As the New Year approaches, new themes and trends are beginning to emerge in the health & natural medicine space. While some of these new trends are a result of new research findings, others will be driven by patients and consumers, interested in new therapeutics to optimize health and vitality.
With an ever-growing aging population, many patients and consumers are seeking ways to increase longevity and improve healthspan—the ability to live longer, healthier lives void of chronic disease. Simultaneously, researchers are beginning to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms that drive the aging process, offering potential strategies for maintaining robust health into later years.
Among the areas where researchers and consumers intersect is fasting. Health influencers tout the benefits and methods for modulating dietary intake online, while researchers are studying the biological effects of various fasting and caloric restriction regimens. Intermittent fasting has gained popularity as an alternative to the more intense, and often impractical, prolonged fasting routines. As an offspring of these efforts and interest, new trends in 2020 will expand upon the search for methods of achieving the beneficial effects derived from fasting via other means, including nutraceuticals.
Geranylgeraniol (written about previously here) is a unique compound at the heart of cellular energy generation, protein, and micronutrient production that imparts key physiological benefits that may support healthy aging.
Compounds that inhibit mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) are viable options with increasing interest in the consumer, medical, and research communities. mTOR is a protein kinase that regulates protein synthesis and cell growth in response to growth factors, nutrients, energy levels, and stress, and is a key regulator of metabolic homeostasis. Dysregulation of this pathway may open the door to chronic disease development and progression, so the ability to influence mTOR activity aligns with the goal of supporting longevity and healthspan. One possible player in this endeavor is resveratrol, which has shown the ability to inhibit mTOR in several clinical trials.2,3
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), nicotinamide riboside (NR), and nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) offer promise. NR is a recently discovered nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) precursor vitamin. Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) is a nucleotide that is most recognized for its role as an intermediate of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) biosynthesis. NAD+ serves as a metabolic regulator of transcription, longevity, and disease. NAD+ participates in many biological processes, including the regulation of energy metabolism, and DNA repair–both crucial in healthy aging. NAD+ imparts its effects via its impact on the activity of sirtuins. Sirtuins are NAD+-dependent enzymes with a huge range of roles in transcription regulation, energy metabolism modulation, cell survival, DNA repair, inflammation, and circadian rhythm regulation. NAD+ levels decline up to 50% between ages 40-601. According to research published in the journal Nature:
“Such pathophysiological decline in NAD+ biosynthesis decreases sirtuin activity, likely contributing to the development of age-associated pathophysiologies. For this reason, boosting NAD+ biosynthesis by using key NAD+ intermediates, such as NMN and NR, is now drawing significant attention as an efficient therapeutic intervention against diseases of aging, such as type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, heart failure, and hearing loss.2,3 Thus, the regulation of NAD+ biosynthesis is one of the most important factors that affect the functional connection between NAD+ and sirtuins.”
Supplementation with NAD+, NR, and NMN has already exhibited positive effects on a number of aged-related diseases and the potential to enhance longevity control.4,5,6
Related: Prolonging Healthy Aging
At the other end of the age spectrum lies another growing trend for 2020: Kid’s health.
The health of children is paramount to parents. With recent revelations around contaminants in baby food and the growing childhood obesity epidemic, a growing desire for reputable nutritional support for kids and adolescents will be an increasing trend among consumers. According to a nationally representative survey of American children and adolescents, about a third of children in the United States use dietary supplements.7 That number is likely to grow as teens participate in sports and explore nutritional strategies for enhancing performance or supporting foundational nutrition.
To meet this trend in the year to come, manufacturer’s will need to consider important strategic implications around pediatric-appropriate nutritional support. Children’s formulas require additional considerations around dosing and supplement form. Nutrient composition and dosing is an important feature in pediatric formulas, with use of established methods being vital to appropriate formulation and intervention. A popular method for pediatric dosing is the use of Clark’s Rule, which involves taking the child’s weight in pounds, dividing by 150 lbs, and multiplying by the adult dose to find the equivalent child dosage. In terms of supplement form or delivery system, many children are unlikely to respond favorably to capsule or large tablet, with preference towards liquid and powdered forms. Gummies also present a growing trend and opportunity, where effective formulas can be delivered in an ideal application using healthier alternative sweeteners such as allulose. Multi-vitamins, immune support and brain supportive nutrients are prime candidates for pediatric formulation, along with pediatric-appropriate probiotic strains.
These two new trends are poised to significantly impact the market, while satisfying the growing needs and interests of patients and providers alike.
Note: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and contributor(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher and editors of WholeFoods Magazine.
- Massudi, Hassina, et al. “Age-Associated Changes In Oxidative Stress and NAD+ Metabolism In Human Tissue.” PLoS ONE, vol. 7, no. 7, 27 July 2012, p. e42357, 10.1371/journal.pone.0042357.
- Widlund, A., Baur, J., & Vang, O. (2013). MTOR: More targets of resveratrol? Expert Reviews in Molecular Medicine, 15, E10. doi:10.1017/erm.2013.11
- Park, D., Jeong, H., Lee, M. N., Koh, A., Kwon, O., Yang, Y. R., … Ryu, S. H. (2016). Resveratrol induces autophagy by directly inhibiting mTOR through ATP competition. Scientific reports, 6, 21772. doi:10.1038/srep21772
- Poddar, S. K., Sifat, A. E., Haque, S., Nahid, N. A., Chowdhury, S., & Mehedi, I. (2019). Nicotinamide Mononucleotide: Exploration of Diverse Therapeutic Applications of a Potential Molecule. Biomolecules, 9(1), 34. doi:10.3390/biom9010034
- Imai, S., & Guarente, L. (2014). NAD+ and sirtuins in aging and disease. Trends in cell biology, 24(8), 464–471. doi:10.1016/j.tcb.2014.04.002
- Trammell, S., Schmidt, M., Weidemann, B. et al. Nicotinamide riboside is uniquely and orally bioavailable in mice and humans. Nat Commun 7, 12948 (2016) doi:10.1038/ncomms12948
- Qato DM, Alexander GC, Guadamuz JS, Lindau ST. Prevalence of Dietary Supplement Use in US Children and Adolescents, 2003-2014. JAMA Pediatr. 2018;172(8):780–782. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.1008