TV Shows Stir Health Markets in Japan

The popularity of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) exploded in Japan right after it was introduced to the public last September in a popular Japanese health and fitness TV show “Hakkutu! Aruaru Daijiten”. Since then, TV shows have gained more influence than ever in the Japanese health industry. CoQ10, Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), and L-Carnitine are major examples of ingredients that became popular among consumers through the above TV show. The three ingredients have already been showing satisfactory results in health markets in other countries, and are approved as “foods” by the Japanese government.

It is a well-known and impressive phenomenon that inventories of CoQ10 related products were gobbled up and people were abuzz over the ingredient right after it was introduced last September. SHISEIDO Medical sold 2 million CoQ10 items worth 8 billion yen (74 million US dollars) last year. The company said it was an extraordinary situation where inventory, which supposed to last for half a year, ran out within a week right after the show. Nisshin Pharma Inc. also made a brilliant achievement with its CoQ10 product line. Half a year has now passed since the airing, but the heightened popularity has continued. A shortage of the ingredient is still a concern in the industry, but drug stores are setting up exclusive sections for CoQ10 products.

In the case of ALA, it was introduced in the program as “the savior for decreasing body fat”, and was emphasized as an ingredient designed for dieting, which stirred consumer demand. Minato Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. said that it had a rush of orders of related products from retailers and wholesalers prior to the TV show, and the company is confident that it will sell 1 million items a year. Since the airing 2 months ago,, a major shopping website for health products, has received 1.5 times more accesses than it received for CoQ10 and this interest too is being maintained.

L-Carnitine, which was aired on the show March 27th, was introduced as one of the three sides of a triangle necessary for dieting, the other two sides being CoQ10 and ALA. A mail-order company, HAITEKU SERVICE Co., Ltd. advertised its L-Carnitine products in 48 newspapers the next morning, and it sold out 1600 items in just ten minutes. However, unlike the case of CoQ10 and ALA, there wasn’t much chaos in the stores after the show, since the stores had secured enough L-Carnitine products prior to the TV program.

Zedoary is another diet ingredient whose demand expanded after it was introduced in a different health program “Supa Supa Ningen Gaku”. The program mentioned that zedoary excretes wastes from the body and eases and coprostasis, and showed an experiment that slimmed down a subject’s waistline by 2.8 inches.

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