As the global joint health market grows a steady 7 percent over the next three years, the category’s staple dietary ingredients and products are giving way to a fresh wave of botanicals and specialty compounds, bringing researched joint and inflammation management to a wider, active audience than those with aging bodies.
Beyond Relief. “Consumers want products that improve their health, not products that mask their symptoms,” explained Tim Hammond, vice president of sales and marketing, Bergstrom Nutrition. In fact, as joint health and function is something consumers want to preserve over a lifetime, they are looking for customized joint health solutions that are safe for long-term use. For many, this means a small, daily supplement dose—but for others, including the younger generations, alternative delivery formats are the way to joint regimen compliance in busy lives.
Herbs on the Rise. Persistent local inflammation is a recognized key driver of wear and tear joint problems, including osteoarthritis (OA). Inflammation is typically a short-term consequence of activities, but chronic or persistent inflammation can have a lasting damaging effect on joints. Turmeric has reached superfood status and is on the rise in joint health, owing largely to its primary anti-inflammatory constituent curcumin. Additional botanical ingredients offering anti-inflammatory and other joint-related researched benefits include ashwagandha, ginger, Boswellia serrata, Terminalia chebula, Bacopa monnieri and Kaempferia galangal, which has the cool nickname of “resurrection lily.”
Animals to the Rescue. Despite the growing use of botanicals for inflammation and oxidative stress control, joint health still relies heavily on supplying naturally occurring compounds found in cartilage and synovial fluid, which are commonly derived from animal sources. A popular trademark in this category involves collagen, a critical cartilage component. Research has shown undenatured collagen from chicken and collagen peptide ingredients derived from animal skin and bones deliver key amino acids crucial to improving the structure and function of cartilage and connective tissues, including inflammation management. Also, glucosaminoglycans (GAGs) and other compounds found in healthy cartilage are commonly supplemented through popular ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin from shellfish, but eggshell membrane has emerged as an alternative animal source that also delivers keratin and collagen, as well as anti-inflammatory compounds.
With consumers of all ages, activity levels and lifestyle goals tuning into natural joint health, companies will realize joint health cannot be successfully delivered widely in one formula, one format. Companies may choose to offer personalized solutions or simply have a range of joint-related products consumers can choose from to meet their individual joint health needs.
Offering glucosamine, chondroitin, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) and hyaluronic acid (HA) will no longer be enough to stand out in this market. With an array of botanicals offering researched anti-inflammatory and other joint benefits—and innovatively branded, as well as new alternative sources of compounds found in joint structures like cartilage and synovial fluid—joint health formulas will need to push the boundaries to be more unique and comprehensive.
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