Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), based on 2009 deathrate data, coronary heart disease accounted for one in six deaths in the U.S. In addition, more than 2,000 Americans die of cardiovascular disease(CVD) each day (approximately one death every 40 seconds). Further, every 25 seconds, one American suffers a coronary event, while one American will die from a coronary event every minute. And while AHA reports that the rate of death attributable to CVD declined by 32. 7 percent from 1999-2009, CVD still accounts for one-third of deaths in the U. S.
High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol levels and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 49 percent of Americans have at least one of these risk factors. In addition, being diabetic, physically inactive, eating a poor diet of processed foods, or being overweight or obese can cause people to have cardiovascular issues. And while many think that heart disease is only something they need to worry about when they get older, the statistics about how younger people are failing to take care of themselves are startling. According to the AHA, only 28 percent of ninth to twelfth graders meet the federal guidelines for physical activity, while 32 percent of children (24 million) are overweight and 17 percent (13 million children) are obese. If these habits are continued until adulthood, the risk of heart disease will be much greater.
Further, the rising cost of health care is forcing many Americans to look at their lifestyles and make changes to live healthier—not just people with existing cardiovascular conditions, but those seeking preventative measures as well.And that is causing the heart health market to flourish. “At the end of 2011, Datamonitor estimated that the U.S. retail market for heart health products in 2009 was $5.6 billion, and would reach $7 billion by 2014,” said Dallas Clouatre, R&D consultant for Californiabased Jarrow Formulas, Inc. “The ingredients segment of the market has been estimated to be approximately $1 billion in 2012. The heart health segment of the market has been growing between 10 and 20 percent per year.”
“We are seeing younger consumers make the decision to budget for a healthier lifestyle, with women being the driving force,” added Carlos Escalante, president HP LifeScience, LLC in Florida. “People proactively managing their cardiovascular health due to a health event or a serious discussion with their doctor are clear candidates for these supplements. The market is widening specifically in younger age groups and for people who are frustrated with the side effects of traditional medicines.”
Mark Stayton, sales manager of Martindale’s Natural Market in Springfield, PA, noted that his customers’ heart health concerns range from high cholesterol to hypertension.Meanwhile, David Wygal, certified nutritionist with Healthfair Natural & Organic Market and Vitamin Center in Little Silver, NJ, found that heart health in general is a large concern for his shoppers.”Heart health is most likely the No. 1 condition customers are working on and [are] asking about, from blood lipids and hypertension to coronary artery disease,” said Wygal.
A Natural Shift
While it used to be the norm for many doctors to prescribe drugs, such as statins, for their patients, many health care practitioners are now taking a different approach to heart health. “The focus needed to shift from the primary message being ‘prescribe a medicine’ to the ‘diet and exercise are mandatory,'” explained Escalante. “Begin at an early age—as the first step at a younger age; then the proper supplement can help the patient reach their goals. We are seeing record numbers of people in aggressive workout programs, adopting healthier diets and looking for preventative solutions. We urge companies to focus on a healthy lifestyle and not just selling their product; a comprehensive program is essential.”
Bergamonte™ from HP LifeScience is a patented standardized polyphenolic extract derived from Citrus bergamia Risso fruit that grows almost exclusively in the Ionic coast of Southern Calabria, Italy.Bergamonte works by blocking a key enzyme in the production of cholesterol by inhibiting the HMG-CoA (3- hydroxy-3-methyglutaryl COA) reductase, an enzyme linked to the liver’s cholesterol production. HMG-CoA reductase is active when blood glucose is high. Thus, by supporting healthy blood sugar levels, Bergamonte also indirectly affects the activity of HMG-CoA reductase.
“Bergamonte is our top-selling product with published human clinical studies (double-blind, placebo-controlled) exhibiting remarkable results for lowering LDL, blood sugar and triglycerides while actually increasing HDL,” said Escalante.
It is safe to say that U.S. consumers have embraced omega-3 fatty acids and the multitude of benefits they offer. In fact, a ConsumberLab.com 2010 survey reported that among people who use dietary supplements, fish oils and omega-3s continue to rise in popularity and are used by 75.7 percent of respondents (up from 75 percent in 2009). In addition, the survey noted that fish oil and omega-3 supplements rank higher in popularity than multivitamins.
“I think the huge increase in understanding of the relationship of lifestyle to heart health in the medical community, and doctors’ embrace of fish oils have been market drivers for this category,” said Jolie Root, nutritionist for Illinois-based Carlson Laboratories.”The AHA has guidelines that suggest specific doses of fish oil omega-3s for secondary prevention of heart attack and for the reduction of triglycerides, an independent risk factor for heart attack and stroke.”
Two of Carlson’s best-selling heart health supplements are Carlson Lemon Flavored Cod Liver Oil and The Very Finest Fish Oil, both of which offer strong support of the heart and blood vessels due to the rich supply of EPA and DHA the marine omega- 3 fats, according to the company.
“Over the last few years, the already strong record of omega-3 fatty acids in support of cardiovascular health has been augmented with new information on phospholipid-bound sources of omega-3s,” said Jarrow’s Clouatre. “Krill is the best known of these, yet a similar phospholipid ingredient can be derived from fish at a significantly lower cost.”Jarrow Formulas’ PhosphOmega® provides long chain omega-3 fatty acids as nature intended, a complex of phospholipids with DHA and EPA acting synergistically on the cell membrane level, according to the company.
California-based Rainbow Light Nutritional Systems offers a number of products that support optimal heart health. The company’s most recent product, Omega Cardio Performance™, was introduced in 2011. “True to our formulating philosophy, we set a new standard for omega-3 supplements by delivering a more comprehensive formula that includes the researched levels of omega 3 EPA and DHA shown to help prevent primary and secondary cardiovascular events,” said Michael Galef, vice president of marketing.
In addition, Omega Cardio Performance includes 800 mg plant sterol esters (the researched level that promotes normal cholesterol levels), optimal dose of 120 mg CoQ10 known to be critical for heart muscle function, which is often compromised and inhibited by statin use, 1,000 IU vitamin D3, as well as lemon essential oil to aid digestion, and for no fishy smell or burp-back. “Such a powerful formula offers the consumer an improvement from simply fish oil products alone,” said Galef. “It is also a better value to have several researched, heart health ingredients in one product versus having to purchase and take them all individually.”
While omega-3s may dominate the health category, Dan Chapman, CEO and founder of Illinois-based Redd Remedies, believes that innovation can open up room on crowded store shelves. “The market for heart health supplements is strong, which reflects the need that people have,” he said. “However, the sales in the category are very concentrated in just a handful of supplements, such as omega-3s and CoQ10. This fact leaves very good potential for new, innovative formulations to support heart health.”
Redd Remedies offers four synergistic products for heart health:
• Heart Strong is the foundation to support the creation of energy within the heart muscle and promote overall cardiovascular system health, which results in improving physical stamina and endurance.
• 20/80 Care focuses on supporting a healthy stress response, which is the main reason blood pressure levels are high, in addition to supporting blood flow and heart muscle function.
• Cholesterol D-fense supports liver and kidney health, healthy metabolism of cholesterol, and provides antioxidant protection for the blood vessels. “It is designed to maintain cholesterol to your unique level, rather than just driving levels lower, which may cause the body to work harder simply to produce more,” according to Chapman.
• Circulation VA (veins and arteries) is designed for vein and artery health throughout the entire body, supporting vascular strength, tone, circulation and healthy platelet aggregation.Beyond its omega-3 products, carlson Laboratories offers HeartBeat Elite, a multivitamin that provides comprehensive support of cardiovascular health through higher doses of B vitamins, CoQ10, L-carnitine and minerals.It contains lysine and proline to promote the health of blood vessels, as well as trace minerals, grape seed extract and alpha lipoic acid. Heartbeat Elite also promotes normal electrical activity of the heart while maintaining the integrity of capillary walls, and helps convert fats into energy, according to the company. “It is a comprehensive scientifically complete formula,” said Root. “It provides meaningful doses of the individual nutrients to support heart and blood vessel health, without requiring multiple additional products.”
Wygal also noted that Jarrow’s Pressure Optimizer® is popular with customers at Healthfair Natural & Organic Market and Vitamin Center.According to Clouatre, the product addresses multiple mechanisms of action to support healthy blood pressure with a variety of unique and tested ingredients. Pressure Optimizer contains AmealPeptide®, a patented peptide clinically-tested for healthy blood pressure support; MegaNatural® BP Grape Seed Extract, patented and clinicallytested for the support of healthy arterial function; Glycostat® Wild Bitter Melon Extract (Momordica charantia); Sesaplex™ Sesame Seed Extract lignans; celery seed extract and magnesium.
Consumers often count on their local retailers for guidance and knowledge about the products on their shelves. To aid customers in their search for the appropriate heart health product, Healthfair Natural & Organic Market and Vitamin Center has on-staff nutritionists.”We also have extensive literature with the clinical data regarding their choices,” said Wygal. “While we don’t offer seminars, each personal consultation is like a mini-seminar designed for that individual— you can be much more specific when dealing with clients on a one-onone basis.”
As for product manufacturers, Carlson’s Root noted that the company offers retailers informative literature and audio Cds as well as in-store education and public lectures. In addition, Carlson does a Heart Month promotion the first quarter of the calendar year, as well as an end cap display contest with promotional pricing to support retailer participation.
“We often run promotions on these products to help drive awareness and sales, and we produce various printed consumer literature pieces for in-store use, along with distributing free sample packets for consumer trail,” said Rainbow Light’s Galef. “We also conduct on-going trainings for store personnel and are in the middle of producing several consumer videos that will soon be on YouTube and www.rainbowlight.com.”
Redd Remedies assists its retail partners by offering product trainings and literature that can be passed on to the consumer. “Customers have always looked to health food retailers for answers to their health issues,” said Chapman, adding that true support comes from thoughtful formulations. “If we are truly interested in helping our customers live healthier lives, we need to go further and help customers address their real health issues. Redd Remedies is supporting and nourishing the body to deal with the root cause of heart health symptoms, so that health food store retailers can provide their customers with real, lasting solutions to their cardiovascular concerns.”
And Martindale’s Stayton advised that if retailers want assistance from manufacturers, all they have to do is reach out to them. “We feel we get as much support as we want,” he said. “The key is to ask for support. Companies have more resources available than you may be aware of and are happy to share them.”
Visible Signs Of Aging May Predict Heart Disease
If you look old, your heart may feel old, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2012. In the study, those who had three to four aging signs—receding hairline at the temples, baldness at the head’s crown, earlobe crease or yellow fatty deposits around the eyelid (xanthelasmata)—had a 57 percent increased risk for heart attack and a 39 percent increased risk for heart disease.
“The visible signs of aging reflect physiologic or biological age, not chronological age, and are independent of chronological age,” said Anne Tybjaerg-Hansen, MD, the study’s senior author and professor of clinical biochemistry at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
Researchers analyzed 10,885 participants 40 years and older (45 percent women) in the Copenhagen Heart Study. Of these, 7,537 had frontoparietal baldness (receding hairline at the temples), 3,938 had crown top baldness, 3,405 had earlobe crease and 678 had fatty deposits around the eye.
In 35 years of follow-up, 3,401 participants developed heart disease and 1,708 had a heart attack. Individually and combined, these signs predicted heart attack and heart disease independent of traditional risk factors. Fatty deposits around the eye were the strongest individual predictor of both heart attack and heart disease.
Heart attack and heart disease risk increased with each additional sign of aging in all age groups and among men and women. The highest risk was for those in their 70s and those with multiple signs of aging.
In the study, nurses and laboratory technicians noted the quantity of gray hair, prominence of wrinkles, the type and extent of baldness, the presence of earlobe crease and eyelid deposits.
“Checking these visible aging signs should be a routine part of every doctor’s physical examination,” Tybjaerg- Hansen said.
For more information, visit www.heart.org.
For More Information:
HP LifeScience, LLC,
Jarrow Formulas, Inc.,
Rainbow Light Nutritional Systems,