28 Ingredients to Know

raw materials

Suppliers shine a spotlight on emerging, innovative, and in-demand raw materials.

From innovative ingredients to emerging science, suppliers are looking to raise the bar on quality while helping brands and retailers serve their customers’ evolving health needs. “The dietary supplements world is always innovating, always responding to consumer needs, always sourcing new ingredients, and always researching new ingredients and new discoveries from old ingredients,” says Maggie McNamara, Marketing Director, Gencor. “Consumers will continue using supplements to support their fitness goals and maintain their sleep, digestive and mental health, and today’s ingredient trends reflect what consumers want and need.” Here, a look at trending ingredients.

Ahiflower. “Brands that want to increase their sustainability message may also be seeking plant-based alternatives that they can offer consumers,” says Alexis Collins, Director of Product and Brand Strategy, Stratum Nutrition. “In the same way you see Beyond Meat burgers next to ground beef at your local grocer, consumers are seeing more plant-based or ‘catch free’ omega oils offered in product lines that have before now offered solely fish-sourced omegas. Ahiflower is a great plant-based omega alternative to offer to customers who are curious to try plant-based sources of omega fatty acids. Formulation-wise, the clean taste of Ahiflower oil is hard to match in the omega realm. With this clean taste comes four omega fatty acids that naturally occur in the single Ahiflower source: SDA (a rarer omega fatty acid), GLA, ALA, and LA. The ability of SDA to convert easily to EPA is the prime driver of research showing Ahiflower was able to raise EPA levels four times higher than flax in human clinical study. Ahiflower oil is also available as a powder to help brands include omegas in more delivery forms. Ahiflower is regeneratively grown exclusively in the U.K., with refining on Prince Edward Island, ensuring supply is never an issue.”
Ashwagandha. “KSM-66 Ashwagandha is a branded, full-spectrum extract, with the highest concentration of all major root only extracts available on the market today,” says Elise Kaiser, VP of Sales, Ixoreal Biomed. “It is produced using a unique proprietary extraction process, based on ‘Green Chemistry’ principles, without using alcohol or any other chemical solvent.” She says it has been clinically proven to:
  • Reduce stress, anxiety, and stress-related food cravings
  • Enhance memory and cognition
  • Improve sleep and enhance sleep quality
  • Increase endurance, strength, and immunity
  • Improve sexual function in men and women

“Currently, it is the most clinically studied ingredient with 24 published studies and another 26 ongoing,” Kaiser says, noting it has 41 quality certifications and goes into 1,500 products globally. “Because of its neutral taste profile and high solubility, there is a wide range of delivery methods in use such as gummies, ready to drink, capsules, ready to mix, and soft gels. The root extract also blends well with chocolate bars, teas, soups, functional waters, energy drinks, chewing gums, and much more.”

KSM-66 is used in dietary supplements, sports nutrition, foods and beverages, personal care, and pet health (cats, dogs and horses). Kaiser adds that it addresses most of the current market needs, including innovative delivery formats, condition-specific products, clean-label botanical products, and more. The company has a vertically integrated supply chain, with its own organic certified farms, state-of-the-art manufacturing units, testing, R&D, and distribution.

Another ashwagandha: “Prolanza is Nutriventia’s new-age ashwagandha root-only extract that provides all-day support for stress management,” says Vishal Shah, Director, Nutriventia Limited. “The ingredient’s innovative release pattern enables it to exert its clinical benefits for a prolonged duration with a single daily dose.” He says Prolanza, which is available to be manufactured as capsules, stick packs, premix powders and tablets, has several benefits: A single dose of 300mg/day is clinically substantiated for efficacy and demonstrates high bioavailability, he says. It is broad spectrum, with a high concentration of 10 USP compliant Withanolides and 10 additionally identified Withanolides. “Consumers today are looking for efficient products that make their lives easier,” Shah notes. “Prolanza precisely provides that: convenience for customers. The ingredient is clinically proven to provide adaptogenic support for a prolonged period, making it an ideal ingredient to manage all-day stress efficiently.

Berberine. “Berbevis Berberine Phytosome offers supplement manufacturers and consumers a natural ally for a healthy metabolism,” says Cosimo Palumbo, Chief Operating Officer, Indena USA Inc. “Berbevis is an innovative berberine extract obtained from Berberis aristata with an optimized bioabsorption profile, thanks to its Phytosome delivery system.”
Bioflavonoids. “Unigen carried out an immune clinical trial between 2020 to 2021 with two compositions against placebo in a healthy population under immune challenge with vaccination,” reports Qi Jia, Ph.D., President and CEO “To understand how immune-support supplements regulate immune responses after vaccination is important and relevant in COVID pandemic years, with many of us taking the first, second or third vaccination booster doses. Fortunately, this immune study passed fast review process by Health Canada in less than a month in late 2020. The enrollments were fast, with many enthusiastic healthy volunteers joining the study in Toronto Canada and the trial of 75 subjects in three groups was completed in less than 12 months. The clinical outputs from both compositions were positive and significant in the terms of increased antibody productions, enhanced mucosal immunity, and increased antioxidative stress biomarkers.”

As a result of the positive clinical study, Unigen launched two ingredients in 2022: Symetrian for immune homeostasis and Attenutin for respiratory support. The clinical study has been presented as a poster at the June 2022 annual meeting of American Society of Nutrition. Attenutin as an enriched bioflavonoid composition is suitable for cold/flu season and can be formulated with vitamin C and zinc in a sachet powder to support respiratory health. Symetrian is an aloe polysaccharide based composition with beta-glucans from poria mushroom that can be delivered in gel, gummy, and RTD formulas to support mucosal immunity.

Biotic Blends. Gnosis by Lesaffre has a portfolio of prebiotics and probiotics, many of which can be blended together to support efficacy and create a more compelling end product, says Philippe Caillat, Global Marketing Director. “One biotics blend combines the complementary effects on immunity of LifeinU BSCU1 and Lynside Immunity Prebiotic. LifeinU BSCU1 supports immunity by increasing significantly durable sIgA levels, and at the same time, Lynside Immunity Prebiotic supports microbiome diversity. LifeinU BSCU1 is a unique and patented strain of Bacillus subtilis clinically proven to support the immune system. It is one of the most stable probiotics on the market, making it suitable for dietary supplements and functional foods, such as sport powders or bars. Its spore-forming nature makes it better able to survive industrial manufacturing processes like compression, high temperature, and humidity, making it a great candidate to add probiotic effects to functional foods and beverages.”

LifeinU BSCU1’s efficiency is proven by a clinical study conducted for four months with a dosage of 2×109 CFU of LifeinU BSCU1, he adds. In the study, the marker analyzed the level of Secretory immunoglobulins A (sIgA), which are antibodies of the immune system secreted by the mucosal surfaces. “They constitute the first line of body defenses against toxins and infectious agents,” Caillat says. And, he explains, Lynside Immunity Prebiotic has been demonstrated to provide a long-lasting fermentation scenario, but also to promote a balanced microbiota in a personalized manner for different enterotypes. “These two biotics are a great complement for each other, and together they give brands a comprehensive story to place on their labels that tell a prebiotic and probiotic story.”

Boswellia. “A double-blind, placebo-controlled human trial was conducted to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a standardized oral supplementation of Boswellin, Sabinsa’s Boswellin Super,” says Ahmed Khan, National Sales Manager, Sabinsa Corporation. “The findings provide evidence that biologically active constituents of BSE, namely, AKBBA and BBA, act synergistically to exert anti-inflammatory/anti-arthritic activity showing improvement in physical and functional ability and reducing the pain and stiffness.”

Calebin-A. “Research to support one of Sabinsa’s newest products, CurCousin—with its active Calebin-A—and confirming its role for weight reduction, can be seen in a clinical trial wherein increase of good cholesterol levels was accompanied with leptin sensitivity,” says Khan. “The product is clinically studied with a dosage of 25 mg twice a day. Sabinsa holds 65 patents on CurCousin, which has self-affirmed GRAS status. A second CurCousin trial is nearing completion.” He notes that formulation opportunities include gummies, chocolates, powder mixes, tablets, capsules, beverages, and RTDs.

Carob Bean. “Caronositol Fertility is a natural product from carob bean tree and corn,” says Samantha Ford, MS, Director of Business Development, AIDP. “It has seen renewed interest due to increase in birth rates and the continuing growing age of first-time mothers. Caronositol Fertility is the perfect combination of MYO-Inositol and D-Chiroinositol(1:3.6) for women with fertility problems associated with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). In a randomized, controlled double-blind study, Caronositol Fertility improved pregnancy rates and live births and reduced miscarriages. Taking a clinically supported natural approach to fertility is attractive to many women not wanting the adverse side effects of common fertility treatments.”

Cistus incanu. “In my 40+ years of formulating and studying plants, Cistus is one of the most profound herbal allies I have come across,” says Paul Schulick, Founder & CEO, For The Biome. “While hardly known in the U.S., it is an ingredient innovation that I believe will top the trends in the near future. Cistus incanus is a unique Mediterranean blue-zone herb that has been revered for centuries. It was named European Plant of the Year in 1999 due to its profound healing benefits that are attributed to its unique signature of potent polyphenolic compounds. Cistus has been validated in multiple clinical trials to support the immune system and researchers have discovered that it can defend against a ‘huge number’ of immune challenges and delivers a variety of other benefits to the body, including supporting cardiovascular health. While we are regulated in our industry about discussing clinical research on herbal ingredients, what I can say is Cistus has been studied and proven against some of our most aggressive challengers. When Cistus incanus is dose-matched by polyphenol content with the formidable green tea in a clinical trial, it was observed that participants consuming cistus had a faster recovery from respiratory challenges than those consuming green tea. It was concluded that the unique polyphenols contained within Cistus called polymeric polyphenols are responsible for its healing effects.”

Collagen. “Lonza’s UC-II undenatured type II collagen is a science-backed ingredient clinically shown to offer benefits for joint health, mobility, and flexibility,” says Lindsey Toth, Director, Global Marketing, Lonza Capsules & Health Ingredients. “What sets this ingredient apart from other joint health ingredients is its unique, patented manufacturing process from chicken sternum cartilage—the richest source of type II collagen. Lonza’s method uses gentle, low temperature-processing to preserve more of the undenatured triple helix structure of the type II collagen than other brands. What is also unique about this process is that it ensures that important bioactive binding regions on the collagen triple helix, called epitopes, are preserved. These epitopes are what enable UC-II’s unique mechanism of action, which triggers the body’s natural cartilage repair process—promoting the building of new joint cartilage.”

Toth says the UC-II ingredient and its benefits for joint health are supported by over 20 studies—including 11 human clinical studies. “This extensive scientific research explores the ingredient’s effects on a wide variety of subjects, including animals, healthy individuals, and individuals with osteoarthritis.” She points to a new randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study that investigated the effects of UC-II undenatured type II collagen on knee joint mobility and flexibility in healthy male and female subjects, ages 20 to 55. It was shown to improve joint flexibility 15 times better than placebo,  help active consumers of all ages hit their daily step count, and  decrease joint discomfort by over 30 minutes following physical activity.

Corn Leaf Extract. “The pandemic has significantly impacted innovations of top trending ingredients from two perspectives: The consumer need of novel and clinically substantiated ingredients for immune and brain health dramatically increased, while the research, especially clinical trials, became much more difficult with limited access to clinics and hospitals during the pandemic,” says Dr. Jia. “Though the decision to carry on a sleep study of an ingredient called Maizinol from Unigen was made before pandemic shutdown in 2020, it took more than a year to conduct the pilot study with 45 healthy subjects. The increases of average deep sleep times and decreases of morning salivary cortisol were significant from Maizinol groups against placebo that were reported and recently accepted for publication in the Journal of Medicinal Food. Maizinol is a trending ingredient to address consumer needs for better sleep and less stress as an alternative supplementation of hormonal melatonin. Maizinol is a standardized corn leaf extract with good water solubility and stability, which makes it easy to be formulated in gummy, gel, and RTD products for sleep and stress support.”

Curcumin. Indena’s Meriva  Curcumin Phytosome has more than 35 clinical studies involving over 2,000 subjects, says Palumbo. “Its efficacy to support a healthy inflammatory response has been demonstrated in a range of health conditions, in particular in the areas of cardiovascular, intestinal and ocular health, sports nutrition, joint health, healthy blood levels, supportive care, and most recently kidney health. Its formulation as a standardized turmeric extract contains the full bouquet of curcuminoids, not just curcumin, based on Indena’s Phytosome natural food-delivery system, making it a unique, desirable ingredient.”

And from Gencor comes HydroCurc, backed by clinical research. “HydroCurc delivers over 90% curcuminoids, which are known to support cognitive, heart, and joint health,” McNamara says. “Currently, with six published clinical studies, HydroCurc has shown to be effective in reducing inflammation, improving Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), and aiding in joint health. Additionally, when combined with FS Iron, HydroCurc was shown to increase serum BDNF levels, have no impairment on iron absorption, and reduce inflammatory markers. HydroCurc harnesses the benefits of LipiSperse dispersion technology to overcome common challenges associated with curcumin absorption, and it is specifically designed to increase the bioavailability of lipophilic (oil-loving) ingredients such as curcuminoids. LipiSperse allows the curcumin to disperse in water. It can now be added to drinks, powders, and gummies in total clinical dosages, making formulation in trending formats easy.”

Egg Shell Membrane. “For the brand that is creating or building their female-focused line, NEM is the only eggshell membrane ingredient with women-specific exercise recovery claims approved by Health Canada,” says Collins. “Sixteen published research studies, including two health population clinical trials, have led to NEM earning Health Canada-approved claims such as ‘NEM helps minimize discomfort due to moderate intensity aerobic exercise in post-menopausal women’ (the average age of female subjects was 56 in the first healthy population clinical). Like LBiome, NEM is an ingredient the end consumer will experience. A more recent Health Canada-approved claim NEM earned is ‘helps provide relief from joint pain due to moderate intensity aerobic exercise (as quickly as the first day).’ At 500 mg once daily, dose size is not an issue for formulators. Brands also find appeal in NEM being an ingredient made from upcycled USDA-approved eggshells, which kept 5.7 million pounds of waste out of landfills in just the last 12 months.”

French Maritime Pine Bark Extract. Pycnogenol, known as nature’s super-antioxidant, continues to be a trending ingredient. Sébastien Bornet, VP Global Sales & Marketing, Horphag Research (exclusive worldwide supplier of Pycnogenol), points to its range of scientifically supported benefits and its availability in over 1,000 products worldwide. “Pycnogenol has been shown to benefit circulation, joints, skin, respiratory health and more, making it a wise choice as consumers are increasingly looking for evidence-based ingredients that offer all-around benefits. Pycnogenol has more than 40 years of scientific research behind it, and more than 160 clinical trials, and 450 scientific publications showing its benefits. Choosing a proprietary, patented, active ingredient like Pycnogenol allows brands to utilize the research and development needed to anchor a combination formula or a stand-alone supplement and achieve noticeable results.” Bornet outlined the most recent findings:

  • A 2022 study 2022 found Pycnogenol helps relieve and may prevent symptoms of restless legs syndrome, including crawling, throbbing, itching, aching, and sleep issues.
  • A 2021 study found daily supplementation with Pycnogenol may relieve recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs).
  • A 2021 study found daily supplementation with Pycnogenol may help to significantly retain skin hydration, increase skin elasticity, and reinforce skin barrier function for those exposed to urban environmental pollution, as well as seasonal temperature and humidity variations.
  • A 2020 study found Pycnogenol may help decrease frequency of migraines, reduce migraine symptoms, and diminish the disruption of daily activities caused by migraines.

Functional Mushrooms. “Mushrooms have been trending for a long time, and I believe this will continue into the future,” says Schulick. “I expect many exciting years ahead as science continues to reveal fungi’s wide range of benefits, especially for many of the immune challenges we currently face. Personally, I have had a passion for mushrooms for decades and feel they have made a profound impact on my own and my family’s health. What makes mushrooms so effective is that they contain a variety of potent actives including triterpenoids, beta glucans, ergosterol, and ergothioneine, which have a positive impact on everything from aging, immune function, metabolism, cardiovascular health, and cognitive health; who doesn’t need that?”

Nirmal Nair, Founder and CEO, Sempera Organics, Inc., agrees that functional mushrooms are booming for good reasons. “Mushrooms provide species-specific benefits that help improve the overall quality of products in which they are incorporated. Their thoughtful inclusion in formulas helps brands align their product(s) with target benefits that are of major interest to consumers. Brands featuring Sempera’s California-grown mushroom ingredients manufactured in a cGMP, waste-free facility via environmentally friendly and sustainable methods is a great differentiator, let alone the USDA organic, kosher, vegan, and gluten-free nature of the products, which are generally sought after by consumers.”

Nair adds that Sempera has a portfolio of organic mushroom powders and blends, all standardized to beta glucans, and the company is developing species-specific extracts as well. “We are developing a clinical program to provide unique substantiated claims for species-specific extracts. Three of the most in-demand fungi include Cordyceps militaris (Cordyceps), Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) and Hericium erinaceus (Lion’s Mane).”

Those also top the trending list at Nammex. Bill Chioffi, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer, shares, “All of our mushroom extracts have been experiencing tremendous growth in demand, but these three are leading the pack at the moment: RealReishi (Ganoderma lingzhi), RealLionsMane (Hericium erinaceus), and RealCordyceps (Cordyceps militaris).

Taking a closer look at each:

Cordyceps militaris has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to enhance physical performance, improve respiratory health, support healthy aging, and modulate the immune system, says Nair. “Cordyceps is a natural fit for a multi-pronged approach to sports nutrition formulations, or in combination with Lion’s Mane for a stronger sports nutrition proposition. Cordyceps could be used in supplements supporting the immune system and those focused on healthy aging.”

Regarding cordyceps Chioffi adds, “Traditionally what has been consumed and prepared for centuries, Ophiocordyceps sinensis, is the Myceliated, hardened body of a caterpillar, which had served as a host for the fungi, then sprouted an orange primordia, then mushroom, which allows the organism to be identified. This type of material currently sells for over $13,000 per KG. Nammex helped commercialize cultivation of a species, Cordyceps militaris, with almost identical properties but with controlled growing conditions not dependent on a wild harvest, making it more economically and ecologically viable. It’s used in many endurance and performance-related products, and research has focused on these aspects. As people realize the nutritive properties of mushrooms and their ability to blend well with other ingredients for flavor and activity, we expect to see even more increase in how formulators are using this extract. One innovative brand is infusing 2,500mg of Lion’s Mane and Cordyceps mushroom extracts into their sparkling functional beverage. We love the vibrant packaging and substantial dose of mushrooms.”

Ganoderma lucidum has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to protect the central nervous system, promote relaxation and quality sleep, reduce anxiety, support a healthy blood pressure, modulate the immune system, and protect the liver, Nair says.

“Reishi Mushroom is perhaps one of the most well researched of the fungi,” Choiffi adds. “Our extracts are used in various delivery forms from ready-to-drink beverages to solid dose forms as a dietary supplement. An interesting way we’ve seen this extract integrated is in a standard tea bag delivery, leveraging on the upswing in knowledge about the adaptogen category.”

Hericium erinaceus has neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to improve cognition and sleep, reduce depression and anxiety, and modulate the immune system, Nair says. “Lion’s Mane is a natural fit for brain health supplements, or in combination with Reishi for a portfolio of brain health formulations from mood to cognition to sleep. Lion’s Mane is also a good proposition for sports nutrition and healthy aging products.”

Chioffi notes that there are clinical animal studies showing Lion’s Mane can be highly beneficial in relation to inflammatory bowel disease, gastrointestinal issues, and ulcers. There are also placebo-controlled, double blind human clinical trials on its ability to improve age-related memory loss.” We think adding this mushroom to a nutritionally dense bar, as Jake Plummer, Rashad Evans and Del Jolly have done with their hot new brand Umbo, is smart. Umbo can be found in numerous independent retailers who share the same rigorous ingredient standards.”

Chaga is another great example of a healing mushroom, Schulick says. “It has been revered for thousands of years for immune support and one of the key components and marker of a quality chaga mushroom is betulinic acid. Chaga takes betulin from the birch tree. If you want to have the most healing form of chaga, you want to ensure it contains betulinic acid. Betulinic acid is a highly potent antioxidant that will protect cells throughout your body, but is also proven to protect against immune threats and strengthen the immune response. It is also capable of enhancing dopamine and acetylcholine to support cognitive function.”

Immunoglobulin Protein Isolate. “ImmunoLin is a one-of-a-kind serum antibody concentrate, previously only available by prescription with the highest concentration of antibodies over any product on the market today,” says Brian Kaufman, Vice President of Global Sales, Entera Health. “It binds and removes inflammatory antigens throughout the digestive system before they can set off the inflammatory response that leads to bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Binding and removing these antigens help restore immune balance and restoration of the gut barrier. As a result, there is an increase in water and nutrient absorption along with less bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.”

Kaufman says ImmunoLin has more than 40 microbiome-focused human clinical trials showing efficacy and major increases in quality of life for consumers dealing with bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain from conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), along with various other co-morbidities brought on by inflammatory antigens.

The flavorless powder has no drug or food interactions, says Kaufman, making it an easy ingredient to formulate products in digestive health, immune support, sports nutrition, active wellness, women’s health, and cognitive health products where the focus is reducing digestive inflammation. “Serum antibody supplementation with ImmunoLin is the future of overall wellness, immune, and digestive health as it targets the underlying cause of inflammation and dysbiosis in the gut,” he says. “Because this novel antibody ingredient can be blended with anything, there are infinite opportunities for product formulation in any health market channel as everything is tied to gut health.”

Keratin. “Our new Keragen-IV is a vegetarian keratin in a digestible powder form,” Ford shares. “It triggers the body’s own collagen-producing mechanism, boosting production of collagens IV and VII between the dermal and epidermal skin layers, targeting deep wrinkles, nail strength and hair follicle strength. Keragen-IV is very similar to human keratin. It promotes hair follicle strength, which reduces hair shedding. It is rich in cysteine to promote nail strength. This unique ingredient is backed by clinical research and has strong consumer response. It is vegetarian certified from a sustainable source and soluble, making it ideal for a wide array of products.”

Kiwifruit. “Livaux is a natural and novel prebiotic supplement derived entirely from non-GMO New Zealand gold kiwifruit,” says Ford. “Research shows that it helps the intestinal bacterium Faecalibacterium prausnitzii (F.prau) communities to flourish and recover. Only recently, F.prau was found to be hugely important for gut flora balance. F.prau is one of the most abundant bacteria in the human gut ecosystem. Low numbers have been associated with inflammatory conditions, lower immune health, digestive health issues and chronic constipation. A clinical study using Livaux demonstrated that F.prau levels increased by more than 100% after intervention. Study participants also noted an improvement in their ‘general feeling of wellness’ following a course of Livaux. It is self-affirmed GRAS and can be used in a wide variety of applications. Livaux is also an ideal complement to probiotics by providing a whole food solution.”

Magnesium. “Magtein has been clinically shown to be the only effective form of magnesium able to cross the blood brain barrier,” according to Ford. “It has a high level of scientific and safety evidence and continues to outperform the brain health, mood and sleep segments. Since Magtein addresses brain health by improving synaptic density, it is appropriate for a wide range of cognitive conditions. While Magtein has been available for about 10 years, it continues to grow, and our customers have seen great success. Magtein is suitable for a wide variety of delivery formats, including beverages. It is stable under all beverage manufacturing processes and low pH formulas.”

MSM. “Formulators gain an advantage when they use ingredients that may already be familiar to consumers,” says Tim Hammond, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Bergstrom Nutrition. “One of those is methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), a sulfur-containing compound that is a popular dietary supplement used for a variety of purposes, including its common use as an anti-inflammatory agent. MSM is also a valued ingredient in dermatology because it contributes to the cross-linking of proteoglycans and collagen. At Bergstrom Nutrition, our research has confirmed our branded form of MSM—OptiMSM—donates sulfur to the body, which not only aids in the reduction of inflammation, it also inhibits cross-linking (or ‘hardening’) of connective tissue. In addition, MSM supports collagen, allowing for healthy skin function, and it serves as a building block for keratin, a structural constituent of hair and nails.” Pointing to the science, Hammond shares:

  • Research on OptiMSM, published in 2015, highlighted the benefits of oral supplementation on skin and aging; 100% of participants taking OptiMSM experienced a decrease in wrinkle count, with an average reduction of 38%. The study also reported improvements in skin elasticity and firmness along with wrinkle reduction.
  • A follow-up study showed a significant improvement in the severity of facial wrinkles, skin hydration, firmness, and elasticity. One gram of OptiMSM daily was determined to show visible benefits within two weeks for nails and four weeks for hair and skin.
  • Ongoing is a recent yet unpublished study on combining one gram of OptiMSM and 2.5 grams of marine collagen, suggesting significantly improved skin health and appearance. When clinically evaluated at six weeks initial results reveal skin smoothness and texture and at 12 weeks reduction and appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Recently completed research evaluated OptiMSM’S effect on hair thickness. Results point to OptiMSM improving hair growth, volume, and appearance along with improved thickness, density, and strength.

Oroxylum Indicum. “Sabroxy is a patented composition formulated from the bark of Oroxylum indicum standardized to contain oroxylin A, baicalein and chrysin,” says Khan. “Sabroxy helps to support healthy cognitive function, and improves memory, concentration, focus, and recall in healthy people. In a 12-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, supplementation with 500 mg of Sabroxy twice a day in older-adults with self-reported memory complaints was associated with greater improvements in episodic memory and several computer-based cognitive tasks compared to placebo. There were greater improvements in immediate word recall and numeric working memory, and a faster rate of learning on the location learning task in participants supplemented with Sabroxy compared to placebo.”

Khan stresses the importance of such science. “Consumers can tell if cognitive support products help them, or don’t, so it’s important that products in this category be supported by safety and efficacy studies. Using an ingredient like Sabroxy in the amount as per the science will provide the desired benefits  and will meet expectations.” He adds that the ingredients can be formulated into powder mixes, tablets, capsules, beverages, and RTDs.

PEA. “Lack of restful sleep and common sleep disorders amongst the aging population are prominent areas of concern,” says McNamara. “An innovative ingredient addressing this area is Levagen+, a branded Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA). PEA has been clinically researched for sleep, proving that it is effective in supporting restful sleep; it promotes falling asleep faster and waking more quickly. PEA is an endocannabinoid-like lipid mediator, primarily known for its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and neuroprotective properties. It offers formulators an opportunity to provide consumers multiple benefits with just one ingredient.

Postbiotics. “LBiome (Lactobacillus LB) is ideal for the brand seeking effective digestive support without being beholden to a capsule delivery format,” shares Collins. “LBiome is inactivated by heat, and the product can withstand many harsh manufacturing processes that live organisms are unable to undergo while maintaining viability. LBiome has already been formulated into emulsions, liquid food supplements (pouches), chews, and dispersible powders. With postbiotics, such as LBiome, there are infinite possibilities for incorporating strong digestive health support into delivery formats consumers will enjoy more than capsules.

Collins notes that LBiome is referred to as “the pioneer in postbiotics” because it is a postbiotic that has been used for decades. “Since the discovery of LBiome in the early 1900s, and its subsequent use as a digestive support aid, there have been over 40 studies published on the various actions of LBiome, including 12 published human clinical trials demonstrating digestive support in pediatric and adult subjects. LBiome is the most clinically researched digestive health postbiotic (for adult and for pediatric use). LBiome is a postbiotic that is standardized to cell count. These inanimate cells are quite ‘active’ in the body in that they have extremely good adhesion to the gut lining (compared to other popular live Lactobacillus strains). There is no waiting for colonization. The adhering cells of LBiome work twofold: On one front, LBiome keeps undesirable organisms at bay, while at the point of contact, LBiome helps support the health of the intestinal brush border and tight junctions. In gut model research, LBiome has been shown to have a bifidogenic effect, adding to the better gut health experience many subjects have reported.”

Probiotics. “We’re seeing growing opportunities in probiotics with heavy investment into clinicals across all markets as scientists continue to grow their understanding of digestive health with links into many other elements of wellbeing including immunity, muscle, skin, and even mental wellbeing,” says Victoria Lam, GM Marketing – Active Living at Fonterra. “This is an exciting area for us, as microbes have long been used in the creation of dairy foods (such as yogurt or cheese) so this is a naturally adjacent space. As we age, the diversity of our microbiome declines. This is accompanied by naturally reduced digestive tract function that can impact various aspects of health and therefore overall quality of life. Our hero probiotics, BifidoB HN019 & LactoB HN001, have both been successfully used in clinical research in the elderly, investigating both digestive and immunity benefits. Here in Singapore where I am based, we see doctors even prescribing probiotics to address these concerns.”

Quercetin. “With a recent focus on immune health, Quercefit Phytosome has emerged as a trending ingredient,” says Palumbo. “Quercefit is a proprietary formulation based on Indena’s Phytosome delivery system that improves quercetin’s bioabsorption, increasing it up to 20 times when compared to unformulated quercetin. This contributes to the efficacy of Quercefit in health conditions linked to senescence, oxidative stress, inflammation and/or immune response as supported by human studies.”

Red Grape Extract. Cognigrape, a standardized powder extract from red grape juice containing high concentrations of anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins, has been shown to improve cognitive function in areas of attention, language, immediate and delayed memory and improving mood in healthy older adults,” says Tyler Ris, Vice President of Sales, Bionap USA Inc. “Cognigrape was recently self-GRAS affirmed and may be utilized as a nootropic for cognitive function and wellness.”

Saffron. “Given that sleep issues affect 50 to 70 million Americans during the best of times, it’s not surprising that sleep has become crucial for personal health,” says McNamara. “Managing your stress gives you more productive rest, giving your body the time needed to restore. Affron, a branded saffron extract, has five human clinical studies on mood improvement and occasional stress and three clinical studies on improving sleeplessness. This natural botanical addresses two correlating issues, and products with dual or even multiple health benefits are driving consumer interest in the current market. Here is one ingredient addressing two significant areas of concern.”

Sicilian Blood Orange Extract. “Our best seller is Red Orange Complex with a new clinical study on delivering ‘beauty from within’ benefits,’” says Ris. “Red Orange Complex is a standardized powder extract from the juice of three varieties (Moro, Tarocco and Sanguinello) of Sicilian blood orange that are exclusively grown in a specific area surrounding the Mount Etna volcano is Sicily. Red Orange Complex is high in phenolic compounds making it a potent antioxidant, allowing it to decrease oxidative stress, protect skin against UV-induced damage (cutaneous erythema), and control the hyperpigmentation (melanin production) and photoaging. It has been tested in eight clinical studies.”

Also from Bionap: “Morosil Moro Orange is a standardized extract derived from a highly pigmented Sicilian blood Orange, Moro variety,” says Ris. “The collective pool of biophenols found in Morosil work synergistically in counteracting fat accumulation in adipocyte tissue. Morosil is supported by two clinical studies both exhibiting weight loss and reducing BMI along with waist and hip circumference.”

Traditional Chinese Medicine. “For Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) herb suppliers like Nuherbs, there isn’t a lot of innovation at the ingredient level that changes the material by, for example, emphasizing one constituent, because by their very nature they are traditional herbs,” says Wilson Lau, President of Nuherbs. “Our ability to customize herbal extracts is innovative, however. And we are excited about what we are doing with our organic echinacea, and our organic hibiscus extract. There is innovation happening at the farm level, a lot of it around sustainability.”

As botanical specialists, Lau adds, “we have access to traceable raw materials combined with our Bespoke Extracts program. We assist with development of new products and ingredients to power product innovations that address a brand’s specific pain points. The formulation options to suit any delivery system are endless, including dissolvable strips, which require extract concentration few can match.”

Lau says Nuherbs believes in collaborating and partnering with customers and growers. “Through this collaborative approach, we realized that as brands move into alternative delivery forms, the ingredients that they seek to use may not be fit for purpose. Sometimes, the brief can be as simple as how can we transform our capsule into a delicious drink? The ingredients outside the flavor component are known, but because they weren’t designed with solubility in mind, they don’t work well for a liquid format. We troubleshoot their pain point of solubility and help them produce a new product that performs to the end-user’s expectation for that category. This is but one example of how Nuherbs Bespoke extracts program helps brands differentiate their new product innovations and meet customer demands.”

Vitamin K2. “Vitamin K2 as MK-7 is the newly recognized essential nutrient for healthy aging,” says Caillat. “By activating K-dependent proteins already in the body – osteocalcin and matrix Gla protein (MGP) – that help the body properly utilize calcium, K2 simultaneously supports bone and heart health. Osteocalcin helps bind calcium to the bone mineral matrix, leading to stronger, denser bones; while MGP inhibits calcium from depositing in arteries and soft tissues where it can increase cardiovascular risks.”

Caillat says MenaQ7 has been the source material for more than 22 published human clinical trials (with more currently underway). “Where formulation is concerned, Gnosis by Lesaffre offers the most comprehensive Vitamin K2 as MK-7 portfolio, making it possible for brand owners to incorporate the health benefits of K2 in almost any formulation they want to bring to market. Acquiring NattoPharma in 2021, Gnosis by Lesaffre now offers the only clinically validated vitamin K2 as MK-7, MenaQ7, in addition to our established vitaMK7 natural K2 brand.” Also new: Vitamin K2 Matrix protective technology. “Matrix Vitamin K2 is a unique, proprietary protection system explicitly developed for vitamin K2; it is not an adaptation of an existing technology previously utilized for other ingredients. Ensuring stability is sometimes complex and requires managing several parameters like the source of minerals, manufacturing conditions, etc. With Matrix, we eliminate many of these concerns, allowing for a more streamlined formulation process.” WF