While mobility is largely focused on joints, it’s actually a much broader category than that. Stratum Nutrition’s Content Coordinator Jacqueline Rizo explains: “The skeletal system, composed of bones and joints, is a complex scaffold that supports the soft tissues of the body and enables movement. Just like other systems in the body, a weakness in one part can have ramifications throughout the entire system. It is normal to concentrate on one area of weakness in the body without considering how that weakness impacts other areas. But the optimal approach is usually to find ways to support the whole system. Supplements that provide nutrients that support bones, joints and even the surrounding tendons and ligaments, can help the body compensate for some weaknesses in one part of the system. For both the young athlete and the aging Boomer, the ability to move about freely is vital to overall health. This ability to move can go a long way toward supporting the health of the rest of the body, both physically and mentally.”
That ability to move may have gone down, over the past year and a half. “The lockdowns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic were particularly hard on older consumers, especially their joints,” says Tim Osborne, Director of Business Development, NXT USA. “Post COVID-19, many of these consumers are interested in getting back to regular exercise after spending months with restrictions on gyms, parks and recreation centers. However, this transition will be challenging for those who are going from being mostly sedentary to active again. Issues like joint pain will be a major obstacle, especially for those who packed on the pounds during quarantine.”
Osborne suggests addressing these issues proactively, to avoid further routine disruption. “To that end, solutions that are safe, effective, and offer fast relief of aches and pains will be the winners,” he says. “Natural supplements can help support the body to enable consumers to reach their activity goals and to do so without sacrificing comfort, especially as we age. Tamaflex, the flagship product of NXT USA, has been proven to show results within five days. Made with sustainably sourced tamarind and turmeric, it is safe and effective for improving joint health, stiffness, and mobility.” Plus, younger customers are looking to preemptively address joint issues, too—they don’t want to deal with increased joint pain later in life, Osborne says.
Mobility is also where Lonza is focusing right now. “With mobility top of mind, we’re seeing continued interest in steadfast joint friends like turmeric, as well as new joint health stars like boswellia and collagen, which are experiencing significant growth,” says Toth. “With one in six people in the world projected to be 65 years or older by 2050, Lonza is hyper-focused on supporting the concerns of this growing population through science-backed innovation and research in mobility and joint health.”
One major way of helping: collagen. “While collagen has taken center stage in recent years, there is largely little known by consumers about the different types of collagen, and the difference in benefits they confer,” Toth explains. “For instance, Lonza has invested significant research in understanding the benefits of undenatured type II collagen, a unique form of collagen. Today, through what is an extensive library of clinical studies, Lonza shows that undenatured type II collagen, specifically their UC-II collagen, is clinically proven to reduce joint discomfort and increase mobility. And unlike other commonly known joint health ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin or hydrolyzed collagen, UC-II collagen can be taken in a tiny, once-daily, easy-to-swallow dose. With pill fatigue and swallowability concerns being a huge barrier for most aging consumers, this unique ingredient innovation offers unsurpassed consumer convenience in a tiny, science-backed package—a huge win in delivering healthy aging benefits.”
To Larry Kolb, President, TSI Group Ltd., it’s vital to consider mobility beyond joints: “Our focus is on educating the consumers and trade industry about the musculoskeletal story and how bone, joint and muscle health are all connected. After the age of 35, we all lose between 1.5% and 2% of our muscle mass every year, so over time, if you don’t manage your muscle health earlier in life, you will lose a significant amount of muscle by the time you are 80. Most consumers will look for supplements that will help them with joint pain, however the main reason for this discomfort and loss of mobility may be from losses in muscle mass and tone that doesn’t provide enough stability for joints.” TSI Group offers B-hydroxy B-methylbutyrate (HMB), which Kolb says has been shown to increase protein synthesis while reducing protein breakdown in muscle. He points to a year-long randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study that found that TSI Group’s branded myHMB in combination with vitamin D improved muscle function even in absence of exercise.
Looking at the skeletal end of things, Shitij Chabba, VP Minerals & Nutrients and Global Marketing, Balchem Human Nutrition & Health, points to calcium, noting some new forms customers may want to be aware of. “Adequate amounts of calcium are essential to promote and protect bone mass and architecture as well as overall health. Low bone mineral density is a risk factor for osteoporotic bone fractures. Calcium is needed for the maintenance of normal bones and helps to reduce the loss of bone mineral in post-menopausal women. Calcium citrate malate (CCM) is a compound salt of calcium cation with citrate and malateanions. CCM has demonstrated efficacy, has better absorption when compared to other forms of calcium (calcium carbonate, etc.), and is less reactive towards other food components that interact with calcium (i.e. phytates) and can be consumed with or without foods.”
Chad Walding, DPT, Co-Founder of NativePath, shares that for his customers, bone health is a major concern under the mobility umbrella. “Our customers are part of an older demographic, in their 50s and 60s, and we find that they are most concerned about healthy aging as it relates to bone health. This is an ongoing health issue that impacts older demographics, and women in particular, since they lose bone density as they age.”
Dr. Walding suggests collagen as a viable route here: “Primarily, we are telling our consumers to incorporate a daily supplement to maintain bone health. One such supplement is collagen, which is the most abundant protein in the body, and directly targets damaged areas. We find that educating consumers on how to properly supplement is key. For maximal benefits, we educate the pros of consuming a supplement like collagen, instead of using in topical form. We’re also finding our consumers are looking for different ways to get in their daily values of supplements. For instance, with collagen, you can take larger amounts, like 20-40 grams each day, and consumers want to vary how they consume their collagen. NativePath is trying to come up with ways to spread out the benefits and combine other benefits, like a product that promotes healthy aging but also helps with sleep or the immune system. We also experiment with new flavors that can mix with water, coffee, tea, etc.”
Retailers who work or partner with any kind of physical activity instructor, be it yoga or otherwise, may want to talk to customers concerned about bone health about those opportunities, as well, in order to take advantage of another piece of Dr. Walding’s advice: “NativePath is also big about promoting healthy lifestyle routines. Another way we advise consumers to keep their bones healthy with aging is by offering videos and workout routines that focus on weight-bearing exercises and posture correction. Using my background as a physical therapist, I teach our consumers how to incorporate functional movement into their daily lives to maintain balance and mobility. At the same time, its never too early to start thinking about how you live your lifestyle.”
“The biggest change we have seen in healthy aging is the explosion of brands that are adding nutricosmetics to their product line,” says Douglas Jones, Global Sales & Marketing Manager, BioCell Technology, LLC.
Sugarek MacDonald dove into that: “Consumers want to defy the changes that come with maturing, particularly fine lines and wrinkles, while also supporting the health and integrity of their bodies. Thus, it is no surprise that consumers are linking inner health and outer beauty and wellness. In fact, ~38% of U.S. consumers over the age of 35 are motivated to adopting a new diet to improve their physical appearance. This change in consumer attitudes has laid the groundwork for functional food products that benefit the skin, defying the aging process from the inside out and beyond, including mood, energy/vitality, detoxing, and personal care. As a result, the category of nutricosmetics—ingestible products taken specifically for beauty purposes, or ‘beauty foods’—particularly structure/function collagen formulated products—has taken off in recent years.” She shared some numbers:
- The global nutricosmetics market (mostly collagen) was valued at $4.3 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach $7.9 billion by 2025, nearly doubling in size.
- Compared to the Asia Pacific and Europe, the U.S. market is under-developed in nutricosmetics and therefore displays the greatest growth potential globally.
- The estimated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nutricosmetics in the U.S. through 2024 is 9-10%.
Both Jones and Sugarek MacDonald are seeing the impact of this in their respective companies. “Consumers are seeking cosmeceutical products to use at home,” Jones says. “We have seen an acceleration of the ‘beauty from within’ products that use BioCell Collagen as a primary ingredient in the last 16 months. With consumers working from home and on camera multiple times per day with Zoom, they’re looking for products that can minimize facial fine lines and wrinkles as well as improving overall skin appearance.”
Sugarek MacDonald notes that collagen is highly multifunctional. “Collagen is a key structural component for skin, hair, and nails. It also helps to promote skin elasticity while counteracting the visible signs of aging. Having healthy skin is important since it is the largest organ of the human body and functions as a physical barrier to protect the body from environmental factors like pathogens, chemicals, and sunlight throughout our lifetime. The skin also has other physiological roles, including immune defense, increasing free-radical detoxifying enzymes, antioxidant support, thermoregulation, prevention of excessive water loss, and endocrine—production of vitamin D—support to sustain optimal health.” Bluebonnet is now offering Collagen Refreshers, which Sugarek MacDonald calls “a line of deliciously refreshing and remarkably effective easy-to-mix collagen formulas with organic-certified ingredients that work with your body’s natural chemistry.” The line is available in Vitality, Zen, Beauty, and Detox, as well as a regular Collagen product.
Pycnogenol is emerging as a player in this category, adds Sébastien Bornet, VP Global Sales & Marketing at Horphag Research, citing a 2021 study. Bornet explains that the study “found that daily supplementation with Pycnogenol French maritime pine bark extract may help to significantly retain skin hydration, increase skin elasticity, and reinforce skin barrier function for those exposed to urban environmental pollution, as well as seasonal temperature and humidity variations. In addition, the study found Pycnogenol to increase skin lightening during seasonal changes when dark spots can emerge.”
“In our experience, we find that consumers have a wide variety of health concerns,” says Rajan Shah, President, INID Research Lab. “A common thread, however, tends to revolve around the subjects of chronic disease, inflammation and immunity. Both are inextricably linked and can be traced back to oxidative stress. Consumers have become very aware of the detrimental effects of oxidative stress and wish to minimize it as much as possible. Given that oxidative stress is a common condition not immediately associated with illness, but rather of concern in the longer term, the apprehension of consumers is understandable. After all, we all wish to live a healthy life for as long as possible.”
Indena, too, is focused on oxidative stress and the inflammation it causes. “Research has shown that low-level inflammation can be quietly present in the body and have a profound in our health for conditions related to brain health, eye health, joint health, blood sugar management and others,” says Francesca de Rensis, Marketing Director, Indena. “That’s why Indena has Meriva Curcumin Phytosome that is supported in over 35 clinical studies in a wide range of health conditions where low-level inflammation plays a part. These studies have validated the effectiveness of Meriva, demonstrating that it can be taken for extended periods of time, and making it appropriate for a long-term healthy aging strategy.”
Bornet lists Pycnogenol as a useful antioxidant. “At Horphag Research, the most pressing topics we’ve noted recently in the Healthy Aging category are cognitive function and beauty from within,” he says. “More consumers—especially younger generations—now realize how crucial it is to take a proactive, evidence-based and natural approach to staying healthy longer. These trending ‘body and mind’ topics reflect a holistic approach of being—and staying—in good health for as long as possible. As a powerful antioxidant, Pycnogenol has a deep history and decades of research demonstrating benefits for a number of health conditions directly related to aging well including skin care, heart health, blood circulation, cognitive functions, eye health, and joint health. We are growing in all of these areas, with cognitive health and oral skin care emerging as solid growth drivers.”
Shah focused in on glutathione, which, while known as an important antioxidant, has certain limitations: “To obtain the potential benefits, glutathione levels must increase inside cells, as cellular glutathione, and not just in whole blood or plasma. To experience the benefits glutathione offers, cellular glutathione levels must be raised above homeostasis. This is crucial to understand since only a healthy diet can raise cellular glutathione levels to homeostatic levels. It is only when cellular glutathione levels exceed homeostatic levels that neutralization of any chronic ailment related to oxidative stress is possible.”
INID Research is looking to spread this information. “To educate customers, we provide technical information on our website www.continualg.com via blogs and videos,” Shah says. “We also respond to questions raised by those who want to understand the science of glutathione as it relates to health. Our advice to consumers centers on the fact that healthy glutathione levels need to be maintained as we age but this can prove difficult because not only does our body produce less of it as we get older, but supplements that purport to raise cellular glutathione are generally ineffective.” He maintains that glyteine is a proven nutrient-based way to raise cellular glutathione.