Vitamin Retailer December 2012 : Page 28

Supplements for memory and cognition see strong sales as the market broadens. By Janet Poveromo A ccording to 2011 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, a report from the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5.4 mil-lion Americans are known to be living with the disease. What’s worse, the prevalence of decreased brain health and memory decline among Americans is poised to grow rapidly in the near future. Reports such as these help fuel sales at the natural product retail level, according to Kevin Cobb, director of sales and marketing with California-based manufacturer Doctor’s Best Inc. “We continue to see retailer interest in expanding the category for brain health. The 72 million Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964 are turn-ing 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day,” 28 VITAMIN RETAILER he said, noting that the Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ) Supplement Business Report 2012 reported the sales growth of supplements targeting cogni-tive health and mental acuity grew 7.4 percent in 2011, reaching $580 million. “This replicates the feedback that we hear during retail and consumer educa-tion events. Consumers are increasingly interested in maintaining mental acuity as they age.” Ron Antriaisan, vice president of busi-ness development with Florida-based Life Extension, added that cognitive health has always been a strong catego-ry, but has gained even more momen-tum in recent years due to increased media exposure regarding, among other things, brain trauma caused by head injuries from contact sports at all age levels, as well as cognitive deterio-ration due to dementia and Alzheimer’s, and cognitive decline due to aging. More Users Chief Innovation Officer Rob Maru with Florida-based Reserveage Organics said the company sees two types of brain supplement users: One is concerned with serious brain conditions that center around cognitive decline such as dementia and Alzheimer's; the other is interested in enhanced brain function, memory, focus and performance. And Cobb said Doctor’s Best takes note of the range of consumers during the company’s education events. “We identify opportunities where supple-mentation could be beneficial at all stages, whether we’re talking about a WWW.VITAMINRETAILER.COM s DECEMBER 2012

Brain Health For All Ages

Janet Poveromo

According to 2011 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, a report from the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5.4 million Americans are known to be living with the disease. What’s worse, the prevalence of decreased brain health and memory decline among Americans is poised to grow rapidly in the near future.<br /> <br /> Reports such as these help fuel sales at the natural product retail level, according to Kevin Cobb, director of sales and marketing with Californiabased manufacturer Doctor’s Best Inc. “We continue to see retailer interest in expanding the category for brain health. The 72 million Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964 are turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day,” he said, noting that the Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ) Supplement Business Report 2012 reported the sales growth of supplements targeting cognitive health and mental acuity grew 7.4 percent in 2011, reaching $580 million. “This replicates the feedback that we hear during retail and consumer education events. Consumers are increasingly interested in maintaining mental acuity as they age.” <br /> <br /> Ron Antriaisan, vice president of business development with Florida-based Life Extension, added that cognitive health has always been a strong category, but has gained even more momentum in recent years due to increased media exposure regarding, among other things, brain trauma caused by head injuries from contact sports at all age levels, as well as cognitive deterioration due to dementia and Alzheimer’s, and cognitive decline due to aging.<br /> <br /> More Users <br /> <br /> Chief Innovation Officer Rob Maru with Florida-based Reserveage Organics said the company sees two types of brain supplement users: One is concerned with serious brain conditions that center around cognitive decline such as dementia and Alzheimer's; the other is interested in enhanced brain function, memory, focus and performance.<br /> <br /> And Cobb said Doctor’s Best takes note of the range of consumers during the company’s education events. “We identify opportunities where supplementation could be beneficial at all stages, whether we’re talking about a student or a senior citizen.” <br /> <br /> Retailer Arnie Gitomer, president and co-owner of Willner Chemists, which has two locations in Manhattan and a franchise in Atlanta, GA, said the category is certainly growing with a broader array of consumers, “from the senior set worried about memory and Alzheimer’s disease to Baby Boomers and even younger folks in their 40s and 50s. You also have students,” he said.<br /> <br /> Potent Products <br /> <br /> While Gitomer said he sees consumer interest grow and many new product launches, “overall the products are not really new, but similar versions of the same thing.” <br /> <br /> With no new “miracle” ingredient capturing the spotlight in the category, manufacturers are focusing on science.<br /> <br /> This is especially important to retailer Margo Martin, PhD, manager at Natural of Course in Wichita, KS, who completed her PhD in holistic nutrition with a dissertation on Alzheimer’s disease two years ago. She said she actively seeks products for the store that are backed by clinical evidence. For example, after examining the research for brain health, she wanted to find a product that contained Egb 761, a form of Gingko biloba from Germany. She was able to find it in Nature’s Way’s gingko products that deliver 60 and 120 mg. Another supplement the store carries is the clinically researched Perceptiv™ cognitive supplement from Massachusetts-based Sevo Nutraceuticals Inc. <br /> <br /> The downside is price: most of the customers for these products are seniors, aged 60 years and older, and price plays a role in their selection, so those supplements have a limited customer base, Martin noted. The more affordable—but also effective—ginkgo biloba from NOW Foods is selling well, she explained.<br /> <br /> Also noting the ‘gold standard’ of clinical trials, Parris Kidd, PhD, chief science officer with Doctor’s Best, listed eight nutrients that he said stand out as the best proven to support brain health:<br /> <br /> • PS (phosphatidylserine): for memory, learning and stress<br /> <br /> • GPC (glycerophosphocholine): for attention, concentration and memory<br /> <br /> • DHA (docosahexaenoic acid, omega-3): for memory<br /> <br /> • SAMe (S-adenosyl methionine): for mood<br /> <br /> • 5-MTHF (5-methyltetrahydrofolate): for mood<br /> <br /> • NAC (N-acetyl cysteine): for mood swings and compulsions<br /> <br /> • ALC (acetyl-L-carnitine): for behavior in children<br /> <br /> • Carnitine: for cognitive health in the elderly <br /> <br /> In addition, there are other ingredients that have captured his attention. “From my scientific perspective, ingredients that seem to be (or should be) making gains include bacopa, ashwaganda and algal DHA, which is suitable for vegetarians,” he added.<br /> <br /> Comprehensive brain health products on the market contain a host of these ingredients and more, said Life Extension’s Antriaisan. “These include PS, a crucial building block in the brain; alpha-GPC, a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine; vinpocetine, which enhances blood flow by dilating blood vessels; grape seed extract, which provides crucial polyphenols; ashwaganda, used in ayurvedic medicine to boost brain function; and uridine-5-monophosphate, a critical brain nutrient.” <br /> <br /> Magnesium is another ingredient that has been the subject of research at Life Extension, given its benefits for cognitive function. “Until now, there has been little to offer given the difficulty the body experiences maintaining optimal levels of magnesium in the brain,” noted Antriaisan. The company introduced the L-threonate form of magnesium, providing superior absorption into the bloodstream. In pre-clinical models, its Neuro-Mag™ product boosted magnesium levels in spinal fluid by an impressive 15 percent compared to no increase with conventional magnesium.<br /> <br /> Reserveage Organics’ Maru noted that PS has always been considered a core brain health nutrient, “but consumers are gravitating toward a new form called Sharp-PS green, which is soy-free and non-GMO,” he said. “We love rhodiola as the herb of choice for enhancing brain function and performance. We also believe that resveratrol is the most important antioxidant for optimizing brain health. New University research studying the effects of our very own Reserveage Resveratrol on agerelated cognitive decline is due out early next year. Resveratrol has been used for many years to help improve cerebral blood flow and support healthy response to inflammation.” <br /> <br /> To that end, under the Reserveage Advanced Solutions sub-brand, the company utilizes the new soy-free, non- GMO Sharp-PS® green ingredient in its Adaptostress 3. The product also delivers clinical levels of standardized rhodiola rosea, which helps to energize the brain and provide enhanced focus, attention and reduced fatigue, according to the company.<br /> <br /> Enzymotec USA, a global supplier of lipid-based ingredients, provides Reseveage Organics (as well as other manufacturers) with the soy-free, non- GMO ingredient. According to Elzaphan Hotam, CEO of the New Jersey-based company, Enzymotec is involved in the brain health category on four levels:<br /> <br /> • Sales of “generic” PS and alpha- GPC, where the company competes over price, quality and service<br /> <br /> • Specialty items in each of these groups. “For example, with PS we have soy-free PS and PS-DHA conjugate, which are advanced forms of PS. We have GPC active, offering a more natural form of PS,” Hotam explained.<br /> <br /> • Exclusive combinations, where the company supplies unique combinations to selected accounts under special considerations<br /> <br /> • Novel delivery platforms (liquids, Licaps® capsules, etc.) to offer alternative and superior solutions “We are also actively pursuing clinical trials and additional marketing tools set to support commercial selling,” Hotam noted.<br /> <br /> Manufacturers agree there is more emphasis on clinical trial support for products. “With rare exceptions, animal experiments are no longer sufficient because they do not reliably predict that a product will work in humans,” said Kidd, who noted that Doctor’s Best’s products are typically offered at doses that match full clinical potency and use delivery forms optimized for bioavailability and safety.<br /> <br /> “Doctor’s Best is interested in clinical trials, preferably conducted with subjects who are not diseased, and preferably designed to test prospective structure- function claims that conform with DSHEA and which we can use directly on our labels and for other promotion,” Kidd explained. “I work with our excellent team to offer customers dietary supplements scientifically formulated to give them noticeable benefit. We accept the responsibility to offer customers no less than the highest quality products.” <br /> <br /> “Brainstorming” for Retailers <br /> <br /> To help retailers convey the need for these supplements and their benefits, Kidd said Doctor’s Best has an extensive program for educating its field reps, store buyers and customers on the scientific rationales for its products. “Our product development is science-driven and we prepare our sales community to explain the merits of this strategy to customers.” <br /> <br /> Cobb added that the company devotes significant marketing dollars into education for consumers and retail staff, sponsoring consumer seminars, radio programs and educational seminars at all of the major industry trade shows. “We have also launched a weekly podcast (www.sciencebasednutrition. com) where we regularly host industry experts such as Dr. Kidd, who discuss a broad spectrum of topics including brain health.” <br /> <br /> Willner Chemists shares this passion for consumer education, hosting a twohour radio show on Sunday afternoons, and offers other educational events to shoppers. In October, the store held a brain health seminar featuring a presentation by Kidd.<br /> <br /> Another consideration for retailers: In an article about concussions, the New York Times reported in October that this fall, about three million children younger than 14 played organized tackle football in the United States. This has significance to the category on several levels since consumers, as well as mainstream media, are concerned with brain health for all ages. “As more individuals seek products to assist with cognitive function, the customer is actually driving this market,” noted Life Extension’s Antriaisan. “Recent media focus on head injuries from contact sports has introduced a younger, more physically active demographic with a very strong interest in proactively ensuring the health of their brain.”

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