Ballooning rates of diabetes spur supplement sector growth

Ballooning rates of diabetes spur supplement sector growth

As more and more Americans are diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes, ingredient suppliers and supplement manufacturers rush to meet the health needs of this growing population.


The diabetes supplement market has seen impressive growth. In 2006, Nutrition Business Journal put diabetes supplement sales at $670 million. By 2010 that number reached $1.0 billion—that’s 50 percent growth in four years. The demand for healthy ingredients that may help prevent and manage this chronic disease is growing as fast as the rates of illness. According to Steve French, managing partner and owner of the Natural Marketing Institute, in 2005 26 percent of Baby Boomers wanted to add more ingredients that help balance blood sugar levels. By 2012 that number for the same age group has risen to 42 percent.


Fi: What are your projections for the growth of the diabetes/blood sugar market for the coming year?

Paul Dijkstra, CEO InterHealth Nutraceuticals

The market is at a bit of a standstill right now. There has not been much innovation over the last 10 or more years in this area. Zychrome will reinvigorate the blood-sugar market as the next generation chromium. The published clinical and preclinical study results are very promising. Zychrome is a step in the right direction in managing insulin function and ultimately blood sugar control for millions of Americans.

Ingredients that have been shown to affect insulin and insulin resistance will start to increase in popularity as a greater understanding of insulin’s role in regulating blood sugar increases. Manufacturers want to ensure that their consumers have the most efficacious and safe products available. Ingredients that demonstrate superiority as well as the necessary safety profile will be included in these products.


Fi: What’s going on in terms of ingredient science in this category? Do you have new studies out or in the works?

PD: Zychrome was shown in a published randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to support insulin function twice as effectively as chromium picolinate.


Frank Schonlau, PhD, Scientific Director, Horphag Research

Pycnogenol brand pine bark extract was recently investigated in double-blind, placebo-controlled study for overall improvement of metabolic syndrome. Study participants, who were both male and female, were overweight with elevated blood glucose and cholesterol levels and suffered from gradually increasing blood pressure. These study participants were instructed to follow a healthy diet and a moderate exercise routine over the six-month investigation period. One group took Pycnogenol as daily supplement while the control group received a placebo.

At the conclusion of the study, waist circumference of participants in both groups decreased. However, this decrease was more significant for the participants in the group that took Pycnogenol, with male participants in this group achieving a 102 cm higher decrease and women participants achieving a 88 cm higher decrease. Participants in the group that took Pycnogenol also achieved healthy blood sugar levels, and their triglyceride and cholesterol measures reached healthy values. Additionally, both systolic and diastolic blood pressure improved significantly in the group taking Pycnogenol compared to the control group.

Pycnogenol works in two ways for people suffering from high blood sugar. It slows sugar absorption from food and improves vascular function. As people with metabolic syndrome transition to type II diabetes, they realize a gradual increase of abdominal fat and blood pressure, as well as increased blood sugar levels. The new study shows that Pycnogenol may be very beneficial for protecting these people against a transition to diabetes.


Fi: Where do you see emerging opportunity in this category?

PD: The industry needs to do a better job at influencing diabetes educators and building awareness of how even a small lifestyle change such as supplementing with blood sugar health products can greatly impact lifelong health. InterHealth actively reaches out to diabetes educators about the research behind Zychrome and the importance of supplementing with a superior form of chromium for insulin management. Manufacturers offering blood sugar/insulin support products have no immediate plans to reformulate. Those manufacturers who are formulating new products for diabetic health, however, are extremely interested in using new ingredients to help make competitive claims and offer consumers better products for their blood sugar/insulin health.


Fi: What is the biggest threat to growth?

PD: The idea that managing blood sugar is an isolated idea that only applies to people with diabetes. It is important to educate consumers so they recognize that even if they do not have any form of diabetes, it is critical to manage blood sugar levels to help interfere with metabolic pathways that may lead to excess body weight or cardiovascular problems.

Condition-specific directory: Blood sugar management



Xtend Sucromalt 

A full-calorie, low-glycemic sweetener, ideal for use in foods where a balanced energy or blunt glucose response is desired. With a lower glycemic response than sugar and glucose, it is 70 percent as sweet as sugar. 

Truvia stevia leaf extract 

A natural, zero-calorie sweetener, Truvia brings reduced sugar and calorie innovations to food and beverage products.

Zerose erythritol 

Zerose is a natural bulk sweetener that has zero sugar, zero calories and zero aftertaste. It tastes about 60-70 percent as sweet as sugar, provides bulk, and masks the aftertaste of intense sweeteners. Suitable for dental, weight, and sugar avoiders.


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Minneapolis, Minnesota




pTeroPure is a proprietary, patent protected, nature-identical form of pterostilbene, which is found naturally in blueberries. It has superior biological activity, better oral bioavailability and metabolizes more slowly in the body than other polyphenols. Pterostilbene was found to lower blood sugar and raise insulin levels in published preliminary animal studies.


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Irvine, California


Gencor Nutrients Inc.


This new ingredient is an extract of Coccinia cordifolia, which has traditionally been consumed as a vegetable in India. A recent human clinical trial showed statistically significant reductions in levels of fasting blood glucose, post-prandial blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin.


[email protected]

Anaheim, California



InSea2: blend of polyphenols from brown seaweed


Ingredion Inc.

Hi-Maize resistant starch

This unique dietary fiber with clinically proven benefits helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels and balance energy levels between meals. Reduces product calories when used to replace flour.


[email protected]

Westchester, IL


InterHealth Nutraceuticals Inc.


Winner of the 2012 NutrAward for Best New Ingredient, Zychrome offers manufacturers the next generation of chromium for insulin management and blood-sugar formulations. It is twice as effective as chromium picolinate, GRAS certified, food and beverage friendly, and made in the USA.


[email protected]

Benicia, California


Nutrition 21

Chromax Chromium Picolinate

Chromax has clinically substantiated benefits for glucose metabolism. It is an excellent source of the essential trace mineral chromium, required by the human body for normal carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. It is an important nutrient for people concerned about glucose metabolism, weight management and mood.


[email protected]

Purchase, New York


Pharmachem Laboratories Inc.

Phase 3 White Kidney Bean Extract

Phase 2 is the first, and only, white kidney bean extract clinically studied for safety and efficacy. Shown in human studies to reduce the digestion of starch and promote weight loss. Phase 2 is a highly concentrated extract made through a proprietary process that assures its potency and purity. 


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Kearny, New Jersey


Sabinsa Corp.

Silbinol natural pterostilbene 


Soft Gel Technologies Inc.

GlucoHelp banaba extract

A fast-acting, clinically studied banaba leaf standardized extract for the maintenance of healthy blood-glucose levels. Banaba leaves contain significant amounts of corosolic acid, shown to possess anti-diabetic properties. A clinical trial demonstrated significantly reduced blood glucose levels in diabetics and supported small, but significant weight loss.


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Los Angeles, California


Wacker Chemie AG

Cavamax W6 ALA

Stabilized form of alpha-lipoic acid. Stabilization studies demonstrate a significantly enhanced stabilization of ALA when encapsulated with alpha-cylcodextrin as compared to the unprotected ALA. This free-flowing powder disperses easily in aqeous systems. 

+49 89 6279-1346

[email protected]

Munchen, Germany


XSTO Solutions LLC

Xsto Benfotiamine

Trusted, self-affirmed GRAS source of benfotiamine is a unique fat-soluble form of thiamin, a common B vitamin. As a potent antioxidant, Xsto Benfo has novel nutritional properties that support healthy blood sugar profiles and microvascular circulation by reducing advanced glycosylation end products and reactive oxygen species.


[email protected]

Morristown, New Jersey

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