson related, “the placebo group showed their arteries continued to calcify over the study period, whereas the active MenaQ7 group saw a regression in calcification. This means the placebo group aged, while the MenaQ7 group actually became younger (according to their arteries).”
Recent research linked the increased risk of fracture risk in children with low vitamin K2 status, and is the first study to evaluate both vitamin D and K2 status in healthy children with low-energy fractures and in the control group without fractures,” Anderson explained. “The study found that children with bone fractures have two times lower vitamin K status.”
“YOLO” (you only live once) is a belief and mindset that more and more people are embracing—and the dietary supplement industry can help that attitude thrive for years to come. NIE
For More Information:
Artemis International, www.artemis-international.com
Deerland Enzymes, www.deerlandenzymes.com
Horphag Research, www.pycnogenol.com
HP Ingredients, www.hpingredients.com
Kyowa Hakko, www.kyowa-usa.com
Mineral Biosciences, www.protectcells.com
NattoPharma, www.nattopharma.com; www.menaq7.com
Pharmachem, division of Ashland, www.phase2info.com
TR Nutritionals, www.trnutritionals.com