"The boomer and senior population is growing, so joint and bone health are top of mind for that demographic," says Mintel's Krista Faron, senior new-product analyst. "When it comes to supplements, calcium, vitamin D and magnesium dominate for bone health. Glucosamine, chondroitin and omega-3s are dominating the joint category. These traditional ingredients will continue to dominate but unexpected forms will emerge."
For example, Bonemilk, a milk product with extra calcium plus glucosamine, was just recently launched. However, Minute Maid Active with glucosamine — despite the marketing heft of a leading mainstream brand — was pulled from the shelves after two years on the market. Formulators are also taking traditional joint-health ingredients and re-orienting them to the performance field, as with Vuel grape sports drink, a joint-rejuvenating beverage containing glucosamine, MSM and electrolytes.
"Once you move away from pills, joint health is an untapped area for joint-health drinks and foods," Faron says. More consumers are now turning to foods — up 29 per cent— and beverages — up 11 per cent — fortified with joint-health ingredients, according to Nielsen data.
A compelling option is type II collagen, an ingredient that provides a naturally occurring matrix of chondroitin sulphate, hyaluronic acid and hydrolysed collagen type II, as well as glucosamine and other proteoglycans. Its dollar sales in 2007 were up 98.75 per cent, accoding to Nutrition Business Journal.
MSM, third in ingredient sales for the category, is worth $5 million. "A strong evidence base supports the utility of MSM for the promotion of joint health," says Tony Keller, president of TandemRain Innovations, supplier of ActivMSM. "With ActivMSM being FDA GRAS, we see a significant opportunity for the entry of MSM into conventional foods and beverages, extending its joint-health pedigree and ushering in new applications for cardiovascular health. The suggestion of MSM being a sulphur metabolism modifier also opens up platforms for skin/hair/nails applications." Beyond these major players, there is no shortage of ingredients looking to get in on the joint-health action.
Another choice is Pycnogenol, one of the industry's jack-of-all-trades ingredients. "Pycnogenol's core competencies is as a producer of endothelial nitric oxide, which helps as a vasodilator of blood vessels, and its ability to bind to collagen make it a very effective ingredient for cardiovascular health," says Frank Assumma, marketing director at Natural Health Science. "This also led us to results that demonstrated Pycnogenol's ability to reduce inflammation in the blood stream. This provided results for us in new studies related to inflammation in joints such as knees and we found very strong results for Pycnogenol for overall joint health."
Another newcomer is ESM Technologies. It markets a proprietary ingredient called NEM — Natural Eggshell Membrane, which in a recent published study found that it helped patients with joint pain and stiffness.
According to Mintel, 62 per cent of functional-beverage drinkers look for calcium in their functional drinks, and awareness is growing that vitamin D combined with calcium is better than calcium alone. Last September the FDA published a final rule amending the health claim associating calcium with a reduced risk of osteoporosis; therefore, a claim may also be made for calcium with vitamin D.
Vitamin D's fortunes extend far beyond joint health, however. At this spring's Nutracon conference, held concurrently with Natural Products Expo West in California, vitamin D researcher Robert Heaney, MD, of Creighton University in Nebraska, explained why vitamin D belongs with every supplement.
Inside every cell is a file cabinet, says Heaney, that contains the blueprints for any situation, any invader, a cell might expect. When a macrophage encounters an invading pathogen, it sums up the situation, accesses its file cabinet and creates exactly what it needs to deal with the pathogen. In study after study, vitamin D is shown to improve the outcomes in a great diversity of health conditions because it, in essence, holds the key to the file cabinet. Vitamin D makes cells more efficient with cellular performance.
The fact that vitamin D is inexpensive is a bonus. Heaney is pushing for a daily intake recommendation of 2,000IU. Prebiotic fibres such as inulin have also been shown to boost calcium absorption — yet another way to boost the fortunes of this up-and-coming ingredient.
Another hot bone-health ingredient is natural vitamin K2, derived from nattokinase — a funky-tasting Japanese delicacy. Vitamin K2 may actually remove excess calcium from arteries — hello, cardio-health formulations — and deposit that calcium in bones. At a small dosage of only 45mcg menaquinone-7, it can increase the activation of osteocalcin, the bone-building protein.
Vitamin K2 MK7
Derived from natto, made from fermented soybeans. Stimulates protein synthesis in osteoblastic cells and enhances osteocalcin production. Contains no solvents. Available in 1,000 ppm and 2,500 ppm. Shelf life of 18 months.
+1 404 233 4022
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Patented calcium collagen chelate for bone health.
Collagen type II for joint health.
+1 866 262 6699
City of Industry, California, USA
Dicalcium malate. Superior absorption characteristics, resulting in improved blood levels of calcium and fewer gas problems. Patented, GRAS, kosher parve, vegetarian, GMO-free, hypoallergenic and BSE-free. For use in tablets, capsules, powdered drinks, ready-to-drink beverages and a wide range of foods.
Azantis 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.
+1 303 502 2400
Boulder, Colorado, USA
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.
+1 303 502 2400
Boulder, Colorado, USA
The only current brand of MSM supported by US clinical research in peer-reviewed journals. A naturally occurring sulphur compound and nutritional component of many foods that supports healthy, active lifestyles and benefits multiple structures and functions within the body, including connective tissues and the respiratory system.
+1 360 693 1883
Vancouver, Washington, USA
Bio Serae Laboratories
Innovative concept for joint health made from bio-active milk proteins. Upgrades standard joint-health formulas by increasing anti-inflammatory effects and inhibiting MMPs for better cartilage protection.
+33 4 68 76 76 20
BioCell Collagen II
Naturally occurring and bioavailable complex of hydrolyzed collagen type II, hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulphate. Plays vital role in the body's ability to maintain healthy connective tissues that promote joint mobility and youthful-looking skin.
+1 714 632 1231
Newport Beach, California, USA
Cargill Corn Milling
The only glucosamine with GRAS status, expanding market opportunities into food and beverage. Vegetarian-sourced, eliminating shellfish allergen labeling. US-produced. Kosher and Halal certified.
Wayzata, Minnesota, USA
Incromega EPA 700
High-potency EPA concentrate offering 70 per cent EPA. Eicosapentaenoic acid plays an important role in controlling inflammation. Perfect way to naturally maintain the body's suppleness, flexibility and movement.
+44 (0) 1405 860551
East Yorkshire, UK
Most nutritious part of the baobab tree, the fruit. High content of ascorbic acid. Pulp can provide up to 360mg of vitamin C per 100g, approximately equal to the amount in six oranges. Contains approximately twice the calcium of milk.
+1 973 759 2002
Belleville, New Jersey, USA
Embria Health Sciences
All-natural, nutrient-rich ingredient that helps balance the immune system. Manufactured using a proprietary technology that produces vital metabolites, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Clinical studies show significant decrease in cold, flu and seasonal allergy symptoms. Also shown to activate crucial defense cells.
+1 877 362 7421
Ankeny, Iowa, USA
EPAX 4510 TG
Formula based on numerous clinical trials. Designed to deliver high levels of concentrated EPA to provide nutrition to joints.
+47 7013 5960
Vegetarian source, kosher, non-GMO, non-irradiated and ETO-free. Available in sulphate and HCl, in powder and granular forms. Water-soluble for beverage use. Pure white, free flowing.
+1 866 459 4454
San Anselmo, California, USA
Standardised hyaluronic acid in the sodium hyaluronate form. Available in food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical-grade dosages.
+1 909 627 5268
Chino, CA, USA
Galacto oligosaccharides. Prebiotic ingredient derived from dairy. Reported to have good tolerance in humans vs other prebiotics. Closely resembles the oligosaccharides present in human milk. Provides key benefits for digestive health, mineral adsorption and immunity support.
+1 773 569 8599
Stimulates cartilage metabolism and enhances the synthesis of cartilage cells.
+49 6271 84 01
Patented ingredient consists of undenatured type II collagen for complete joint health. Helps promote healthy joints and increases joint mobility and flexibility. The only source of undenatured type II collagen available as a dietary ingredient.
+1 800 783 4636
Benicia, California, USA
Natural Health Science
French maritime pine-bark extract. Natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory offering multiple joint-health benefits.
+1 877 369 9934
Hoboken, New Jersey, USA
Vitamin K2. Available in both MK-4 and MK-7 forms. Kosher certified, non-GMO and allergen free.
+86 21 6432 7138
Can be used topically or taken as a tablet, capsule or softgel. Cream is clinically shown to work in the quick relief of pain.
+1 800 526 0609
Kearny, New Jersey, USA
Acts both on pain management and on cartilage regeneration.
+1 845 651 4443
Florida, New York, USA
Premium Ingredients International
Natural glucosamine derived from crustacean exoskeletons. Available in two forms, hydrochloride or sulphate. Base ingredient in joint health dietary supplements. Medical studies show anti-inflammatory properties that help to rebuild and repair cartilage.
+1 630 868 0300
Carol Stream, Illinois, USA
TSI Health Sciences
Chondroitin and glucosamine produced in facilities meeting the strictest international monographs and with cGMP certification.
+1 406 549 9123
Missoula, Montana, USA
UAS Joint Formula
Combination includes glucosamine sulphate, chondroitin sulphate, MSM, and boswellia.
+1 952 935 1707
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
For joint health.
+1 888 886 2588
Bellevue, Washington, USA
Patented, natural, food-based composition containing plant extracts from two botanicals, scutellaria baicalensisand acacia catechu. Enriched for specific bioflavonoids and clinically proven to alleviate joint discomfort, reduce stiffness and improve mobility. Studies show effective modulation of the COX/LOX enzyme function resulting in reduced inflammation.
+1 360 486 8200
Lacey, Washington, USA
Derived from chitosan. Aids in joint pain relief and swelling reduction.
+1 888 WILD FLAVORS
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA