Reeling in the years: Innovation to help older consumers

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06 Sep 2017 --- Healthy aging through nutrition is a hot topic as Healthy Aging Month continues in the US. Today, in the second part of a special report, we look at the innovations and ingredients that companies are hoping will prove a success in the healthy aging market.

Healthy aging products to see focused innovation
The future presents several opportunities for healthy aging products. For its part, Evonik is particularly focused on two areas going forward. “Good science is delivered through a focus on key competencies,” says Dr. Ludger Eilers, Director of Food Ingredients at Evonik Health Care. “We like to highlight two categories for healthy aging products: cardiovascular health and cognitive health.”

The company is addressing cardiovascular health with its omega 3 products. “Evonik has developed a superior omega 3 formulation which is a solid form of omega 3 (or other polyunsaturated fatty acids),” Eilers explains. “Our new product combines the highest concentration of solid omega 3, with unique bioavailability and unmatched stability. The product can be used in direct compression and highly concentrated bioavailable small omega 3 tablets can be developed which are easier to swallow than conventional products. Evonik will launch this product, branded as AvailOm, at Supply Side West and it will be a game changer in the omega 3 market.”

When it comes to cognitive health, “our product Healthberry is a highly concentrated anthocyanin extract derived from blackcurrant and bilberry with one of the highest concentrations in the market,” says Eilers. “This product is ideal to manufacture high value healthy functional food or functional beverages and is supported by more than 15 international studies. Currently, two studies are being entered focusing on reduction of effects caused by dementia. With more than 350 subjects, the first study is already among the largest studies for functional ingredients of this category.”

Naturex is also looking to innovate in the cognition category. “We are conducting a research program on blueberry (Thinkblue) and American ginseng (Cereboost),” says Timothée Olagne, Nutrition & Health Marketing Vice President at Naturex. “We’re also looking to provide more natural ways to effectively reduce pain and inflammation through the launch of an organic turmeric with the highest content in curcuminoids to help reduce inflammation. We are continuing our research to extend our offer of clean and high-performance ingredients based on turmeric and other less known but highly effective plants.”

“We speculate that the innovation for natural ingredients to address healthy aging will be in the development of personalized nutritional/diet plans comprising these natural ingredients for consumers through genome research in order to avoid certain factors that may trigger the onset of certain [diseases],” Business Development Manager Bryan See says of ExcelVite’s thoughts on innovation. “Much research and [many] clinical trials are still needed before this could become a common application for every consumer.”

New ingredients on the rise present new opportunities
Age brings ailments that could be addressed with new ingredients. “There is a growing need for sarcopenia products in the market,” reports Eilers. “Sarcopenia – age related muscle loss – is becoming a serious issue in many developed countries. Evonik has identified the challenge and is working actively on solutions. We have a product that is currently [being] tested in clinical studies which is scheduled for launch in 2018 branded as Myolution. Myolution will positively address muscle loss, is supported by strong clinical data and comes with pleasant taste options.”

“Elderly people do not eat as much as younger people, and so they also run the risk of having certain nutrient deficiencies,” says Klaus Brockhausen, Sales Director at Dr. Paul Lohmann, adding that the addition of minerals can be effective in the diets of elderly people.

“The main application forms here are in food supplements. We do not see general food for seniors; sometimes you see products that are rich in calcium, referring to bone health concepts. This is perhaps the only thing that elderly consumers are aware of when it comes to front-of-pack claims. If they need additional nutrients, they usually get through food supplements,” Brockhausen says.

“It can be challenging in terms of foods, but older people are more likely to buy supplements, like magnesium, which is quite often needed for cramps, etc,” Brockhausen adds.

The shortening of telomere is a natural process that occurs with DNA replication and it is also a culprit for some aging issues, according to See. “Telomere length is associated with cellular aging, cancer and an elevated risk of developing an age-related disease and vice versa” See says. “However, research has shown that some natural ingredients or compounds are capable of slowing the rate of telomere shortening and hence promoting anti-aging.”

One example of an ExcelVite ingredient that aims to slow this shortening is EVNol SupraBio. See notes: “Non-GMO palm tocotrienol complex has been shown to provide benefits through telomere protection; in addition to existing research that shows it promotes heart, vascular and skin health. These health aspects are all relevant to aging consumers.”

“A study conducted by researchers in Malaysia (Makpol S, et al., 2010) has shown that pre-treatment of gamma-tocotrienol (about 48 percent of total tocotrienol in a mixed tocotrienol complex) protects adults’ (three age groups of 21, 40 and 68 respectively) normal skin fibroblast cells against oxidative stress-induced cellular aging,” See says, citing known evidence.

In addition, ExcelVite promotes its non-GMO, natural mixed-carotene complex EVTene. “Increased levels of blood carotenoids through high consumption of carotenoid-rich foods have been shown to be associated with longer telomere,” See says.

Meanwhile, ingredients to deal with inflammation are in Naturex’s sights. “For those looking to reduce inflammation without the use of NSAIDs, we offer two effective alternatives: Turmipure, our line of turmeric ingredients sustainably sourced in India, and devil’s claw, which is sustainably harvested using traditional methods in Namibia,” says Olagne. “Both plants are backed by numerous scientific studies demonstrating their anti-inflammatory properties.”

By Paul Creasy

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