Speakers Address Consumer Buying Trends and Supplement Use
GREENSBORO, NC — Banner Pharmacaps recently held its 4 th Annual Education Symposium at the Grandover Resort. Key leaders in the nutrition industry addressed diverse topics such as: health consumer attitudes and buying trends; menopause and natural alternatives; and optimum nutrition for healthier eyes.
“The marketplace demands quality products and sound marketing that can deliver the clear facts,” says John Barbee, senior vice president in nutritional sales and marketing for Banner. “We have to be proactive not only in the area of consumer preferred delivery systems, but also in how we communicate the benefits of those products to consumers,” says Barbee. “When consumers have accurate information about nutritional and natural supplements, they can make beneficial health decisions for themselves and their families.”
Original Research Presented about Health Consumer Attitudes and Buying Trends
Laurie Demeritt, president of The Hartman Group, presented the results of a study designed in advance by symposium participants to understand consumer attitudes better in order to increase the effectiveness of new product launches. The consumers surveyed represented those with a higher-than-average interest in health and wellness.
Consistent with prior research, consumer attitudes differ, depending on whether they are “core users,” “mid-level users” or “periphery” users. For instance, younger consumers as well as periphery users rely very heavily on their health care provider for supplement information. Core users rely more on books. All users rely heavily on product labels for information.
One of the questions explored dealt with the trade off between large tablet size and multiple tablets for a particular supplement. Core users are more willing to take fewer, larger tablets, whereas periphery users would prefer more tablets of a smaller size.
It also appears that the influence of the media, while still strong, may not be as influencing a factor as it has been. Of the group surveyed, 25 percent indicated that articles appearing in the press do not affect their purchase of a specific supplement, while 68 percent say that it affects them a little—they add it to the information they already have. Only seven percent indicate that they purchase based on what they hear.
Menopause and Natural Alternatives
Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, from the University of Mexico, Dept. of Family Medicine says, “More than 40 million American women are 50 years or older and 20 million more will reach menopause within the next decade.” She goes on to say though hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is effective for the relief of hot flashes and night sweats, women often complain about the side effects such as bloating, breast tenderness, irritability, cramping, breakthrough bleeding or the return of monthly menstrual cycles.
Since preliminary findings from the Women's Health Initiative were released last year highlighting the risks of long-term HRT therapy, women and health care providers have been asking questions about the safety and effectiveness of alternative remedies such as soy, black cohosh and red clover.
Ten clinical trials have been conducted to determine the effectiveness of black cohosh. Studies show that the extract is well tolerated; however, recommended dosages are not consistently labeled. Red clover and soy have also been studied to determine their effectiveness in treating menopausal symptoms. To date, there is no evidence to suggest that red clover is beneficial for the treatment of menopausal symptoms or cardiac health. Of the 11 soy clinical trials completed, four were positive, five were negative and two were mixed.
Because many natural and nutritional supplement dosages are inconsistent, Dr. Low Dog recommends that consumers work with their doctors or dieticians to create personalized regimens for more effective results. Those who take a combination of two or three nutritional/natural alternatives verses one may obtain more desired results. For instance, a combination of black cohosh and soy may reduce symptoms for some women.
Clear Vision— Healthier Eyes
“Loss of sight is the second greatest fear among the elderly,” says Dr. Allen Taylor, senior scientist and director of Laboratory for Nutrition and Vision Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston . Taylor notes that in the United States, cataracts increase from about five percent at age 65 to about 50 percent in adults older than 75 years. This is significant considering that cataract is one of the major causes of blindness throughout the world— and it is preventable.
Dr. Taylor has written several briefs about nutrition and vision research. At the symposium, Taylor discussed the increasing prevalence of cataracts, an age-related eye disease, in older adults as well as delay and prevention of eye illness case studies. Such studies provide evidence regarding the use of antioxidants to delay cataract formation.
Dr. Taylor says that evidence shows “nutrients can delay and probably [in theory] prolong eye function.” Studies have shown that use of 500 mg vitamin C or 400 IU vitamin E supplements for 10 or more years decreases chances for getting cataracts in the nucleus of the lens, the most common form of cataracts.
Maintaining levels of riboflavin, folate, B-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin are also useful for extending the functional life of the lens. A good diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, with the addition of an antioxidant vitamin supplement can provide the least costly and most practical means to delay cataracts says Dr. Taylor.
Estimates suggest that there are eight million Americans at high risk for advanced macular degeneration. If they all took a supplement, more than 350,000 people would be saved from vision loss in the next five years.
Banner Pharmacaps is a global company that researches, develops, and manufactures drug delivery technologies and proprietary health care products. With state-of-the-art, FDA-approved manufacturing facilities and significant investment in research and development,
Banner provides innovative oral delivery solutions and unique products to the health care industry worldwide. A wholly owned subsidiary of Sobel N.V., Banner has operations in the United States, Canada, Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific.
Banner’s symposium was made possible with help from worldwide manufacturers and suppliers in the nutrition industry. Sponsors for this year’s event were BASF (Mount Olive, NJ); ADM Nutraceuticals (Decatur, IL); Rousselot, a Sobel Company (Waukesha, WI); Nashai (Nashville, TN); Kaneka Corporation (Osaka, Japan); Roche Vitamins, Inc. (Switzerland); Cognis Nutrition & Health (Cincinnati, OH); Pharmline (Florida, NY); Gelita North America (Sioux City, Iowa); Pharmachem Laboratories, Inc. (Kearny, NJ); Bioriginal Food & Science Corp. (Canada); and Nitta Gelatin (Rochelle Park, NJ). Banner plans to expand the symposium next year to include more international attendees and speakers.