“The growth in minerals and bone health is at least 5% a year for the past several years and minerals are at least 7% of the US supplement led of course by calcium products. It seems to be a pretty stable market; there are not that many swings. There is much more volatility when you look at the joint health segment,” said Neil Levin, senior education manager for NOW Foods.
Levin said NOW views the market in three ways: bone health off to one side with relatively little innovation in ingredients, and joint health bifurcated between long term joint support such as products that will help maintain proper joint spacing by supporting healthy cartilage maintenance, and products that relieve immediate discomfort. In this latter category there has been a great deal of activity around curcumin.
“Curcumin has obviously been a huge driving of the joint segment and you also have collagen and hyaluronic acid,” said Rory Lipsky, senior director of business strategy for Jarrow Formulas.
Bioavailability has been a concern for curcumin, and suppliers have addressed this in several ways. Indena has brought forward Meriva, an ingredient that binds the curcuminoids to a phospholipid backbone to promote uptake. DolCas Biotech supplies BCM-95, an ingredient made via a patented process that the company claims boosts bioavailability. And Sabinsa supplies its C3 Complex and other curcumin ingredients, that features a full spectrum of curcuminoids and other approaches to aid absorption. Verdure Sciences, Wacker, OmniActive Health Technologies and NBTY itself all feature ingredients that are said to boost absorption.
John Frame, vice president of brand marketing for NBTY, said that said helping people to move better will improve their overall joint health.
“There is a culture of stillness, that sedentary lifestyle that a lot of consumers are leading. This isa contributing factor to what is happening to our consumers in the joint health category. Our Made to Move campaign is a way to help get consumers up and moving. You have to move to have healthy joints,” he said.
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