Nutrition Firms Vie for Their Piece of the Diabetes Management Pie


A blood-sugar regulator hidden in your tortillas. A pasta sauce that prompts your pancreas to produce more insulin. A daily capsule that ushers glucose into your cells and prompts it to metabolize better when it gets there. These are but a few of the blood-sugar management products that supplement and functional ingredient companies have developed over the past two years in response to the increased consumer clamoring for natural alternatives for the management of diabetes and metabolic syndrome. “The diabetes and metabolic syndrome prevalence rates are getting very high and some of the drugs are showing side effects,” said clinical nutritionist and metabolic syndrome researcher Vijaya Juturu, Ph.D., referring to the cardiovascular and other complications that have been associated with some popular diabetes medications. “When people are afraid of drug side effects, they try dietary supplements.”

Growing just faster than the total pharmaceutical industry, the $5.6 billion U.S. prescription diabetes drug market grew 5.5% in 2007, making up 89% of total diabetes health products sales, according to IMS Health data. Sales of diabetes-related supplements, however, grew 35% faster than the rate of diabetes prescription drugs, bringing in $666 million on 7.5% growth in 2007, NBJ research shows. Top supplements in diabetes health and management include fiber, B vitamins, magnesium and $43 million worth of chromium supplements. In total, the diabetes supplement market added $46 million in new sales in 2007, $13 million more than was added in 2006.

Nutrition Business Journal provides an in-depth look at diabetes and 15 other condition-specific health categories in our Condition-Specific Supplements and Functional Ingredients issue, which publishes later this month. To order your copy of the issue or to subscribe to NBJ, go to www.nutritionbusinessjournal.com.

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