Healthy subjects study kickstarts sales of UC-II ingredient, InterHealth says

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Dietary supplement

Supporting a structure function claim on its UC-II ingredient aimed at athletes and active adults was a key goal for InterHealth.
Supporting a structure function claim on its UC-II ingredient aimed at athletes and active adults was a key goal for InterHealth.
A question is sometimes raised whether consumers are swayed by positive studies. Whether science sells, in point of fact.  Speaking from recent experience, the answer for InterHealth Nutraceuticals is a resounding yes.

InterHealth supplies a varies of proprietary, branded ingredients, among them UC-II, a branded form of undenatured type II collagen.  A recent positive study with the ingredient has had a huge result on sales, said Juliana Erickson, senior marketing manager.

“We did a study on active adults.  The primary outcome of that was significant knee extension compared with placebo,”​ Erickson said.

Published results are key

Interest was piqued when initial results were presented in March, Erickson said, but potential customers really sat up and took notice when the results were published in June.

The study was conducted by Jay Udani, MD of Medicus Research.  Initial results of the 17-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study with 55 participants were presented first via poster in February at the 2013 Scripps Natural Supplement Conference. The research abstract is published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine​.

 “Supplementation with UC-II for seventeen weeks was well-tolerated and more effective than placebo in supporting joint comfort, flexibility and mobility,” Udani reported.

The study used healthy participants and none met the American College of Rheumatology criteria for osteoarthritis.

The study supports 2009 findings published in International Journal of Medical Sciences​(Vol. 6, pp. 312-321), according to InterHealth.

“The research results from this healthy population study not only represents great clinical findings in terms of UC-II and joint health, but represent a great marketing opportunity for dietary supplement manufacturers as well,”​ said Jay Martin, VP of sales and marketing at InterHealth.

Supporting the right kind of claims

Having health adults show a benefit was the key to the study’s impact on sales, Erickson said.  It supports a health claim which supplement marketers are finiding effective when marketing products.

TFX Health, based in Salt Lake City, UT, recently launched its TFX Flex product featuring UC-II.  In just a short time, the company said the product has become the best selling ‘triple threat’ supplement (bone, joint and muscle) in GNC stores. The product is also now featured on Amazon.com.

“The significance of the whole study was it was done in healthy subjects. It provide the substantiation they need to support unique structure function claims,”​ Erickson said.

She cautioned that InterHealth recommends that finished product manufacturers get their own legal advice when deciding what claims to put on the label.  Nevertheless, she said, “our primary objective was to have someone be able to say may help alleviate exercise induced joint pain; those kind of harder-hitting structure function claims that are really relevant to a consumer.  It enables them to formulate sports nutrition products with UC-II. It enables the marketing of the ingredient to active and younger consumers that are looking to keep their joints healthy.”

GRAS, NDI status also important

“The fact that both of our studies were done in North America helps as well,”​ Erickson said (an earlier study was done on osteoarthritic patients.  Additional supporting elements for UC-II are that it’s produced in the US, is GRAS affirmed and has a NDI notification for supplements, she said.

“I think the whole InterHealth model is based on science.  We are constantly doing science on our ingredients. We find that manufacturers really want that and appreciate it and rely on it.  they want to see that the studies are well designed and have the appropriate endpoints to support their structure function claims.  I don't frankly know how a company would do it wihtout the science,”​ Erickson said.

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