A holistic approach to healthy ageing has become more prevalent in recent years. Taking into account physical and mental well-being, consumers of all ages understand how different lifestyle choices - such as diet - can have an impact on the ageing process. To prevent the onset of certain conditions, food supplements are an increasingly popular and convenient way for people to achieve multiple health benefits and support ageing well. Joint health, for instance, is one such category within the healthy ageing market that has evolved significantly in recent years, with maintaining mobility being a key consideration across the generations.
"As we age, the cartilage between our joints becomes more susceptible to degradation over time, leading to stiffness, discomfort, loss of mobility and, in some cases, osteoarthritis," says Juliana Erickson, a senior category marketing manager of consumer health and nutrition at Lonza. "Demand for products supporting joint health has continued to grow, with Italy and the UK seeing the highest sales of dietary supplements carrying joint health claims in Europe. The markets in these two countries also experienced the largest growth in retail value between 2012 and 2016."
Consumers face a wide variety of choices and expect optimal results from the products they consume. Now, more than ever before, people are well informed about the products they purchase and their benefits, Erickson claims. There is a growing demand across the industry for manufacturers to demonstrate product efficacy and innovation, with ingredients that are backed by strong scientific evidence.
One such ingredient is UC-II undenatured type II collagen, which was launched at May's Vitafoods Europe in Geneva.
"Collagen is one of the main components of our cartilage," explains Erickson. "As we age, our body's natural ability to produce collagen slows down, which can lead to joint discomfort and immobility. Lonza's UC-II ingredient has been shown to initiate cell-signalling cascades that use the body's natural repair mechanisms in the joints and, therefore, plays a role in supporting the rebuilding of this cartilage."
Supported by evidence from a wide range of clinical studies, the ingredient has been proved to significantly help improve joint function, mobility, and flexibility in healthy subjects and those with osteoarthritis of the knee. Taken in low daily doses of 40mg, UC-II has also proved to be more effective at addressing these joint health issues than the traditional glucosamine plus chondroitin combination.
Selecting the correct dosage form is crucial for the optimal, targeted delivery of healthy ageing ingredients, and can also help to meet consumers' growing preferences. In a consumer survey commissioned by Lonza - which was conducted by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) - 76% of people stated that they look for products that are easy to digest, while 75% prefer supplements that are easy to swallow.
"Capsules are a preferred dosage form among many supplement manufacturers, as they enable the safe and secure containment of a wide range of ingredients, including powders, liquids and semi-solids, and are easier for consumers to swallow," says Erickson. "Innovations in technology are giving manufacturers and brand-owners more solutions to provide convenient joint health options beyond the more traditional delivery formats; for example, Lonza's next-generation Capsugel Vcaps Plus vegetarian capsules enable the formulation of a small dose of the UC-II ingredient, helping to maintain optimal bone and joint health in one convenient daily capsule."
As the healthy ageing industry becomes more competitive, brands are finding innovative ways to stand out from the crowd. As a result, there is an increased demand for sciencebacked ingredients in categories such as joint health, which enable supplement manufacturers to successfully create market-leading products in this fast-moving space.
References available upon request.