Mobility can be akin to a patio screen door that begins to malfunction. It can lose fluidity on its tracks causing it to get stuck, its structure can be impaired through years of weather events, and the screen itself, which should normally be taut and flexible, becomes looser. A little TLC and some WD-40 can help it get back on track and serviceable.
Human mobility is the combination of joints and the musculoskeletal system that, when healthy, can allow us to accomplish daily tasks to a variety of achievements, both personal and professional.
The landscape of conventional categories are starting to change—as opposed to being isolated, supplement science and resulting formulas are now starting to address how systems and organs work together to achieve healthful balance.
For example, at Garner’s Natural Life, in South Carolina, wellness associate Sherri McCall said that all three condition-specific supplements—bone, joint and muscle support—are indeed grouped together in the supplement section, showing consumers that it makes sense to create a healthy mobility regimen, rather than support an isolated system. “Most customers know they need to take calcium and magnesium for bone health,” she noted. “Our team educates our customers about the necessity of vitamins D and K2 to enhance the proper efficacy of the calcium, for example. Additionally, we tell our customers that supporting cartilage is important.”
The staff at Garner’s Natural Life like to address healthy inflammatory support for their customers who are concerned with joint issues, and will recommend turmeric and devil’s claw. “Less inflammation means better mobility,” said McCall. She added that her favorite supplements in this area are Megafood’s Turmeric and Garden Of Life’s Vitamin Code Grow Bone System.
It is kind of like the old children’s ditty, “The foot bone’s connected to the shin bone; the shin bone’s connected to the thigh bone.” Meaning that the skeleton is connected to the joints, and the muscles are connected to the skeleton. And it stands to reason that when modern, savvy, health-conscious consumers now think about “bone health” or “joint health,” they can easily understand the need to pay critical attention to the other two biological systems that each relies upon in order to enjoy healthy mobility. Stacey Littlefield, lead product formulator of Illinois-based Redd Remedies, agrees wholeheartedly, noting that the company creates formulas from a holistic perspective. For example, Redd Remedies offers products in its Body Structure category which focus on the sum total of healthy movement and the body systems involved in movement.
“These systems include not only cartilage, but the entire joint structure; the bones that create the skeletal ‘scaffolding’ and the muscles that facilitate movement,” Littlefield explained. “Healthy movement and flexibility will not take place if any of these body systems are ignored. Most supplements are focused on single areas or single tissues, for example using only calcium for bone health or glucosamine sulfate for joint health. Only recently, within the past few years, have we seen novel and innovative raw materials that provide support for the joint and bones as systems.”
In the past decades, observed Timothy Mount, CN, CCMH, director of education for California-based NeoCell, supplements reflected the understanding of the body from a Western medicine perspective, i.e., the body was viewed as individual tissues and organs, and with that, intensifying scrutiny with microscopes to find individual building blocks like cells of a tissue. Therefore, the natural products industry had a reflective individualized mindset, and products were often named for the individual nutrient it contained. For example, Mount offered, NeoCell’s first supplement was 100 percent pure collagen, called Super Collagen.
More recently, he said, consumers’ understanding of health has shifted to knowing that our bodies are more than a series individual parts, and instead are an intricate network of interrelated systems. “For example, a knee joint only functions properly when all of the parts are healthy,” Mount remarked.
The structure of the tissues—which is made mostly of collagen and supported by MSM and vitamin C—must be strong. The knee needs cushioning and fluidity to reduce friction with nutrients like hyaluronic acid, glucosamine and chondroitin. Plus, excessive inflammation and pain from free radical damage will limit movement, so scavenging antioxidants becomes critical. “A supplement like NeoCell’s new Move Matrix takes all of these factors into account and supports all of the most important components of joint health,” Mount noted.
Ironically, pointed out Hectora Alila, partner, Avie Naturals of Louisiana, regular exercise is key to maintaining healthy movement and overall vitality, yet Western diets are typically abundant in inflammation-causing foods, spurring on an inflammatory response that creates discomfort and unease.
“Healthy mobility can be achieved by regularly taking herbal inflammation-support nutrients, such as the water-soluble Avie’s Ultramicromized turmeric-based products to support against inflammation caused by exercise,” he explained. “These products also promote recovery of muscles after strenuous exercise due to their anti-inflammatory and high antioxidant effects.”
Alila emphasized that many customers may still use NSAIDs (ibuprofen or naproxen) to relieve aches, and may be aware that these drugs can cause GI (gastrointestinal) bleeding with regular use. However, natural alternatives may certainly provide sought-after relief. For example, he noted, it has been shown that the combination of curcumin with Boswellia serrata was as effective as NSAID celecoxib (CelebrexR) in promoting joint function (mobility and flexibility). “These types of results including education about the merits of exercise (healthy movement) promotes awareness and the increased use of nutraceuticals and other dietary supplements that promote bone, joint and muscle health,” Alila said.
In the viewpoint of Weiguo Zhang, CEO, Synutra Pure of Maryland, it is clearly a true statement that healthy movement, rather than any singular category, matters for total wellbeing because healthy movement requires various aspects of a body to act in a concerted and mutually supportive manner. “Ailments or injuries to any part of the system may cause collapse of the healthy movement routine,” he said.
Osteoporosis reduces bone density increasing risk of fracture; injuries may induce sustained inflammation that restricts range of motion, and cartilage loss due to daily wear and tear often leads to osteoarthritis. “One needs to attend to all aspects to keep an active and sustainable lifestyle,” Zhang noted.
Zhang further observed that the mindset of healthy movement versus singular systemic support is leading the way for the explosive growth of supplements such as vitamin D, calcium, curcuminoids, chondroitin, glucosamine, MSM, collagen and hyaluronic acid. “Since we specialize in chondroitin for joint health, we have more to contribute in the dialogue on this popular item that is considered one of the most important and proven extracts in the totality of the healthy movement picture,” he asserted. “You can always take care to avoid fracture or injury. But in routine and daily proceedings of life, healthy movement rests on calm joints.”
Joint and muscle pain—ranging from exercise-induced pain to diseases such as fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis—are the primary reason for new visits to physicians, pointed out Jim Daily III, PhD president of North Carolina-based Daily Manufacturing. “Therefore,” he stated, “pain-free movement is the ultimate goal of most people seeking treatment or lifestyle modifications to manage it. Accordingly, multi-faceted dietary interventions, including dietary supplements, have been developed to mitigate the various causes of chronic pain and discomfort.”
Such tools can include herbs that may desensitize pain receptors such a cayenne pepper, which can desensitize the TRPV1 pain receptor, Daily said. Also, the African herb Andrographis paniculata has been demonstrated to suppress the production of rheumatoid factor and help with the management of rheumatoid diseases. Additionally, curcumin is highly studied herb for pain management and is known to be a selective COX-2 (cyclooxygenase-2) inhibitor; it has both mechanistic and clinical research to support its effectiveness for promoting healthy inflammatory response, thus lessening discomfort.
“These and other bioactive herbal compounds can be combined to make highly effective formulations by targeting multiple pathways involved in pain and inflammation cascades, promoting better mobility,” Daily stated.
Controlled and fluid movement, noted Richard Passwater, Jr., educator bio minerals NV for Natural Factors of Washington, is accomplished via a team of different collagen-dependent connective tissues such as bones, cartilage, ligaments, tendons and muscles working together in unison. He said 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, even if that movement is as simple as opening a cabinet door. Further, he explained, the failure of one element to perform as expected may damage the other tissues involved in the movement cycle.
“The bottom line is your ability to move is only as strong as the weakest link in the movement cycle,” Passwater stated. “I believe there’s a continued trend throughout the joint research community to view joints more comprehensively as a collection of collagen-dependent connective tissues such as bones, cartilage, ligaments, tendons and muscles.”
Passwater added that he sees the progression of joint supplement formulations emphasizing and addressing the complex interactions between these connective tissues, such as the glycosaminoglycan network that helps nourish and lubricate them while also performing other biomechanical functions in the joint. “I believe this trend has carried over into supplements where there seems to be more emphasis now than ever before on products capable of positively influencing all the collagen-based tissues involved in the movement cycle,” he observed.
There are many newer supplements available to help your customers who are concerned about remaining vibrantly active and to nourish all the components of mobility.
Redd Remedies provides several integrative formulas featuring natural eggshell membrane (NEM), which, explained Littlefield, unlike isolated glucosamine, is a natural source of various glycosaminoglycans, sulfur-based amino acids, collagen and hyaluronic acid: all nutrients required for healthy joint structure. The products include Joint Health Original and Joint Health Advanced in vegetarian capsules and a tasty black cherry soft chew.
For those looking for superior inflammatory management combined with antioxidant support, Joint Health Advanced combines NEM with a specialized extract of Boswellia serrata and a blend of antioxidant-rich berries. Redd Remedies also offers Bone Health Original and Bone Health Advanced contain eggshell calcium (ESC).
“Rich in other bone-healthy minerals, such as strontium and manganese, ESC offers the consumer a food-source of calcium and other co-factors necessary for healthy bones,” Littlefield said. “Bone Health Advanced provides even greater bone support by complementing ESC with MenaQ7, vitamin K2, which also has significant clinical research for cardiovascular health.”
Synutra Pure offers Osteosyn chondroitin preparations, which feature chondroitin-only formulations with pharmaceutical-grade and low-sodium ingredients. Its Chondroitin 1000 preparation does not cause allergic reactions in those who are sensitive to shellfish extract such as glucosamine, according to Zhang. A bonus is that its low-sodium Chondroitin 1000 preparations come in calcium form, with less than 6 mg sodium salt per serving, most attractive for customers concerned about blood pressure. “Using high purity ingredient also gives us the advantage of smaller delivery size of the capsules, in comparison to other products that are often compared to horse pills,” Zhang noted.
North American Herb & Spice’s Illinois-based BoneActiv (capsules and a soothing topical rub) is the only bone support formula based on the power of special phytochemicals, known as monoterpenes, which help support healthy bone density more powerfully than any other therapy. This is raw calcium from microcrystalline hydroxyapatite (MCHC), derived from grass-fed New Zealand cattle. It’s combined with wild, mountain-grown, calcium-concentrating spices: sage, oregano and rosemary.
Researched for their bone-strengthening effects, MCHC and mountain spice are the subjects of significant scientific studies, demonstrating their novel powers for supporting bone health. Raw MCHC is far more active biologically than heat-treated alternatives. Sage, oregano, and rosemary grow wild on rock, not on soil, absorbing the minerals. This bioavailable concentration of minerals—calcium, phosphorus, copper, and zinc—is essential for building healthy, powerful bones and preventing age-related bone loss.
Avie Natural’s ultramicronized turmeric is produced to maintain the natural formulation of the turmeric root, which contains the natural amount of curcuminoids and the natural occurring polyphenols, terpenes, sterols and alkaloids, according to Alila. This formulation ensures the maximum potency of the active ingredients the curcuminoids through antioxidant protection. Avie’s ultramicronized turmeric is not enriched, nor contains any purified substances or additives.
“Avie’s turmeric formulation becomes water-soluble through a preserving grinding/spray process that leads to a submicron particle size,” Alila explained. “Unlike competitor formulations Avie’s turmeric is easily absorbed and exerts superior potency.”
EasyFlex-2, from Daily Manufacturing, targets bone and joint mobility. The company’s ParActin targets rheumatoid factor, boswellia, curcumin and quercetin target inflammation at several levels, and ginger and cayenne target pain receptors, according to Daily. “This combination has been highly effective because of its multifaceted approach and optimal doses of ingredients,” he stated.
According to Passwater, BioSil’s On Your Game is clinically proven in men to relieve joint discomfort, increase flexibility, increase range of motion, and improve cartilage condition. On Your Game is also the Advanced Collagen Generator, he pointed out.
“BioSil works to stimulate new collagen production by activating and supporting enzymes used to make collagen, elastin and keratin,” Passwater explained. “BioSil also helps protect collagen by neutralizing homocysteine, a metabolite that destroys collagen throughout the body and also suppresses new collagen production. Emerging research also shows that BioSil may help protect collagen from the stress hormone cortisol.”
It also contains glycosaminoglycans such as hyaluronic acid, and proteoglycans such as lubricin that also positively influence joint health. Hyaluronic acid and lubricin are elements that comprise much of the synovial fluid that cushions, lubricates and nourishes tissues in many joints. BioSil binds glycosaminoglycans to joints, improving their structural properties, he added.
Mount described NeoCell’s Move Matrix as a comprehensive joint formula containing ingredients that work synergistically to support overall joint health and comfort. Connective tissue structure is supported, he said, by collagen type 2, MSM and vitamin C for proper mechanical functioning. Joint hydration and cushioning are supported with hyaluronic acid, glucosamine and chondroitin. Discomfort from excessive inflammation is relieved with antioxidants turmeric, ginger root, resveratrol, boswelia, pine bark and black pepper extracts.
“In addition, our Joint Bursts are soft chews bursting with tropical flavor and comprehensive joint support nutrients—collagen, hyaluronic acid and turmeric extract,” Mount remarked. “They’re so good you’ll forget they are a supplement!”
Manufacturers are getting more creative in assisting retailers to sell their products, and in the healthy mobility category, there’s quite a few novel and fun ideas. NeoCell, said Mount, is “constantly participating in retailer and industry events in fun and creative ways. Recently, we partnered with an amazing chef Charles Chen to create delicious recipes that incorporate collagen.” Visit the NeoCell Youtube Channel (neocellcorp) for recipes and educational videos.
Additionally, NeoCell holds regular webinars and provides retailers with resources such as a Collagen and Hyaluronic Acid Research Summary, Joint Infographic and product literature. Further, passive sample kits are available for its new Joint Bursts. “We know customers want to try the flavor before buying a month’s supply of a NeoCell supplement,” Mount commented.
Michael Olinde, partner, Avie Naturals, suggested that retailers selling the product should take the “Avie Challenge.” This involves taking Avie along with the other curcumin products and breaking each into glasses of water side by side to witness the water solubility difference and why the Ultramicronized process makes a difference in their bodies.
Littlefield suggested a visual aid to grab customers’ attention. First, offer educational material (Redd Remedies also supplies these) and provide samples when available. “Make a big deal out of this with a blow up image of a knee as you explain that natural eggshell membrane will support the entire joint structure,” she said.
Other companies focus heavily on translating research directly to consumers, providing the “pull” effect of driving them into stores. Synutra Pure, said Zhang, “innovates with creative marketing approaches by going to targeted consumer groups on the ground first and conducting open-label intervention studies on chondroitin for joint health. Study results and direct consumer experience, shared through word of mouth and media communications, will in turn support consumer interest in chondroitin as the key ingredients in the category while building brand recognition and generate preferences for our specific products. We are also extraordinarily transparent on our website, providing detailed information on what consumers should know and ask when choosing which brand of dietary supplements to take.”
Brands that have been entrenched for awhile sometimes will be refreshed, especially in this category as consumers are starting to look into supporting the idea of maintaining healthy activity. Changes and trends are often organic, a groundswell, and some savvy manufacturers, when observing this, react by morphing the product to speak more appealingly to a new audience. Take BioSil from Natural Factors, for example.
“BioSil choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid has been available for many years,” said Passwater. “However we have learned after some major press hits featuring BioSil for joint health applications for men—such as a CBS news story out of New Orleans about a prominent NFL quarterback taking BioSil to strengthen his shoulder, and a social media feature about a famous professional surfer using BioSil to strengthen his shoulder—that our current BioSil packaging focusing on BioSil’s clinically proven benefits for hair, skin, and nails doesn’t appeal to men seeking supplements for joint health.”
To address the problem, Natural Factors recently introduced BioSil On Your Game featuring packaging and promotional materials specifically highlighting ch-OSA’s benefits related to men’s joint health. The company also set up the educational website, www.BioSilOnYourGame.com, to provide men with comprehensive information.
These sophisticated supplements can be combined into one section, dubbed “Healthy Mobility,” or “Active Lifestyles.” Both monikers will easily convey to customers the desire to create a supplement regimen that allows for sustained comfortable movement for retaining quality of life. VR
For More Information:
Avie Naturals, (884) 367-2843
Daily Manufacturing, Inc., (704) 782-0700
Natural Factors/BioSil, (877) 551-2179
Neocell, (800) 346-2922
North American Herb & Spice, (800) 243-5242
Redd Remedies, (888) 453-5058
Synutra Pure, Ltd., (202) 246-8818