Vitamin Retailer March 2014 : Page 32
Reactions Gut Retailers are finding that helping customers maintain a well-functioning digestive system is a core health concern. By Shari Barbanel make the thought of leaving the house unbearable. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), digestive dis-eases affect approximately 60 to 70 mil-lion Americans. Further, digestive issues can result from a number of factors including eating a poor diet, stress or intolerances to certain types of food such as lactose or gluten. In addition, gastrointestinal (GI) issues can have an effect on the rest of the D 32 VITAMIN RETAILER igestive distress can ruin any-one’s day as symptoms such as heartburn, abdominal pain and discomfort, bloating, constipation or diarrhea can body’s systems. In fact, approximately 70 percent of the immune system resides in GI tract. “We have found that here in our area digestion is a major concern for many of our customers,” said Linda L. Garrison, owner of Healthy Food Herb Vitamin Pet Wellness Center located in Morristown, TN. “When an individual comes in with a health prob-lem, first and foremost we want to know if there is a digestion problem—are they on a proton-inhibitor for acid reflux, have IBS (irritable bowel syn-drome), gas, heartburn, bloating, consti-pation or diarrhea? These are all signs of a digestion issue, which needs to be Celebrating 20 Years of Excellence 1994-2014 cleared up before addressing the initial problem. By the time we reach age 50, most individuals have lost at least 40 percent of their ability to digest foods properly.” “The interesting thing about digestive health is that so many people don’t realize digestion may be part of their health support needs unless they are actively experiencing symptoms such as heartburn, stomach pain or diarrhea,” added Ramona Billingslea, marketing manager of Betsy’s Health Foods in Houston, TX. “The truth of the matter is that even people who are ‘tired all the time’ could benefit from looking at WWW.VITAMINRETAILER.COM ■ MARCH 2014
Retailers are finding that helping customers maintain a well-functioning digestive system is a core health concern.<br /> <br /> Digestive distress can ruin anyone’s day as symptoms such as heartburn, abdominal pain and discomfort, bloating, constipation or diarrhea can make the thought of leaving the house unbearable. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), digestive diseases affect approximately 60 to 70 million Americans. Further, digestive issues can result from a number of factors including eating a poor diet, stress or intolerances to certain types of food such as lactose or gluten.<br /> <br /> In addition, gastrointestinal (GI) issues can have an effect on the rest of the body’s systems. In fact, approximately 70 percent of the immune system resides in GI tract. “We have found that here in our area digestion is a major concern for many of our customers,” said Linda L. Garrison, owner of Healthy Food Herb Vitamin Pet Wellness Center located in Morristown, TN. “When an individual comes in with a health problem, first and foremost we want to know if there is a digestion problem—are they on a proton-inhibitor for acid reflux, have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), gas, heartburn, bloating, constipation or diarrhea? These are all signs of a digestion issue, which needs to be cleared up before addressing the initial problem. By the time we reach age 50, most individuals have lost at least 40 percent of their ability to digest foods properly.” <br /> <br /> “The interesting thing about digestive health is that so many people don’t realize digestion may be part of their health support needs unless they are actively experiencing symptoms such as heartburn, stomach pain or diarrhea,” added Ramona Billingslea, marketing manager of Betsy’s Health Foods in Houston, TX. “The truth of the matter is that even people who are ‘tired all the time’ could benefit from looking at digestive support like enzymes, and from discussion about what nutrients they do and do not get from the foods they eat, what foods may be ‘reactive’ for that customer, etc.” <br /> <br /> Mainstream Acceptance <br /> <br /> As more consumers learn that maintaining their digestive system is key to staying healthy, the market is exploding. Jay Levy, director of sales with Californiabased Wakunaga of America, shared statistics from the 2013 U.S. Digestive Health Ingredients report by Markets and Markets research company, which showed the category is in a growth stage and is currently valued at $265.9 million. It is expected to grow to $495.3 million by 2015 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.2 percent.<br /> <br /> “Historically, the digestive health market has been stymied by formulation challenges largely due to the inherent instability of many digestive health ingredients,” explained Levy. “Over the past decade, exhaustive research has identified hardier strains of probiotics and other ingredients, which have been improved to maintain potency along the pathway from supplier to consumer.” <br /> <br /> Among the reasons for the category’s growth are the flood of media coverage and TV experts, such as Dr. Oz, touting the benefits of digestive wellness. In addition, physicians are also stressing the importance of a healthy digestive system to their patients. “The market has been beneficially impacted by more publicity on TV, radio and other press outlets,” said Justin D. Krahl, sales manager for Probium LLC in Wisconsin. “The general public is becoming better educated about the benefits of probiotics through publications in scientific papers, clinical studies, etc. More doctors are now recommending regular use of probiotics.” <br /> <br /> And due to this acceptance by many physicians and coverage by a plethora of media outlets, supplements targeting digestive wellness are appealing to everyone from Baby Boomers to parents with small children. According to Krahl, because a healthy lifestyle has become a common goal in today’s world, probiotics have a market for every age group, from toddlers to the elderly. Probium’s Kids Blend 6B Wild Berry Chewable Tablets features a special blend of B. lactis and L. acidophilus delivered in a wild berry-flavored chewable tablet. Formulated for children ages two and older, it’s designed to address a child’s special need of requiring more B. lactis than L. acidophilus.<br /> <br /> Probiotic supplements specifically geared toward children is another strong trend, agreed Levy, who noted that these products are offered at a lower potency. “As a general rule-ofthumb, the potency would be some 10 times less than the upper adult level. Delivery also needs to be more ‘kidfriendly.’” To satisfy a child’s taste buds, Wakunaga offers Kid’s Kyo- Dophilus, a vanilla-flavored chewable probiotic that’s both a fun and convenient way for children to enhance their beneficial bacteria levels, Levy added.<br /> <br /> Supplemental Relief <br /> <br /> While a poor diet or food intolerance may cause the occasional digestive disturbance, some people are living each day with a more serious, chronic problem. Among these are IBS or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)—Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the most common, as well as celiac disease. And while adopting a healthy lifestyle with proper eating habits and exercise can help people start to feel “normal” again, dietary supplementation can help get the body back on track. The most commonly used supplements for digestive relief include probiotics, dietary enzymes and fiber.<br /> <br /> “Probiotics, in particular, have been one of the major success stories in digestive health over the past few years,” explained Levy. “According to a recent market report published by Transparency Market Research ‘Probiotics Market—Global Industry Analysis, Market Size, Share, Trends, Analysis, Growth and Forecast, 2012- 18,’ global probiotics demand was worth $27.9 billion in 2011 and is expected to reach $44.9 billion in 2018, growing at a CAGR of 6.8 percent from 2013-18.” <br /> <br /> Ken Seguine, vice president of sales and marketing for Wisconsin-based LifeSciences, shared that the market for probiotic supplements is close to $3 billion in the U.S. “Probiotics really fit every market segment, but women in the 45 to 65 age group seem to have the greatest interest,” he said. “One possible explanation is the normal change in microflora as one ages, and the digestive issues that may accompany it.” <br /> <br /> UAS recently rebranded its entire product line (now called UP4 Probiotics) to make it easier for consumers to understand. “The new product, UP4 a Happier Inside, maintains the elements of our probiotics that consumers liked— natural acid and bile resistance, formulas containing scientifically backed strains L. acidophilus DDS-1, all-natural probiotics that are non-dairy, gluten-free, non- GMO (genetically modified organism), vegan and preservative- free,” explained Seguine. “Plus, we’ve concentrated the probiotics to use smaller, singledose capsules, increased potency and have added some new formulas incorporating another scientifically backed strain—B. Lactis HN019.” <br /> <br /> Wakunaga recently launched Probiata Digestion Support, a new type of probiotic designed to help the more than 90 million Americans suffering from lessthan- optimal GI health. Probiata is a unique pure strain probiotic in a convenient once-a-day formula. Available in two potencies—one containing 15 billion colony forming units (CFUs) for everyday support and another boasting 50 billion CFUs for times of GI stress— Probiata helps to replenish and balance intestinal microflora while supporting healthy digestion and regularity, according to the company.<br /> <br /> Delivery is a major concern when it comes to probiotics, as moisture, heat and a number of other factors can have an affect on the bacteria. “Delivery does not start when the consumer takes the probiotic, but starts at the manufacturer. Probiotics are negatively affected by heat, moisture and oxygen,” said Probium’s Krahl. “These are problems that need to be addressed even before the probiotics reach a consumer’s stomach acid. Choosing a low-moisture capsule and moistureresistant bottle helps maintain probiotic potency and the shelf life of probiotic products.”<br /> <br /> ReNew Life offers the Ultimate Flora™ line of high-potency probiotics that can appeal to a wide range of consumers, and includes formulas that fit individual needs, as well as a line of high-potency, shelf-stable probiotics— Ultimate Flora RTS (room temperature strains) probiotics provide up to 30 billion live probiotic cultures per capsule and up to 10 probiotic strains. Five high-potency formulas target daily maintenance, women’s health, colon care, extra strength daily care and a higher potency Bifido senior formula. They are packaged in on-the-go blister packs that are ideal for travelers or anyone who wants the convenience of a probiotic that does not require refrigeration. The company’s digestive health line features natural enzyme formulas that help break down a wide variety of foods, including proteins, carbohydrates, fats, sugars and dairy, according to Brenda Watson, president and founder of ReNew Life.<br /> <br /> And while probiotics have experienced impressive double-digit growth over the last several years, digestive enzymes are also becoming more popular, Watson added. “The digestive enzyme category has also steadily grown about 10 percent each year for the last few years according to SPINS, and as consumers become more aware of their benefits, we could see this category taking off.” <br /> <br /> A key factor in producing a potent enzyme formula is blending different type of enzymes, David Barton, Enzymedica’s (Venice, FL) director of education noted. “The key is understanding the importance and unique nature of individual enzymes and their role within the blend. This knowledge allows the most effective application possible.” <br /> <br /> Enzymedica’s best seller is Digest Gold with Thera-blend technology. Thera-blend enzymes use exclusive blends of multi-spectrum enzymes that work throughout the digestive tract and preform the most work possible without inhibiting one another. Enzymedica also added ATPro to its Digest Gold formula. According to the company, adding energy (ATP) back to your food plays a role in digestive efficiency.<br /> <br /> Enzymes and probiotics are often presented in blended formulas because they complement each other, Barton explained. “Probiotics are living organisms which improve digestive efficiency, while enzymes aid in the proper digestion of food and in turn, provide a ripe environment for probiotics to colonize.” <br /> <br /> Enzymedica’s Digest and Digest Basic are now available in combined enzyme-probiotic formulas. Digest Basic + PROBIOTICS and Digest + PROBIOTICS began shipping to retailers in January and taken with each meal, these combination formulas offer a broad range of plant-based enzymes and probiotics to support healthy digestion and elimination.* <br /> <br /> In addition to probiotics and digestive enzymes, ReNew Life adds fiber and omega-3s for digestive health. “To address these conditions, we recommend the H.O.P.E. Formula to rebalance the gut and fortify healthy digestion. H. O.P.E. stands for high fiber, omega-3 oils, probiotics and digestive enzymes,” said Watson. “Fiber promotes bowel regularity, omega-3 oils promote the body’s healthy inflammation response, probiotics help to replenish beneficial gut bacteria and digestive enzymes help break down difficult-todigest foods. These four elements make up the foundation for digestive health. Along with a good diet, daily supplementation with the H.O.P.E. formula will go a long way toward addressing common digestive ailments.” <br /> <br /> Probium Premium Probiotics is launching five new products, all of which use Sunfiber, which promotes intestinal and colon health, and aids in the transit of food through the intestines. According to the company, Sunfiber is tasteless, colorless, odorless, gluten-free and readily dissolves in water.<br /> <br /> Support System <br /> <br /> Customers often reach out to natural health retailers for the wealth of information and knowledge they offer, so making sure staff members are fully trained about products is vital. Mark Stayton, sales manager at Martindale’s Natural Market in Springfield, PA, noted that his staff is well-versed in the digestive health category.<br /> <br /> And while retailers do their part by training their staff and keeping abreast of the latest information, product offerings and studies, manufacturers can support their retail partners by offering them information, training sessions and literature to share with customers. For instance, Probium assists retailers by offering training, catalogs, sheets, samples and in-store demos, while UAS Labs has an active internet presence, participates in the online ordering programs and supports retailers with co-op programs and advertising.<br /> <br /> In addition to supplying written materials, handouts and displays, Enzymedica offers live trainings and seminars hosted by members of the company’s in-house training staff, as well as phone trainings and its online Enzyme Learning Center. According to Enzymedica, these tools not only increase deep knowledge of its products and how they work, but also boost retailer confidence in their ability to explain and sell the products. Stayton noted that Enzymedica sells very well because of the extensive online training, which the entire supplement staff is required to take, while Betsy’s Billingslea agreed that the company’s online certification course is very helpful to the staff.<br /> <br /> Helping consumers understand that maintaining a healthy digestive system can have a profound effect on their health is a still a challenge, but if retailers and manufacturers work together to educate customers, there is the potential to change a number of lives for the better. “Convincing people of the potential benefits of a focus shift that allows them to come back into balance with their digestive health rather than merely treating the symptoms is one of the biggest challenges in the digestive health arena,” concluded Billingslea. “When people are suffering from symptoms, they certainly need relief, but getting them to take that next step is even more important—getting them to see the big picture of how diet and lifestyle choices relate to their digestive health. This is where you have to take the time to really talk to customers and make them feel comfortable about opening up to you.”<br /> <br /> Tips for a Happy, Healthy Gut<br /> <br /> Jennifer Browne, author of the book Happy Healthy Gut: The Natural Diet Solution to Curing IBS and Other Chronic Digestive Disorders, was diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) in 2001, and has been symptom-free since 2010 when she adopted a mindful, plantbased diet. She is passionate about promoting clean, “wholistic” food practices and avoiding the slew of “nonfoods” that make up our current food system.<br /> <br /> Here, Browne offers tips on how to achieve digestive wellness.<br /> <br /> • Eat less. Most of us eat too much, and our digestive tracts get clogged and confused. It takes a lot of energy to digest big meals, ergo the 2 p.m. slump. By eating small, nutritious, easy-to-digest meals, we can retain so much more energy, and our tummies will be happy!<br /> <br /> • Keep it simple. Whole foods haven’t been tampered with, and neither have their nutrients. Our bodies recognize these foods as actual food, and don’t get confused by excess chemicals and modifications. This equals a better gastrointestinal response, which is exactly what we’re looking for.<br /> <br /> • Increase the fiber. Fiber is incredibly necessary to a healthy digestive tract. We get it from plants, and we need to pair it with lots of water. Plants plus water equals the perfect formula for a happy, healthy gut. Those who suffer from chronic digestive problems typically benefit to some degree from adopting a plantbased diet.<br /> <br /> • Eat mindfully and “food-forward.” Try and think ahead to the end result; don’t just give in to the immediate caloric satisfaction. By getting into the habit of asking ourselves whether that snack will both nourish our body and make us feel great two hours later, we train ourselves to be mindful about our food choices.<br /> <br /> • Re-define the meal. For too many of us, a “meal” consists of a storebought pizza. For those who are seeking better digestive health, consider other options. If it looks good, tastes good, and contributes to your overall health and well-being, then that’s a meal. This means that if homemade oatmeal with a side of green beans for dinner sounds great, then go for it.<br /> <br /> • Be consistent. Using these tips and eating well for only two days a week will not work. By giving our tummies the benefit of working with good food every day, we will be rewarded for our efforts.<br /> <br /> • Reduce stress. The brain and gut are connected. By reducing stress, the stomach is calmed, and vice-versa. Feeding ourselves properly will not only benefit GI heath—the whole body, including the mind, will reap the benefits.<br /> <br /> For more information, visit www.jenniferbrowne.org.