From bone density, cardiovascular and circulatory issues, to cognitive ability and skin care, supplements can aim to cover a broad spectrum of health concerns for consumers looking for support as they get older.
For brands looking to develop nutritional products for the healthy aging space, a focused strategy targeting a few key areas can be very effective, rather than an “everything but the kitchen sink” approach.
It’s also important to remember that supplementation for healthy aging doesn’t have to wait until consumers reach their 50s or 60s, or when they get diagnosed with a particular ailment. Opportunities abound for brands to promote their products to younger audiences, provide support at an earlier age, and help consumers prevent and reduce the risks of certain health issues that can arise further down the road.
Additional guidance for brands looking to develop products in the healthy aging space is to remember that anti-aging is not just skin deep. Brands need to consider the bigger picture, including nutritional ingredients to support the body internally and externally, because looking good on the outside is also impacted by whether the body is functioning properly inside.
Key ingredients for healthy aging inside and out
When thinking about healthy aging supplementation, one of the more common ingredients that comes to mind in traditional supplement formulas has been glucosamine chondroitin for joint health and osteoarthritis (OA) support. This is still a valuable ingredient, but as formulating specifically for the healthy aging market has evolved, some other essential ingredients also stand out in the space for brands to tap into.
Calcium deficiencies increase as people get older, and the body begins to offset this by taking calcium from its own bones for heart, cardiovascular, muscle and other areas where it’s needed. These deficiencies can lead to brittle bones, osteoporosis and other associated issues as people age, so including calcium in a supplement formulation can be extremely beneficial to help combat these issues. The addition of nutrients such as vitamins K and D can also help with calcium absorption.
An antioxidant the body produces naturally, CoQ10 declines with age. The nutrient has been shown to help with a number of health issues associated with aging, including heart conditions, diabetes, Parkinson’s and energy production, among others. While foods such as meat, fish and nuts can help, they are not significant enough sources to increase CoQ10 levels in the body, so this is another valuable ingredient in the healthy aging supplement toolbox.
Magnesium plays a major role in helping the body absorb calcium and promote muscle, nerve and heart functions. Also, a deficiency in magnesium can increase the risk of diabetes, inflammation and heart disease. Adding magnesium into a healthy aging supplement formulation can be very effective.
Vitamins B6 and B12
To address cognitive issues associated with aging, such as memory loss and depression, inclusion of vitamins B6 and B12 in supplementation has been found to help fight cognitive decline, as well as provide bone health support.
Collagen is an abundant protein found in the body. Used to make connective tissue, it is a major component of bone, skin, muscles, tendons and cartilage, helping to make tissues strong and resilient. A multicollagen will offer the combination of all five types of collagen, as it’s sourced from beef, chicken, fish and eggshell membrane. Because these different types of collagen benefit different functions in different parts of the body, such as tensile strength and stretching of ligaments and organs, the use of multicollagen in healthy aging product development can be a great supplement addition.
A naturally produced slippery substance, scientists have found hyaluronic acid throughout the body, particularly in eyes, joints and skin. Among the key benefits associated with hyaluronic acid for healthy aging supplementation are improved joint mobility, skin hydration and flexibility, as well as wound healing and scar reduction.
Awareness of the importance of vitamin D, which is fat soluble, has continued to increase over the past decade, in part due to the increase in recommended dosages. Benefits of vitamin D not only include bone health and aiding calcium absorption, but supporting other cellular functions in the body; including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune health, muscle function and brain cell activity. While direct sun exposure is a natural source of vitamin D, the risk of skin damage and cancer needs to be considered. Including vitamin D in supplementation is important, and its popularity will continue to grow as new science and studies regarding the benefits continue to emerge.
Looking ahead in the healthy aging supplements space
Brands in the healthy aging space shouldn’t limit their audience to an older aging population. As the importance and awareness of maintaining one’s health continues to increase due to factors such as Covid-19, broadening the potential scope of products to younger demographics such as 18- to 30-year-olds as preventive health support can provide new channels in which brands can diversify and expand. Adapting marketing to be more fun and appealing to a variety of lifestyles and through social media are a few ways companies can consider reaching a wider audience. For example, we’re seeing some brands offering recipes and ways to include ingredients such as multicollagen products in baking and other cooking methods, which is a great way to broaden one’s reach.
With all of the possibilities and formulation options for product development in the healthy aging market, we believe that positioning products holistically in combination with exercise and diet, and encouraging consumers to be mindful of taking time to focus on their day-to-day health at any age is also very important.
To read additional articles in this niche, check out Insider’s healthy aging digital magazine.
Charles DeVos is a senior sales executive for Lief Labs. He has been in the health and fitness industry for the past 20 years and has trained in multiple physical disciplines including gymnastics, wrestling, martial arts, body building and marathon running. Based in Valencia, California, Lief Labs is a premier formulation and product development innovator and manufacturer of dietary supplements.