According to an article out of the Cleveland Clinic, current top health concerns for men include prostate cancer, heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Other age-related concerns that made the list included decreased testosterone levels, erectile dysfunction and difficulty with weight management.
“Today, men are more aware than in the past that they can positively influence their quality of life,” said David Winston RH(AHG), president and founder of New Jersey-based Herbalist & Alchemist. “Men are increasingly trying to take preventative steps to maintain health so they don’t have to go through medical procedures later in life,” he continued. “In addition, as men age, they tend to take their health more seriously.”
The Men’s Health Market
While the size of the market for men’s products is smaller than it is for women, Winston said he believes that the market is a very strong one, focusing on top health concerns including prostate health, urinary function, sexual health and athletic performance and recovery.
The Council for Responsible Nutrition’s 2015 Consumer Survey results indicated that 44 percent of male supplement users take supplements to support overall wellness, 30 percent to boost energy, and 28 percent for immune and heart health.
Cheryl Myers, chief of education and scientific affairs at EuroPharma, Inc. in Wisconsin relayed that the company is seeing a strong interest in nutrients outside of the usual ingredients used in men’s supplement formulations. “Our SagaPro, which is a unique extract from Icelandic Angelica archangelica is clinically studied to improve bladder capacity in men who wake frequently at night for urination.” Research has also shown that ingredients such as curcumin and tannin-free grape seed extract can make a big difference for men who are closely monitoring their cellular health and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels.
Matt Murray, store manager and co-owner of GreenAcres Markets headquartered in Kansas, shared that men’s supplements tend to sell at a rate that is about 50 percent less than that of his women’s health supplements, and that men seem less likely to discuss their health issues than his female customers. In Murray’s experience, most men are looking for help choosing a product. Products that support prostate health, testosterone levels and symptoms of erectile dysfunction are among the top requests from men.
Jim Daily III, PhD, president of Daily Manufacturing, Inc. in North Carolina agreed. He found that while the market isn’t as large as the women’s health market, it is certainly a consistent one for general men’s health products that increase energy and libido and for prostate concerns.
New Launches in Prostate Support and Multivitamins
AgeLoss Prostate Support and AgeLoss Men’s Multi are the newest and most exciting products in the men’s health category offered by New York-based Nature’s Plus, which have both been top sellers since their release.
Both products contain an antioxidant blend and a healthy inflammation response blend to support the immune system and promote a healthy inflammation response.
One of the newest products from EuroPharma’s Terry Naturally line and a best-selling men’s health product is CuraMed Prostate. CuraMed Prostate features the same clinically validated curcumin enhanced with turmeric essential oil that has been the subject of more than 31 published studies with anti-cancer properties and other health benefits. According to Myers, curcumin has the ability to stop the multitude of conditions that can lead to prostate cancer, including inflammation, oxidation, DNA damage, and the cell-signaling that creates the susceptibility to tumors and the spread of the disease.
CuraMed Prostate also includes pomegranate seed oil, a source of the omega-5 essential fatty acid known as punicic acid, which has been shown to inhibit PSA and stop the growth of blood vessels that feed tumors. The formula also includes a specialized, tannin-free grape seed extract with highly absorbable oligomeric proanthocyanidins (or OPCs). Studies show that grape seed extract has the ability to stop the inflammatory pathways that lead to cells becoming cancerous. The formula also contains vitamin D3, an essential vitamin that an increasing number of people are finding themselves deficient in recent times.
“For some people, genetics can stack the deck against their body’s ability to synthesize vitamin D,” said Myers. She reported that a Harvard Medical School study showed that 14 percent of the participants with a “less functional” vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene were more susceptible to prostate cancer. The study found that a combination of low vitamin D levels and a slight genetic difference could mean that a man was more than twice as likely to develop an aggressive form of the disease. However, men with normal vitamin D levels were protected from the disease, even if they are predisposed genetically.
New for the Active Male
It’s clear that male supplement users are interested in ones that improve overall wellness, and active males want to stay active in athletics as long as they can.
Rafael Avila, director of research and development at Nature’s Plus stated that there is a growth trend for sports products with a predominantly male consumer base. “Protein products, creatine products and products that focus on branched chain amino acids, which have historically been prized by athletes and body builders, are showing strong growth among non-athletes. Many in this demographic are weekend warriors, but many others take these products to help maintain strength, vitality and stamina as they age.”
Manufacturers are looking to connect with this sports-minded male market. “We decided it was necessary to launch a product with packaging and educational materials specifically addressing joint health and featuring study results in men,” stated Richard Passwater, Jr., product education director for Bio Minerals, the maker of BioSil, a speciality line from Washington-based Natural Factors.
BioSil On Your Game, clinically proven to relieve joint discomfort, increase flexibility, increase range of motion, and improve cartilage condition in men was launched in 2016. “To accomplish controlled and fluid movement, a team of different collagen-dependent connective tissues, such as bones, cartilage, ligaments, tendons and muscles must all work together in unison,” explained Passwater. “A failure of any tissue to perform properly can limit a person’s ability to move, cause pain during the movement and/or trigger inflammation. And even worse, the failure of one tissue to perform as expected can cause damage to other tissues involved. The bottom line is your ability to move is only as strong as the weakest link in the movement cycle and all these links are dependent on the quality of their collagen.”
BioSil On Your Game stimulates new collagen production by activating and supporting the enzymes used to make collagen and protects collagen by neutralizing homocysteine, a metabolite that can destroy and suppress collagen production.
The product claims are supported by a clinical trial published in the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders that investigated BioSil choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid (ch-OSA) and demonstrated that in just 12 weeks, this specific complex reduced discomfort and stiffness and improved physical function in men with moderate to moderately severe knee osteoarthritis and decreased biomarkers of cartilage degradation.
Reformulations and Renaming
Herbalist & Alchemist has recently reformulated their Men’s Adapt product. Men’s Adapt is a nourishing and strengthening adaptogenic tonic for healthy sexual function and libido suitable for men of all ages. It contains red ginseng and ashwagandha, which in clinical trials have demonstrated the ability to enhance erectile function, sperm count and libido, while also improving mood and mental function. The new formulation also contains maca and the Chinese kidney yang tonics cynomorium (Suo Yang) and epimedium (horny goatweed) used to improve sexual functioning and virility.
Herbalist & Alchemist has also renamed their product formerly known as Gentle-Man to Men’s Midlife Tonic, which supports mature men’s emotional balance. “Everyone knows about menopause, but men go through a very similar change of life called andropause,” explained Winston. “For men, midlife is a time of decreasing hormone levels, changes in energy and health, as well as emotional challenges due to age, stress, and relationships. While many men try to “tough it out,” smart men realize that simple lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, sleep, stress reduction techniques, counseling and herbs) can offer significant benefits with little down side.”
Men’s Midlife Tonic contains ashwagandha, used in the ayurvedic medicine to enhance libido and sexual functioning. The formula also contains the fresh oat, saw palmetto, black cohosh, pulsatilla and mimosa bark.
According to Avila, T Male, Ultra T Male and Ultra GHT Male from Nature’s Plus remain among the industry’s best-selling male hormone-boosting supplements due to their efficacy. “A number of products on the market use ingredients that force the body to produce more male hormones—these are typically illegal or ineffective.” Avila explained that Nature’s Plus takes a different approach with their formulas by looking at factors such as nutritional deficiencies, excess free radicals that attack hormone-producing tissues and increased inflammation that leads to a slowdown in hormone production. “T Male, Ultra T Male and Ultra GHT each include the essential nutrients that are most deficient in men with low hormone production. These products also include the kinds of antioxidants that have been shown to remove hormone-impeding free radicals.”
The Vitamin for Men formula from Daily Manufacturing combines a blend of herbs with DHEA and L-arginine to support men’s reproductive health. As DHEA production starts to decrease after the age of 30, supplementation with the hormone can improve well being and sexual function.
As men age, a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or an enlarged prostate is common. Symptoms of BPH include: urinary frequency, decreased urine flow, incomplete emptying of the bladder, urinary dribbling and nocturia.
Men’s Prostate Tonic from Herbalist & Alchemist supports healthy prostate function and urine flow. “The popular wisdom is saw palmetto is the prostate herb,” said Winston. “While the fruit of this Florida palm does modestly reduce BPH symptoms, it is less effective than most people think. To create synergy and enhance the activity of saw palmetto, it should be combined with other herbs that inhibit conversion of testosterone to DHT (dihydrotestosterone) such as nettle root, as well as herbs that actually shrink a swollen prostate such as white sage and collinsonia. This creates a combination that is vastly more effective than any one component of the formula and one that works more quickly.” Daily Manufacturing has a product called Prostamin, which is a potent source of plant phytoserols, including beta-sistosterol as well as other herbal ingredients that benefit prostate health.
“Instead of using saw palmetto in Prostamin, we have decided to use plant sterol blends, which have a much higher percentage of beta-sitosterol than is possible in the saw palmetto extracts,” said Daily. That is partly because good quality saw palmetto is difficult to source since there is a worldwide shortage of saw palmetto that is not showing any signs of ending. Also, we can make a much more potent supplement without saw palmetto.
Tips for Retailers
Advice from Myers on how retailers can enhance sales of men’s health products started out simply, “listen to your customers’ needs.” Her other recommendations included bringing in guest speakers or researchers on the topics when possible—especially in early evening hours—and making those nights an event for the store.
“People are always looking for more information about health concerns that have personal meaning to them. For men who are concerned about their prostate health, there is a lot of potential for men (and their spouses or partners) to be very grateful for a welcoming, informative experience that takes some of the mystery out of their questions.”
Daily observed that men can be hesitant to discuss or even buy supplements for prostate and reproductive health, and that women are much more open to discussing and looking for help with issues related to aging. “We find that women often look for and purchase these products for the men in their lives, and that women may be one of the best markets for men’s health products.” VR
Geusens P, Pavelka K, Rovensky J, Vanhoof J, Demeester N, Calomme M, Vanden Berghe D (2017). A 12-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled multicenter study of choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid in patients with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis, BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 18:2 DOI 10.1186/s12891-016-1370-7.
Li, H., Stampfer, M. J., Hollis, J. B. W., Mucci, L. A., Gaziano, J. M., Hunter, D., & Ma, J. (2007). A prospective study of plasma vitamin D metabolites, vitamin D receptor polymorphisms, and prostate cancer. PLoS Med, 4(3), e103.
For More Information:
Daily Manufacturing, Inc., (704) 782-0700
EuroPharma, Inc., (866) 598-5487
Herbalist & Alchemist, (908) 689-9020
Natural Factors, (360) 243-3500
Nature’s Plus, (631) 293-0030