Osteoarthritis is the primary joint malady, characterized by inflamed joints and breakdown of cartilage. Arthritis and joint disease is the top condition consumers say they would treat (68 per cent) or prevent (69 per cent) with supplements, according to The Natural Marketing Institute's Health & Wellness Trends Database.
Natural ingredients routinely focus on boosting the quantity of cartilage and the glycoaminoglycans (GAGs) that comprise the noncollagen proteins.
The most famous of the GAGs are glucosamine and chondroitin. These are far and away the top-selling single ingredients in the natural-products industry, with mainstream sales in 2007 exceeding $318 million.
"Due to the size of the joint-health category, we see opportunities for new ingredients in spite of the dominance of the glucosamine-chondroitin formulas," says Dan Lifton, Maypro's director of business development. "However, it also helps if you can position a joint-health ingredient as a good addition to existing glucosamine-chondroitin formulas. Specifically, we've seen strong growth in hyaluronic acid, boswellia and MSM."
Bundling multiple ingredients is always a good idea, especially when the ingredients target the same condition but via different pathways, thereby helping ensure all various issues are being addressed.
"While it is proven that chondroitin and glucosamine stimulate the formation and repair of articular cartilage, they do not act upon the inflammation that is the actual cause of pain," says Tina Sampalis, MD, PhD, chief scientific officer at Neptune Technologies and Bioressources, which markets Neptune Krill Oil, which has been shown to reduce inflammation.
"It can be a great selling point when two known supplements targeted toward the same general function are combined into one formula," says Soft Gel's Ron Udell.
InterHealth markets an undenatured collagen, UC-II. The company is also bullish on including its ingredient with existing joint-health formulas. "Manufacturers are starting to explore 'new and improved' strategies for their glucosamine/chondroitin supplements," says InterHealth CEO Paul Dijkstra. "UC-II works nicely with glucosamine and glucosamine/chondroitin combinations as it increases the effectiveness and, at a 40mg/day suggested dosage, it will not increase current pill size."
Even as these ingredients become more popular, there remains space for even newer and more novel sources to come on line, even from age-old sources — such as the egg.
"Natural Eggshell Membrane [brand name NEM] is in a perfect position as a new fast-acting ingredient in the joint-health category," says Micah Osborne, president of ESM Technologies. "NEM is a patented ingredient composed of naturally occurring glycosaminoglycans including chondroitin and hyaluronic acid, plus collagen and other proteins."
Expect not only the category as a whole to continue to grow, but as new research discovers new uses for overlooked products, the number of choices manufacturers have at their disposal should similarly grow.
Krill Oil: Extracted from Antarctic krill (euphausia superba). Provides superior absorption with 42 per cent phospholipids and powerful antioxidants. Rich in phospholipid-bonded omega-3s. Promotes cardiovascular, nerve and brain function; addresses PMS issues; provides joint support; improves flexibility; and enhances overall quality of life.
+1 303 415 1906
Boulder, Colorado, USA
Ibuprofen DC 85: A direct compression-grade ibuprofen powder that can help pharmaceutical companies streamline manufacturing and produce smaller tablets that contain a higher percentage of active-ingredient content, eliminating steps associated with wet granulation and compaction.
+1 800 443 0627
Florham Park, New Jersey, USA
K-RALA: A potassium salt form of R-lipoic acid, the natural form of lipoic acid, a critical cofactor in three vital enzyme complexes that control energy metabolism and a powerful antioxidant in large amounts. Heat stable, characterized by high solubility and absorption, free of residual solvents and moisture. Shelf life of at least three years. Does not require special handling or refrigeration.
+1 310 669 2100
Long Beach, California, USA
Glycollagen: Composed of low molecular-weight polypeptides. A unique soluble marine-cartilage extract. Rich in chondroitin sulphate and hydrolysed collagen. Provides the articular cartilage structural components to stimulate the synthesis of matrix constituents.
+33 (0)3 21 10 00 30
Le Portel, France
Denomega Nutritional Oils
Omega-360: 100 per cent pure omega-3s for your complete health. Not made from concentrates, not artificially or chemically modified. Contains the complete blend of omega-3s with a high content of evenly balanced EPA and DHA.
+47 6939 5204
Gamle Fredrikstad, Norway
Draco Natural Products
Cili Fruit Extract, 20% Vitamin C: Derived from an exotic yellow fruit from the rose family. One of the highest naturally occurring levels of SOD, vitamin C and polyphenols.
Yumberry Extract, 20:1: Rich in cyanidin-3-glucoside, which studies have shown reduces appetite and positively improves hormones that govern fat metabolism. Also contains myricetin, which works similarly to resveratrol on the anti-ageing SIR2 gene.
+1 408 287 7871
San Jose, California, USA
EPAX 4510TG Omega-3 Concentrate: A marine-derived, highly concentrated omega-3 fatty acids formula with 390mg/g EPA and 70mg/g DHA. Delivers high levels of concentrated EPA to provide nutrition to joints, help reduce stiffness and support mobility.
+47 7013 5960
+1 508 845 0033
Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
UC-II: Undenatured (native) type II collagen, a revolutionary ingredient that works with the immune system to promote healthy joints and increase joint mobility and flexibility. Supported by six human clinical studies, including research from Harvard University Medical School. The only source of undenatured type II collagen available as a dietary ingredient.
+1 800 783 4636
Benicia, California, USA
Ginger Extract: Made from all-natural and fresh ginger root using SFE-CO2 extraction in a GMP facility. 1000mg contain 60mg gingerol, shown to help relieve arthralgia and enhance men's sexual performance.
+1 973 439 6869
Fairfield, New Jersey, USA
Marinol: Fish-oil and powder concentrates with the highest concentrated marine-based omega-3s for the functional-foods industry. Highly shelf stable. Offers the benefits of omega-3s in a great-tasting food product.
+1 815 730 5244
Channahon, Illinois, USA
Vitamins Raw Materials
+1 732 287 6102
Neptune Technologies & Bioressources
Neptune Krill Oil: From the leader in EPA/DHA functionalized marine phospholipids clinically validated for safety and effectiveness in chronic health conditions. Composed of phospholipids, superior carriers of EPA and DHA that provide higher bioavailability than common triglycerides in fish oils. Clinically proven as effective for cardiovascular disease, chronic inflammation and cognitive function.
+1 450 687 2262
Laval, Québec, Canada
Natural Eggshell Membrane: Specially suited for product applications supporting joint and soft-tissue wellness. One-a-day dosage is 500mg. Patients report symptom relief after only 10 days of treatment.
+1 201 796 4041
Elmwood Park, New Jersey, USA
OmegaPure: A refined oil, rich in EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids, formulated for use in a variety of functional foods and beverages. Non-GMO and kosher certified.
+1 713 623 0060
Houston, Texas, USA
Pacific Rainbow International
CoEnzyme Q10 Powder, USP
Red Rice Yeast Extract
+1 888 821 8336
City of Industry, California, USA
+1 508 842 9292
Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
TSI Health Sciences
PUREFLEX Chondroitin & Glucosamine: Premium-grade chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine at all levels — from start to finish.
+1 406 549 9123
Missoula, Montana, USA