How many ways are there to improve cardiovascular health? Many — though heart health is routinely marginalized to mean merely lowering LDL cholesterol.
"In the US cardiovascular health is still tied directly to cholesterol. There is so much more to heart health but the popular press is just starting to highlight this," says Kathy Lund, vice president of marketing and sales of the ribose ingredient division at Bioenergy Life Science.
While the oldest natural supplement to aid in improving cholesterol levels is niacin, the newest and hottest is plant sterols. Cargill and Cognis are the two major players in the sterols market, Cargill with its CoroWise brand.
"Consumers don't want to be told directly that they are managing a condition. This need to appropriately communicate to the consumer is one of the reasons Cargill has invested in proprietary consumer-marketing research when developing ingredient brands," says Pam Stauffer, global communications manager at Cargill Health and Food Technologies. "For example, the CoroWise brand has a very positive connotation and the consumer is viewed as smart/wise in choosing this solution to naturally lower cholesterol. The CoroWise brand adds value to our customers that use the logo as a communication device on their packaging as well as in their communications."
Naming ingredients is a vital part of supply giant DSM's strategy. Its tensVida ingredient is marketed for healthy blood-pressure maintenance, while resVida is for healthy ageing and geniVida to improve bone health and help reduce menopausal symptoms. "All of the Vida brands are supported by thorough scientific reviews or DSM's own research to help satisfy the demands of our valued customers as well as health-conscious consumers," says Bob Berman, senior marketing manager of functional-foods marketing at DSM Nutritional Products.
Also on the cholesterol front, an April 2009 study found fish oil lowered LDL cholesterol levels, raised HDL levels and decreased triglyceride levels of pro football players. Most people in the mainstream medical system in the US are directed toward statin drugs, but up to 20 per cent have to stop because of muscle pain, the most common side effect. But a new study validates the efficacy of red-yeast rice supplements in lowering LDL cholesterol by more than 20 per cent without a substantial risk of muscle pain.
"For some people, especially if they've had muscle aching, taking red-yeast rice and making lifestyle changes can work as well as a statin," says lead study author David Becker, MD, of Chestnut Hill Cardiology in Pennsylvania.
The problem with red-yeast rice is that it is bioidentical to statin drugs, so any marketing of it can not mention red-yeast rice's cardiovascular effects. However, retailers help consumers by adroitly placing the ingredient in with other cardio ingredients (wink, wink).
Also new to the cholesterol game, another 2009 preliminary trial with 150 people found that lycopene is able to block LDL cholesterol from clogging arteries. Apart from cholesterol, roughly a quarter of the world's adult population has high blood pressure. Cocoa flavanols can reduce hypertension as well as blood-vessel dilation. Double-blind, placebo-controlled trials aside, who can deny the lullabye effects of a chocolate bar?
Vitamin K2 has applications for both vascular health as well as bone health, reason being that natural vitamin K2 removes calcium from the arteries and directs the calcium into bones. In post-menopausal women with osteoporosis, it's been found to stop the decline of calcium. It increases flexibility in arteries for better blood flow, and reduces visibility of varicose veins. The only trick for formulators is figuring out whether to put the ingredient into heart-health or bone-health formulations. The beauty of the ingredient is use levels are only 45mcg/day, so it doesn't take up much space in a supplement.
Co-Q10 is a fat-soluble, vitamin-like substance that accumulates in the mitochondria of cells, and so especially in the heart muscle. As a bonus for formulators — especially of the pharmaceutical variety — statin drugs deplete the body of co-Q10, so if the FDA would only allow this combination product, it would make quite a bit of sense. In the meantime, doctors prescribing statins should be telling their patients to go out and take co-Q10 with their prescription.
CardioAid Plant Sterols
Class of plant-derived compounds proven effective in blocking cholesterol absorption.
+1 800 637 5843
Decatur, Illinois, USA
Magnesium Glycinate Chelate
Patented magnesium form. Fully reacted, pharmaceutical pure, anion-free chelate that is easily tolerated and highly bioavailable. CAS registered, kosher parve, clinically tested and laboratory IP validated.
+1 800 222 0733
Clearfield, Utah, USA
Natural astaxanthin produced from micro-algae. Exclusive and patented closed-cultivation system guarantees the purest, most advanced product with the highest concentration of astaxanthin.
+972 8 635 6425
Kibbutz Ketura, Israel
Grape Seed 95%
Standardized to oligomeric pro-anthocyanidins. Inhibits enzymes such as collagenase, elastase and hyaluronidase that are involved in the breakdown of structural components of human skin. Can help improve circulation and strengthen blood vessels.
+1 800 893 5306
Eugene, Oregon, USA
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.
+1 303 502 2400
Boulder, Colorado, USA
Bioenergy Life Science
Accelerates ATP synthesis, increasing the crucial energy reserves needed to preserve cardiovascular health. Supplementation can increase the heart's hypoxic threshold, improve diastolic heart function and increase quality of life in heart patients.
+1 877 474 2673
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Cargill Health & Nutrition
CoroWise Plant Sterols
Clinically shown to lower bad cholesterol, backed by an FDA heart-health claim, and recommended by the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.
+1 866 456 8872
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Tocomin SupraBio 25%
Patented and bio-enhanced natural full-spectrum palm tocotrienol complex. Guarantees an increase in absorption of tocotrienols by an average of 250 per cent compared to regular tocotrienol-oil extract. Contains gamma-, delta-, beta- and alpha-tocotrienol.
+1 732 906 1901
Heart Choice Natural Phytosterols
All Heart Choice ingredients meet requirements of the unqualified FDA-approved health claim for phytosterols and reduced risk of coronary heart disease. Industry's broadest portfolio of all-natural, kosher, non-GM/IP certified phytosterols. Ideal for a variety of functional-foods applications.
+1 708 579 6188
Containing the three omega-3 fatty acids responsible for effective cardiovascular function. EPA improves cholesterol balance. DPA promotes new blood-vessel formation. DHA may help reduce blood pressure. Together, the balanced solution offers the consumer complete cardiovascular care.
+44 (0) 1405 860551
East Yorkshire, UK
Extract from brown algae rich in phytotannins. Clinically proven to significantly increase the production of aortic nitric oxide, well known for vasorelaxant and antithrombin effects, and to reduce the susceptibility of VLDL and LDL cholesterol-rich lipoproteins to oxidation ex vivo.
+1 845 268 5200
DSM Nutritional Products
Milk-derived tripeptide, which helps maintain healthy blood pressure. Ideal for many food, beverage and dietary-supplement applications. Today's most effective lactotripeptide that meets the growing demand for effective heart-health solutions.
+1 800 526 0189
Proprietary complex of marine-derived DHA/EPA either as triglycerides or attached to phospholipids together with a significant amount of astaxanthin.
+1 973 912 9400
Springfield, New Jersey, USA
Heart health is a major concern for the Western world. Marine-based EPA and DHA Omega-3 fatty acid concentrates play a key protective role against cardiovascular diseases, as a number of clinical studies have shown.
+47 70 13 59 60
Natural trans-resveratrol produced by fermentation. High-purity product supplied in white crystalline powder for supplement, functional-foods, cosmetics, cosmeceuticals and pharma industries.
+45 47 18 84 00
GAT Food Essentials
Wide range of microencapsulated omega-3 fatty acids, including an organic (BIO) certified ingredient. All products use natural and non-GMO ingredients and are certified kosher by Orthodox Union.
+43 2624 53922
Natural whole almonds
FDA issued a qualified health claim in 2003 that states: "Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease."
+1 209 883 0403
Hughson, California, USA
Used in a study on elevated blood pressure at the University of Negev in Beer Sheva, Israel, by Dr Ester Paran. Study participants received 15mg a day for eight weeks and showed good results in lowering moderately elevated blood pressure.
+1 760 539 7044
Orange, New Jersey, USA
Mineral Resources International
Anderson's Concentrated Mineral Drops
All-natural, low-sodium, full-spectrum mineral supplement from Utah's Great Salt Lake. Rich in magnesium, with full spectrum of naturally occurring minerals and trace minerals. GRAS. Passes the US Food Chemicals Codex heavy-metals safety test.
An innovative, low-sodium option with a patent-pending ingredient and recipes to reduce added sodium in processed foods while maintaining full salt flavour. Enhances the flavour of many foods.
+1 800 731 7866
Ogden, Utah, USA
Natural Health Science
French maritime pine-bark extract. Natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory offering a variety of heart and circulatory health benefits. Backed by 40 years of research and more than 220 scientific publications. Safe and viable. Reduces inflammation in the body, restores healthy endothelial function, lowers high blood pressure and manages cholesterol.
+1 877 369 9934
Hoboken, New Jersey, USA
Nutra Products Inc.
Garli-eze high allicin buffered garlic from Nutra Products, Inc. demonstrated in a recent clinical study that the bioavailability of allicin in Garli-eze is EQUAL to fresh macerated garlic without the stomach discomfort or unsocial side effects. Available now!
+1 707 864 3420
A rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fibre, antioxidants and lignans. Offers a wide range of health benefits, including cardiovascular health. Flaxseed's lignans are strong antioxidants and phyto-oestrogens, low in carbohydrates, high in protein, and rich in dietary fibre (27 per cent).
Fitchburg, Wisconsin 53719
+1 877 244 7155
MegaNatural-BP Grape Seed Extract
Clinically proven to support healthy blood presure within the normal range in patients with metabolic syndrome and prehypertension.
+1 866 308 7678
Madera, California, USA
San Francisco Herb & Natural Food
Contains heart-affecting compounds that may affect blood pressure and heart rate.
+1 800 227 2830
Fremont, California, USA
SourceOne Global Partners
Unique and patented solution to dramatically improving the absorption and bioavailabilty of co-Q10 in either the ubiquinol or ubiquinone form. Clinical evidence supports this effect on omega 3, vitamin D, resveratrol, citrus PMF, tocotrienols and more.
+1 800 755 4996
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Helps maintain healthy blood-cholesterol levels. Facilitates the lowering of serum cholesterol. Certain levels of phytosterols enable the advertisement of an FDA health claim.
+1 888 WILD FLAVORS
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA