Middle agers are heavily targeted by the dietary supplement industry, and their openness to taking preventative measures to preserve their health has been a core reason for the industry’s rapid, steady growth. A buzzword that has garnered a lot of attention from this group (and others) is “anti-aging,” yet the term is rarely associated with products that address this group’s core concerns: bone and cardiovascular health.
Two of the most significant health issues on the minds of Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers are adverse cardiovascular events and potential fractures from weak, porous bones (osteoporosis). Meanwhile, a Google search of "anti-aging supplements" produces 2.88 million results, and it appears that most consumers believe that it all has to do with outward appearance (skin). Likewise, searching for answers to "What does anti-aging mean?" produces 1.6 million results, many of which talk about unsightly facial wrinkles.
Aging goes far beyond a loss of facial collagen.
In our view, "anti-aging" isn't about anti-wrinkle beauty creams and looking youthful. We at NattoPharma believe it means preserving systemic functioning, and preventing acceleration of age-related degradation, as proven through long-term research.
In 2013, Osteoporosis International published the results of a three-year study on our ingredient, MenaQ7™ Vitamin K2 as MK-7 (menaquinone-7). (The length of this study makes it rare, but also makes its results that much more telling.) The double-blind, randomized, clinical trial evaluated the results of a three-year regular intake of menaquinone-7 in a 180 mcg daily dose by a group of 244 healthy post-menopausal women, 55 to 65 years old, randomly assigned to receive daily either MenaQ7 or placebo capsules.
This study showed for the first time clinically statistically significant protection of the vertebrae and the hip (femoral neck) against osteoporosis. The MenaQ7™ supplementation group significantly increased the circulating active osteocalcin, a well-established biomarker for bone and vitamin K status. The inactive osteocalcin in the MenaQ7 group decreased with 51% +/- 21 % as compared to the placebo group (4 % +/- 49%). After three years of supplementation, improvements in both bone mineral content and bone mineral density were statistically significant in the MenaQ7™ group. Further, bone strength was statistically improved, demonstrating health benefits for the MenaQ7™ group as compared to the placebo group.
In addition, cardiovascular measurements were taken of the same cohort (the results are pending publication). The trial showed substantial benefits in preventing age-related stiffening of arteries resulting in increase of the PWV (pulse wave velocity) in the placebo group, but not in the MenaQ7™-group. MenaQ7™ not only inhibited stiffening, it also resulted in an unprecedented statistically significant improvement of vascular elasticity both measured with ultrasound techniques and PWV. So MenaQ7™ actually showed a regression – that the arteries of these healthy post-menopausal women actually became more flexible.
As a finished product manufacturer, what would you imagine a post-menopausal woman would prefer for her future: a heathier heart and stronger bones, or fewer wrinkles?
Anti-aging is much more than skin deep. It involves clearly defining the term and insisting upon clinical substantiation. Those measures will turn a marketing term that normally engenders consumer skepticism into a designation that can truly foster product loyalty with educated consumers.