Turmeric Root

Inflammation: A new condition-driven market making waves

In acute injuries, from contusions to headaches, inflammation is part of the body’s natural healing mechanisms. However, when inflammation assumes a chronic, low-level character—the kind egged on by poor diets that include lots of refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats like omega-6-laden processed foods—the long-term effects of such inflammation manifest in most of the diseases you can imagine.

“The modern Western diet is a great way to induce inflammation. The modern diet is energy-dense, nutrient-poor, high-fat, calorie-rich,” said Britt Burton-Freeman, PhD, an associate researcher in the department of nutrition at UC-Davis. “It induces an increase in reactive oxygen species, which if not taken care of by endogenous systems will give us this metabolic oxidative stress that stimulates inflammatory genes and finally inflammation.”

The role of inflammation in the aging process has only recently been studied in earnest. A state of chronic, low-level inflammation means elevated levels of NF-kappa B—as well as C-reactive protein, another pro-inflammatory marker—and elevated levels are associated with increased death. 


Fi: What are your projections for the growth of the sector for the coming year?

Christian Artaria, Marketing Director & Head of Functional Food Development, Indena S.p.A.

The widespread success of glucosamine/chondroitin products has proven that natural options will be accepted by consumers. With market maturation for these ingredients, we're now witnessing a renewed emphasis on new product development that features novel ingredients. These ingredients allow manufacturers to differentiate its products in the joint health category and rely on supporting clinical research. Meriva from Indena offers manufacturers a unique and clinically supported ingredient.


Reza Kamarei, PhD, Vice President, Science and Technology, Sabinsa Corporation

We project that the sector representing dietary supplements targeted toward inflammation will continue to grow. It would not be surprising to see growth of 10-15 percent.


KG Rao, CEO Dolcas Biotech

As modern science evolves the use of various natural dietary products coupled with well-balanced consumer education, this industry is definitely bound to grow tremendously in the coming year. It is difficult to project specific volumes, but it would be fairly safe to say that the market share for natural supplements may increase between 20-40 percent each year.


Fi: What is the key market driver?

CA: The key market driver is the baby boomers and elderly seeking joint health products to enhance mobility and maintain an active lifestyle. The category remains one of the best in the specialty supplement market for this reason.

RK: There are three market drivers for this sector:

1). Further scientific and clinical confirmation that chronic inflammation is associated with numerous disorders such as cancer, atherosclerosis, inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

2). Considering the baby boomer population confronting the above diseases, the increasing demand for dietary supplements targeted toward inflammation is easily understood.

3). Dietary supplement ingredient and product companies take advantage of the above trends and come up with new more advanced products for the marketplace.  When these products are supported by clinical trials based on Good Clinical Practice (GCP), they will be more acceptable to the medical community and the consumer.

KGR: Our lifestyle and dietary habit plays a big role in our well-being. Unfortunately both are neglected to a great extent. Currently we have a huge population of over the age 30 and above having some sort of chronic inflammatory conditions such as diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol.

Plants and herbals have been used for many centuries in different cultures around the world. Although we have anecdotal evidence for their efficacy, we have gathered new mechanistic insights that help us better understand how these herbals suppress various chronic inflammatory conditions in our bodies. Researchers and nutraceutical companies around the world are spending a tremendous amount of resources to understand the beneficial effects of specific herbs, which will be pivotal in the contribution towards educating consumers in the coming years.

I believe our industry is on a right track, by investing more time on research and science behind all these natural ingredients, we as a society will reap the fruits for this knowledge in the near future.


Fi: How does your ingredient fit into the overall joint health picture?

KGR: Numerous lines of evidence suggest that curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant agent. Curcumin is known to suppress activation of the transcription factor NF-kB, which regulates the expression of pro-inflammatory gene products. Curcumin has also been shown to down-regulate the expression of COX, an enzyme linked to most types of inflammation. It also inhibits the expression of 5-LOX, which is another pro-inflammatory enzyme.

Scientific research has shown that curcumin has the ability to down-regulate the expression of various cell surface adhesion molecules that have been linked with inflammation. Curcumin has also been shown to inhibit the action of TNF, one of the most pro-inflammatory cytokines and down regulate various other inflammatory cytokines (including IL-1, IL-6, IL-8 and chemokines).

CA: The improved oral bioavailability of curcumin as Meriva has been translated into clinical efficacy for addressing the natural inflammatory response function at dosages significantly lower than those associated to uncomplexed curcumin. In particular, two studies have been performed in patients affected by joint health challenges. The results of these studies showed that the Meriva-treated group enjoyed a statistically significant reduction in all primary clinical endpoints, the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities (WOMAC) score (decreased from 80.6 to 33.2), the Karnofsky Performance Scale (improved from 73.3 to 92.2), and the treadmill walking performance test. These results were complemented by the evaluation of a series of inflammatory response function markers broader than the ones considered in the first study (interleukin [IL]-1b, IL-6, soluble CD40 ligand [sCD40L], soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule (sVCAM)-1, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate [ESR]) that also showed a marked reduction in the Meriva-treated group. Conversely, no significant variation was observed in the “best available treatment” control group.

RK: Curcumin C3 Complex stands out for consistent composition of the three curcuminoids in the same ratio in every batch that Sabinsa markets. This assured uniformity will ensure consistency of biological response for all batches. The three curcuminoids are always present in the same ratio as per the spec sheet invariant from batch to batch with the highest quality material available in the market. Also several papers have appeared on various clinical investigations on cancer using Sabinsa's Curcumin C3 Complex. A clinical trial on product NiLitis (Curcumin C3 Complex, together with Boswellin and ginger extract) was effective in reducing pain and discomfort in osteoarthritis patients.  There are several more clinical investigations that have used or are using Curcumin C3 Complex.


Fi: Chronic inflammation underlies many disease states and so quelling this condition seems to verge on a disease claim. How do you communicate the advantages of your product without running afoul of regulators?

CA: Indena is an international ingredient producer and thus it is very complex to match with claim regulations worldwide when describing a global ingredient, even if it must be stated that we are not communicating to consumers, that said over the past couple of years the FDA and FTC have sent a clear message with its increased enforcement actions. This message includes making appropriate claims with verifying proof. We are not claiming our ingredients are treating, curing, or preventing any disease and the wording Indena is using to describe the activity of our ingredients to our customers is used accordingly.

RK: Not for Curcumin C3 Complex, nor for any other dietary ingredients or dietary supplements, do we make drug or disease claims. In fact we always show a FDA disclaimer for our dietary ingredients/supplements.  Our claims are related to the “health” with expressions such as: “helps to maintain healthy….”, “helps to promote healthy….”

KGR: One of the issues of curcumin is its poor absorption. Since our BCM-95 is several times better absorbed, it is a more preferred choice of curcumin to our consumers. Curcumin has been studied for decades for various inflammatory properties and more than 4000 studies have been published around the world—all of which are accessible online so consumers can make their own decisions.


Condition Specific Directory: INFLAMMATION

Dolcas Biotech





Horphag Research

Pycnogenol pine bark extract



Indena S.p.A.

Meriva curcumin



Ixoreal Biomed Private Ltd.

KSM-66 ashwaganda



Sabinsa Corp.

Curcumin C3 Complex


Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.