Vitamin Retailer August 2012 : Page 24

By Kate Quackenbush T A high demand category with its share of controversy, meeting consumer needs means retailers must weigh the science. hough consumers continue to struggle balancing a difficult economy, overall spending for health products, or those perceived to have a health benefit, has increased. And as positive press abounds about antioxidant benefits for inflammation modulation and its relation to immune, vision, joint and brain health; its anti-aging properties that make it a must-have in health and beauty products; and its link to prevention for serious health condi-tions such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, the free radical-fighting molecules have become sta-ples on shoppers’ lists. According to A. Elizabeth Sloan of SloanTrends in her 2012 report, "Top 10 Functional Food Trends," the 2010 Gallup study of nutrient knowl-edge and consumption noted, “28 percent (of consumers) seek products that are naturally rich in antioxi-dants.” In addition, earlier this year Packaged Facts released a survey stating that cosmetics that feature the word “antioxidants” on their labels are very attractive to con-sumers, and that sales of antioxidant-containing cosmetics were estimated to have been approximately $3.9 bil-lion. A versatile category comprised of products ranging from essential vita-mins to fruit and vegetable supple-ments to coffees and teas and blend-ed products in a variety of forms, manufacturers have provided ample opportunities for consumers to get their antioxidants as Mintel has reported that new product launches in the antioxidant category are up by about 10 percent from 2010-11. Leslie Gallo, vice president of operations with Indiana-based Artemis International, Inc., an antioxi-dant ingredient supplier that launched its Berries For Life™ retail supplement brand two years ago, noted that while Baby Boomers seem to be spearheading the category’s 24 VITAMIN RETAILER WWW.VITAMINRETAILER.COM s AUGUST 2012

Antioxidant Examination

Kate Quackenbush

A high demand category with its share of controversy, meeting consumer needs means retailers must weigh the science<br /> <br /> Though consumers continue to struggle balancing a difficult economy, overall spending for health products, or those perceived to have a health benefit, has increased. And as positive press abounds about antioxidant benefits for inflammation modulation and its relation to immune, vision, joint and brain health; its anti-aging properties that make it a must-have in health and beauty products; and its link to prevention for serious health conditions such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, the free radicalfighting molecules have become staples on shoppers’ lists.<br /> <br /> According to A. Elizabeth Sloan of SloanTrends in her 2012 report, "Top 10 Functional Food Trends," the 2010 Gallup study of nutrient knowledge and consumption noted, “28 percent (of consumers) seek products that are naturally rich in antioxidants.” In addition, earlier this year Packaged Facts released a survey stating that cosmetics that feature the word “antioxidants” on their labels are very attractive to consumers, and that sales of antioxidantcontaining cosmetics were estimated to have been approximately $3.9 billion.<br /> <br /> A versatile category comprised of products ranging from essential vitamins to fruit and vegetable supplements to coffees and teas and blended products in a variety of forms, manufacturers have provided ample opportunities for consumers to get their antioxidants as Mintel has reported that new product launches in the antioxidant category are up by about 10 percent from 2010-11.<br /> <br /> Leslie Gallo, vice president of operations with Indiana-based Artemis International, Inc., an antioxidant ingredient supplier that launched its Berries For Life™ retail supplement brand two years ago, noted that while Baby Boomers seem to be spearheading the category’s Growth, antioxidants have the attention of a much wider base.<br /> <br /> “Baby Boomers especially recognize the increasing costs of health care for diseases of aging and are realizing that maintaining health through lifestyle habits and supplements is of tangible value,” she said. “Yet consumers in general recognize that certain natural products serve as potent antioxidants and are intrinsically healthy.” <br /> <br /> Dean Mosca, president of New Jersey-based Proprietary Nutritionals, Inc. (PNI), marketer of BerryMax™ line of ingredients and specifically the Cran- Max® antioxidant ingredient, agreed.“We are highly confident that antioxidant supplements, functional foods and HBA products will only continue to grow both in product design/formulation and in sales to consumers.”<br /> <br /> The ORAC Argument <br /> <br /> Mosca expressed that “To date, ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) remains a steady and predictable manner of measuring antioxidant strength capacity. It is valuable for the consumer who is seeking the ability to support overall health and wellness by being able to ensure that damaging free radicals in his/her body are disarmed.” <br /> <br /> Yet the USDA’s Nutrient Data Laboratory (NDL) recently removed the USDA ORAC Database for Selected Foods from its website, citing two main reasons:<br /> <br /> • The values indicating antioxidant capacity have no relevance to the effects of specific bioactive compounds, including polyphenols on human health.<br /> <br /> • ORAC values are routinely misused by food and dietary supplement manufacturing companies to promote their products and by consumers to guide their food and dietary supplement choices.<br /> <br /> While the first reason has stimulated considerable debate among researchers and manufacturers, the second is an undeniable concern for the industry.<br /> <br /> “ORAC is an important measure of antioxidant activity, but its best used for comparison of antioxidant activity level—grape seed oil vs. grape skins vs. grape fruit vs. grape seed fiber—where is the concentration of the antioxidant?<br /> Or comparison between ingredients (i. e., does blueberry have a higher Antioxidant level than raspberry or flax?),” said Mark Mueller, founder and chief technology officer with Wisconsin-based Immuno-Viva.“What we think is more important than ORAC levels is using a diversity of antioxidants within a product. Our products have a network of defense, involving multiple types of antioxidants, within each product.”<br /> <br /> J. L. Paes-Leme, founder and CEO of Florida-based NaturaNectar, marketer of a line of bee propolis-based products, views ORAC as a reference, but that it’s not intended to be a complete measure of a substance’s benefits.“ORAC is problematic because manufacturers sometimes compare scores, but fail to demonstrate the scale they are using. For instance we publish our Red Bee Propolis ORAC on our website and literature based on ‘ìmol TE/g,’ which means you have that score when you take 1 g of the product. The USDA ORAC Database uses ‘ìmol TE/100g’ for all products. It's their way of normalizing the results,” he explained, noting that by the USDA’s scale, the Red Bee Propolis score becomes 354,000 ìmol TE/100g. “In other words, the numbers look more attractive, but they fail to advise customers that now you need to take 100 mg of the product. At NaturaNectar, and especially regarding our Red Bee Propolis products, we advise of the fantastic ORAC, but we also focus on all other health benefits that this ingredient and product can bring to one’s life.” <br /> <br /> Gallo said that while the removal of the database wasn’t completely unexpected, as there have been regular debates over the proper use and meaningfulness of the ORAC test, the complete removal of this database can only add to the confusion as a consumer is comparing different antioxidant products. “As with any measurement of quantity or efficacy, it is only as good as the test and/or lab performing it, as well as how the results are interpreted,” she said.“Once you have multiple techniques for measuring something it is bound to cause concern and confusion as to what is the best way to measure.” <br /> <br /> Another glaring question for Gallo has been just how well does an in vitro or ex vivo test show what is actually happening in the body. A point of equal concern for Bob Quinn, founder of Montana-based Kamut International, a supplier of organic KAMUT® brand wheat, which contains high levels of selenium.<br /> <br /> “The antioxidant capacity studies which we have sponsored to date have all be in vivo studies, so we can demonstrate what is happening in living systems,” said Quinn. “We feel very strongly that this is an important consideration and can provide more assurance to the consumer concerning what is happening than tests which are performed in vitro and may or may not represent what is actually happening in living systems.” <br /> <br /> In the Store <br /> <br /> Mark Norman, manager of Tailor Made Nutrition in Woodbury, MN, has a definite advantage when it comes to not only attracting customers, but also serving them in uncertain times, or when they’re receiving mixed messages about supplementation.<br /> <br /> The retail portion of the store is approximately 3,000 square feet, and contains 100 percent gluten-free foods, gluten-free personal care and gluten-free doctor-recommended and retail dietary supplements. The remaining 1,500 square feet is devoted to practitioners’ offices including a nutritional consultant, naturopathic doctor and a licensed acupuncturist.It’s this unique offering that draws customers and patients to Tailor Made Nutrition, according to Norman.<br /> <br /> When it comes to antioxidants, Norman expressed that they play a growing role as the store educates its customer base. “In addition to our customer service, we have several practitioners that explain the health benefits of antioxidants. At this time, I believe we direct more of our customers to them instead of customers asking for them,” he said.<br /> <br /> A trend that Norman has observed is companies comparing how superior their antioxidant products are to others.“Our customers are label readers; this has to do with the type of store we are.We carry only hypoallergenic food and supplements with no artificial colors, sweeteners or additives. With that, our customers read labels carefully with our dietary supplements and look for full label disclosure.” <br /> <br /> So when the question of ORAC is on the table, Tailor Made Nutrition looks at it a couple of different ways. “First, I think the higher the ORAC value, it is proposed to be a more effective freeradical quencher and slows oxidative stress that, in theory, can slow aging and disease processes. Second, the more effectively we handle free radicals, the healthier we should be. However, we don’t look at ORAC value only when recommending a product,” said Norman, noting that some customers have read that the higher ORAC, the better the product. “If this is what they want, we will introduce them to high ORAC products.” <br /> <br /> Formulation Concentration <br /> <br /> Tailor Made Nutrition’s best-selling antioxidant product is CORE capsules by ImmunoViva, and Norman attributes its popularity to the fact that the store’s naturopathic physician prescribes it to virtually every patient and that the physician has provided detailed educa- Tion to the staff on the product.<br /> <br /> “I believe Dr. Ratte, our naturopath, uses CORE as an important component of a healthy diet, providing essential fatty acids as a base of health, along with other nutrients. It is also recommended for inflammation and autoimmune conditions by our staff,” said Norman.<br /> <br /> According to Immuno-Viva’s Mueller, CORE is loaded with synergistic antioxidant activity and omega-3s and -6s, and it powerfully supports cardiovascular health and the immune system. The product contains concentrated black raspberry and black cumin seed oils extracted through Immuno-Viva’s exclusive NatureFresh Cold Process™ process, which requires eight pounds of berries to make just one half teaspoon of oil, and CORE is available in liquid and capsule forms.<br /> <br /> “The ingredients used in Immuno- Viva products are the product of the NatureFresh Cold Press process. Seeds are pressed using no added heat and no chemicals so that the resulting lipids and fibers retain their antioxidant activity levels, as well as their full nutrient potential,” Mueller explained. He added that the ingredients of CORE supplements have such powerful antioxidant activity potential that they were awarded a United States Patent (US Patent No. 7,897,194 B2) on the “Synergistic Super Potent Antioxidant Cold Pressed Botanic Oil Blends.” “This means the composition of cold pressed black cumin seed oil and fruit seed oils in CORE exhibit total antioxidant activity greater than the sum of the antioxidant activities of the individual oils.” <br /> <br /> The Berries For Life products can be divided into two lines: “Pure Berry,” which consists of a holistic blend of whole ground berries combined with concentrated anthocyanin-standardized extracts and berry juice powders to create well-rounded, complete products; and “Functional,” which combines a precise blend of berries with other well-researched and substantiated ingredients that target multiple aspects of a particular health condition.<br /> <br /> “The berry ingredients chosen are highly functional and heavily tested dark berries like aroniaberry (also known as chokeberry), elderberry and black currant, that were produced using a physical membrane process, negating the need for a solvent to be used which can degrade the anthocyanins” said Gallo.<br /> <br /> “The non-berry ingredients in our Functional Line have all been scientifically substantiated and made good additions to the antioxidant berry ingredients in each formulation.” <br /> <br /> While the Berries For Life products have not been tested in clinical studies to date, the health benefits of the ingredients chosen for the Berries For Life formulations have been investigated in a wide array of studies ranging from in vitro to human clinicals, and the formulations were designed using efficacious dosages used in clinical studies.<br /> <br /> Nine of the 10 products are in veggie- capsule form for convenience, while the Very Berry™ Antioxidant Chews are a unique pectin-gummy delivery the company developed based on customer feedback.<br /> <br /> “It is very hard to find a vegetarianfriendly gummy as most are made with gelatin and a small amount of pectin, if any,” said Gallo. “We heard from consumers they wanted a veggiegummy and it was very important to us to offer this.” <br /> <br /> All of NaturaNectar’s products deliver antioxidant action, but it’s the unique source and extraction method that makes them stand out, according to Paes-Leme. “Never before has a company been able to launch functional products of Brazilian bee propolis because of the limitations of the extraction methods that are commonly used by ingredient makers,” he said, explaining that the company’s exclusive access to a water-based process (Green Extraction) allows it to separate flavonoids from phenolic acids and eliminate the beeswax and impurities from propolis. “These substances are powerful antioxidants, so no matter what product our clients are using, they will always benefit from free radicalscavenging properties.” <br /> <br /> All products are delivered in vegetable capsules except for Throat Guardian, a mouth spray clinically tested (double-blind, placebo-controlled) to support oral and respiratory health.<br /> <br /> Overcoming Challenges <br /> <br /> The main challenge with antioxidants facing Tailor Made Nutrition is that most individuals do not feel an immediate change with the addition of antioxidants, according to Norman. But through education and open communication with customers, the store is overcoming the obstacle.<br /> <br /> “We tend to use examples with our customers, such as if your driving down the highway at a high rate of speed and one tire falls off, what happens? The car will swerve and hit others, causing a domino effect. We ask them to think of that as free radical pathology,” said Norman. “Antioxidants help to ‘quench’ the problem of the tire falling off, preventing damage to other cars. We relate these cars to cells in the body going out of control and antioxidants preventing this damage to other cells.”<br /> <br /> Antioxidants Offer Effective and Affordable Urinary Tract Health<br /> <br /> Urinary tract infection (UTI) is the second most common infection that affects women. About 50 percent of all women will experience a UTI in their lifetime and many women suffer them recurrently.<br /> <br /> Treatment of a UTI most often involves antibiotic therapy, which is associated with various risks, according to Sherry Torkos, Bsc, Phm, holistic pharmacist and author. The overuse of antibiotics is now recognized as a major factor in the development of resistance (i.e., the bugs are becoming stronger than the drugs) as well as coming at a high financial cost (some of the broad-spectrum drugs costing $80 or more for a week supply).<br /> <br /> “Prevention of UTIs with antibiotics is effective, but undesirable due to side effects (most commonly diarrhea, upset stomach and yeast infection). In some cases, a potentially fatal superinfection with the bacteria Clostridium difficile can occur due to antibiotic use,” said Torkos. “Antimicrobial resistance is another concern. In fact, resistance to trimethoprim in bacteria-causing UTIs has been steadily increasing in Northern European and American countries from 10 to 15 percent in the 1970s to about 24 percent in 2004.” <br /> <br /> One of the most widely used cranberry products on the market, as cited by Torkos, is Proprietary Nutritionals Inc.’s (PNI) Cran-Max, a fullspectrum product that contains all the vital parts of the cranberry. It also eliminates a major drawback with many cranberry juice powders— that they are quickly destroyed by stomach acid, and are only able to deliver a small amount of cranberry to the urinary tract—by utilizing a patented Bio-Shield® technology where the natural plant fibers form a lignan-cellulose matrix that protects the cranberry from destruction by the stomach acids, delivering the nutrients to the lower gastrointestinal tract where they can be absorbed.<br /> <br /> “Cran-Max, part of our Berry-Max line, is a standout cranberry ingredient because it is a concentrate of the entire berry—not an isolated extract,” said Dean Mosca, PNI president. “This is important because all the naturally occurring nutrients in their varied levels are captured pristinely. It is made via a proprietary process that utilizes all the vital parts of the cranberry: skin, seeds, pulp, juice and fiber. <br /> <br /> Cran- Max is the first dosage-confirmed cranberry concentrate delivering relief with just one 500 mg capsule per day, and the Bio-Shield technology protects the cranberry from gastric acid destruction.” Cran-Max has several quality studies showing efficacy in the area of bladder and urinary tract health.One such study, published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, showed that the administration of Cran-Max was comparable to trimethoprim, for the prevention of recurrent UTIs in older women. This randomized, controlled clinical trial enrolled 137 women who experienced two or more antibiotictreated UTIs in the previous 12 months.They were randomized to receive either 500 mg of Cran-Max or 100 mg of trimethoprim for six months. The researchers found that the time to first recurrence of UTI was not significantly different between the groups.<br /> <br /> “What remains seminal about this research on Cran-Max is that it proves that some dietary supplements can work to exert desired specific action in vivo similar to a pharmaceutical,” said Mosca. “It also costs less and does not deliver potential side effects.”

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