What do women want? Post-menopause, at least, healthy bones and no breast cancer are surely atop the list.
It's what has made soy the smash hit it is among the fairer sex. But soy isn't the half of it. Estrogen-like compounds from plants have received interest from the research community and consumers alike because of their possible benefits to menopause-related conditions. These compounds include soy-based supplements containing isoflavones such as genestein; lignans from flaxseed; and traditional herbs such as black cohosh, vitex, wild yam and red clover.
"With 20 per cent annual average growth in our [botanicals] sales over the past few years, the market has been far from flat for us," says Antoince Dauby from Naturex. The company created a new division, called NAT'Life, which is dedicated to tailoring specific botanicals to specific health conditions. Tribulus, as a natural hormone replacement, is an example of an offering in the women's health line.
Bone health is a constant concern for older women. PL Thomas' MenaQ7 natural vitamin K2 removes excess calcium from arteries, where it is not needed, and deposits it in bones, where it is. This is akin to a double-bonus for women, who suffer far less incidence of cardiovascular disease than men — before menopause. After the change, rates equal out — one likely cause being iron stores in blood.
MenaQ7 provides natural vitamin K2 as an extract of natto, a fermented soy food from Japan. Natto is particularly rich in the highly bioavailable form of vitamin K2 called menaquinone-7 (MK-7). Studies of natto consumption in Japan have linked menaquinone-7 to greater bone health and reduction in risk factors. PL Thomas entered into an exclusive agreement with NattoPharma, UK, to distribute Natural Vitamin K2, which is produced in Japan.
ESM Technologies has a novel ingredient for bone health, a calcium derived from egg shells. "It combines a natural form of calcium carbonate with the inherent proteins nature requires for calcium absorption," says ESM president Micah Osborne. "And it all comes from nature's perfect food, the egg."
Of course, women also drive the $7 billion natural and organic personal-care market — a 17 per cent increase over 2006, according to the Natural Products Association. The naturals sector now accounts for 12.5 per cent of the overall $56 billion US personal care market.
To help tend to the integrity of the natural and organic personal-care market, the NPA in 2008 unveiled its Natural Certification Program. To qualify for the seal of approval, a product must contain:
- at least 95 per cent truly natural ingredients or ingredients that are derived from natural sources
- no ingredients with any suspected human health risks
- ingredients that come from a renewable or plentiful source found in nature
- non-natural ingredients only when a viable natural alternative ingredient is unavailable, and only then when there are no suspected potential human health risks.
The full set of criteria can be found on the NPA website at www.naturalproducts assoc.org/certifiednatural
Novasoy Soy Isoflavones: Natural plant phytonutrients, a class of plant-based compounds found in soy. Clinical research shows that soy isoflavones have many potential health-maintenance benefits, such as reducing menopausal symptoms and maintaining bone health. Ideal for adult meal replacements, healthful beverages and healthful bars.
+1 800 637 5843
Decatur, Illinois, USA
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
Osteo-Life: A proprietary new blend reflecting the exact dosage used in a two-year US study of 400 patients that showed an increase in bone-mass density.
+1 952 920 7700
North Bergen, New Jersey, USA
GAT Food Essentials
Ferrum Lac: A functional-foods ingredient delivering iron II from lactate, a highly bioavailable form of iron, in a format that ensures stabilization of the iron itself while also preventing other ingredients from interacting with it. Offers a stable, convenient form of iron fortification.
+43 2624 53922
Super CitriMax: An all-natural, safe and effective plant extract containing (-)hydroxycitric acid (HCA). A clinically proven diet ingredient that suppresses appetite and inhibits fat production, without stimulating the central nervous system.
+1 800 783 4636
Benicia, California, USA
Lumistor Hydroxyproline: A fermentation-based, non-animal-origin moisturizing amino acid for skin, hair, nails and joint health. New studies on oral and topical use show increased skin moisturisation and collagen synthesis. Also increases the moisture retention of skin, hair and nails, imparting softness and radiance.
+1 212 319 5353
New York, New York, USA
I3C: Indole 3 Carbinol: Numerous NIH studies demonstrate that I3C assists proper cell regulation and sex-hormone processes.
+1 201 935 2111
Carlstadt, New Jersey, USA
Vitamins Raw Materials
+1 732 287 6102
Fenugreek Seed: Recommended for lactation. Used by nursing mothers for centuries. Affects mammary tissue by stimulating milk ducts and ejection. Eaten as a vegetable rich in fatty acids. Certified organic.
Goat's Rue: Stimulates mammary-tissue development. Developing healthy mammary tissue has enabled adoptive mothers, mothers with breast surgery, mothers with polycystic ovarian syndrome and androgen-excess mothers to successfully breastfeed their babies. Widely used in Europe, and recently gaining attention as the strongest of the galactogogue herbs.
Nettles: An all-around nourishing herb. High in vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids, nettles fill in nutritional gaps for overall wellness. Supports healthy liver function with no known side effects. Formic acid from young leaves is said to stimulate circulation, relieving arthritis and rheumatism and stimulating lactation.
+1 970 493 2892
Laporte, Colorado, USA
BioCore Optimum Complete: A broad-spectrum enzyme blend offering all of the activity in BioCore Optimum plus alpha-galactosidase, lactase and acid-maltase.
+1 800 825 8545
Forsyth, Missouri, USA
Lifenol: Patented hop extract (Humulus lupulus L). Offers a natural solution to menopausal women. Two clinical studies show a significant reduction of menopausal discomforts, especially hot flashes (120mg/d). Activity is linked to a particular composition in prenylflavonoids, guaranteed by the standardization in 8-prenylnaringenine, 6-prenylnaringenine, xanthohumol and isoxanthohumol. Studies confirm the oestrogenic activity and clearly demonstrate complete safety.
+33 (0)5 57 55 31 58
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
Calcium Aminokel: Highly bioavailable calcium amino acid chelates. Ideal for helping to prevent bone-density loss that may lead to osteoporosis. Once bonded to the amino acid glycine becomes a more stable and compact molecule that delivers a higher rate of absorption of approximately 40 per cent.
+1 305 270 3774
Miami, Florida, 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
Vitamin K2 (MK7): Natural bacterial-fermentation technology gives marketers and manufacturers the competitive advantage they are looking for with high quality, competitive pricing and a non-Chinese source.
+1 949 502 4770
Irvine, California, USA
Soft Gel Technologies
Cerenew: A proprietary compound that blends Injuv hyaluronic acid complex, biotin and ceramide in a powerful cosmeceutical to restore youthful, glowing skin. Clinically proven, when used in tandem with a topical ceramide-containing cream, to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, brighten the complexion and tighten sagging skin.
+1 323 726 0700
Los Angeles, California, USA
Crannose Extra-Strength Women's Health Formula: Promotes urinary-tract health by naturally, effectively inhibiting the adhesion of bacteria for quick, harmless elimination. Can be taken in double dosage for UTIs or daily to support urinary function, prevention.
+1 352 357 2004
Eustis, Florida, USA