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Building Healthy Bones: What’s New?

| May 1, 2023

Bone Health

The state of the bone health market now.

Imagine if, rather than asking about one’s profession or hobbies when meeting, questions went more like this: “How’s your bone health?” In America, the answer might not be positive. Osteoporosis is estimated to affect approximately 10 million Americans. Another 44 million individuals have reduced bone density, which puts them at risk of osteoporosis. These statistics, from the National Osteoporosis Organization, are worrisome.

Osteoporosis, also called the “silent disease,” is one that many individuals aren’t overly concerned about. It’s called this because there is often no outward indication of poor bone health until there is a break. There is also a good deal of misinformation regarding bone health in general. A few of the most common misconceptions include:

1. Taking large doses of calcium will prevent osteoporosis.
2. Drinking lots of milk and exercising will automatically improve bone health.
3. Osteoporosis is only a concern for aging Caucasian women.

All of these statements are false. While it is true that diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle are key to preventing and managing osteoporosis, they are not a cure. There is also no guarantee that an individual won’t get the disease even following all the healthy guidelines
recommended.

Some individuals are at higher risk for bone health issues. They may be interested in preventative measures above and beyond the ones mentioned above to be proactive with their bone health. Thankfully, there are many natural health products available that may help. Some of the most common questions in the bone health market are: Which ingredients are most popular now? What is the overall state of the bone health product subset now? And what new bone health products have companies recently introduced?

Trends in Bone Health: What Ingredients and Products are Popular Now?

“Vitamin K2 is consistently showing up as an ingredient to include for bone health,” said National Account Manager at Vital Proteins, Tom Smurr, RD. The manufacturer, located in Illinois, produces several collagen-based products. Smurr stated that Vital Proteins is interested in lesser-known ingredients in the bone health market. “Other notable ingredients we’ve seen as a little more unique to the category are cucumber extract and curcumin. We’ll be keeping all these in mind with innovation.”

Chris D. Meletis, ND, is the director of clinical education at Trace Minerals in Utah. He stated that traditional approaches to bone health—that of using calcium as a standalone with vitamin D and hopefully K2—are “old school.” Instead, he believes that trace minerals such as boron, iron, zinc, copper and selenium have a positive impact. Peer-review studies such as “The Impact of Trace Minerals on Bone Metabolism,” published in the international journal Biological Trace Element Research, prove this point, he noted.

Senior Nutrition Education Manager at NOW in Illinois, Neil Edward Levin, CCN, DANLA, stated that the company has seen an uptick in interest in vitamin K2 in recent years. “Turmeric is a growing area for us as well as combination formulas that work synergistically,” he noted. “We also have a seaweed-sourced calcium, Aquamin, that has some interesting properties. It provides about 50 percent more calcium per gram than calcium citrate, plus it has some magnesium, supplies oceanic trace minerals in a soluble matrix, and is lower in heavy metals (like lead) than most calcium sources,” said Levin.

At Vig’s Health Food & Discount Supplements, a retail store in Idaho, Store Manager, Keirstyn Johnson, keeps a pulse on what individuals are looking for when they shop. “Many customers are seeking plant-based bone health products,” she stated. “They are looking for complete products containing magnesium, D3, K2 and boron.” She also noted that the store continues to have strong sales around traditional bone health ingredients, particularly calcium. Customers looking for this are, “Typically men and women who are in their 50s ...” she said. “Lately there have been many more young women interested in supporting bone health as well.

What’s the State of the Market for Bone Health Products?

As the population ages and younger individuals become more concerned about preventative health when it comes to their bones, the state of the market for these products is strong. According to statistics from Research and Markets, the global bone and joint health supplement market was estimated at $11.7 billion last year and is expected to reach $17.6 billion by 2027. During that period, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) increase of 8.5 percent is expected. And drilling down further, in North America the projected growth during this forecast period is 7.9 percent.

Increased awareness of bone health is on the rise. Causes for poor bone health including insufficient exercise, low vitamin D levels and low calcium intake are coming to the forefront of Americans’ consciousness. While the elderly dominates this submarket, increased interest by younger demographics is increasing as well.

What do Manufacturers and Retailers Need to Know About Bone Health Products and the Outlook Right Now?

Meletis at Trace Minerals stated that a few companies are creating “bioactive whole-body formulas” that are moving the nutraceutical industry forward, catching up with the latest science in physiology and biochemistry. “Consumers are so well-read and educated these days they are looking for comprehensive formulas that cover the basics and then go beyond,” he noted.

For Smurr, at Vital Proteins, the interest in collagen continues to grow. He stated, “There are many great products on the market, but most focus on vitamins and minerals. When it comes to protein support for bones, collagen peptides are the emerging solution as more and more research comes out. Since protein plays a key role in the strength of our musculoskeletal system as we age, collagen peptides will continue to provide benefit for clients unlike other bone supplements.”

At NOW, Levin stated that the company has carried a variety of basics like vitamin D and calcium products for years. “We are seeing more interest in vitamin K2 (MK-7) standalone and combination formulas, as well as collagen which has a multitude of benefits depending on the type,” Levin noted. “Type I collagen makes up the fibers found in connective tissues of the skin, bone, teeth, tendons and ligaments. Type II collagen makes the round fibers found in cartilage,” he said.*

What New Bone Health Products Have Companies Recently Introduced?

While Vitanica, a manufacturer based in Oregon, currently has only one bone health product—OsteoBlend—it supports healthy bone density, bone architecture and bone strength, said Naturopathic Physician Tori Hudson. Hudson is the medical director at A Woman’s Time in Portland, Oregon, and is co-owner and director of R&D at Vitanica. “We are considering some additional options besides our one comprehensive formulation,” said Hudson. Featured ingredients in OsteoBlend include calcium, vitamin D and magnesium, vitamin K, and trace minerals and vitamins like boron, zinc, copper and vitamin B6, among others.

Meanwhile, at Trace Minerals, several new products have come to market. “Our newest products for bone health are TM Ancestral Collagen Peptides, Liquid Ionic D3 + K2 drops, and D3 + K2 Gummies,” said Meletis. In addition to these products, Meletis noted, the company also offers other bone health products including a blend of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, boron, horsetail, and trace minerals, along with standalone collagen.

The collagen, he explained, can serve as a companion product. It’s a vital ingredient for bone health and overall structural integrity of the body, he stated. “Liquids and powders to mix in beverages and gummies are capturing the market as people suffer from what I call ‘pill fatigue,’” noted Meletis. Absorption is paramount, he stated, and hyper-critical for the long-term process of nourishing healthy bones.

At NOW, there have been few products in the bone health sector launched recently. “We already have a large selection of products that can be used for bone health, so we haven’t been adding a lot of new items recently,” said Levin. “We have a variety of calcium formulas and combination formulas combining vitamin D and magnesium,” he said. “Our vitamin D SKUs range from 1,000 IU to 50,000 IU. We have several turmeric options, a Bone Strength product, as well as a clinically validated SKU, BioCell Collagen, just to name a few others.”

For Vital Proteins, a new lineup was released in early 2022 called Vital Proteins Professional. “In this portfolio exclusive to healthcare practitioners is Bioactive Collagen Complex: Bone & Joint Support—a bone and joint focused supplement with clinically studied, bioactive collagen peptides Fortibone and Fortigel,” said Smurr. “Also included is liposomal vitamin C, a hyaluronic acid source, vitamin D3, vitamin K2 and calcium. With this product’s mobility-focused benefits, it is also uniquely NSF certified for sport so athletes can consume safely,” he explained.

What Obstacles Does the Industry Have to Overcome?

Hudson, at Vitanica, stated that the bone health market has challenges to overcome. One that immediately comes to mind is overcoming some of the myths and marketing that miss out on nuance, she said. “For example: for most women, the form of calcium does not matter, and one is not better than the other if taken with food,” noted Hudson. Additionally, “… if vitamin D3 or D2 is taken daily or at least once a week the serum levels and benefits are the same.”

She also pointed to misinformation that is rampant around bone health and osteoporosis. Six things, in particular, stand out to Hudson: “What dose of calcium is needed for a postmenopausal woman in supplemental form in addition to dietary intake, and what kind of calcium is best.” Likewise, she stated, “What form of vitamin D is best; and dosing of vitamin K2; and role of strontium in a supplement; overstating the ability of bone health nutrients to treat osteoporosis and reduce the actual risk of an osteoporotic related fracture,” Hudson explained, are all areas of misinformation. She’s excited though, about the outlook of bone health, particularly in the areas of further exploration of vitamin K2 and lowering the expectations of the role of calcium and vitamin D in the treatment of low bone density.

Smurr, at Vital Proteins, wishes that more practitioners and consumers understood collagen better. While this ingredient’s awareness in the beauty industry is known, it has a lot of other benefits. New research, he noted, is tied to how collagen may help bone, joint and connective tissue in the body. “Vital Proteins is doing its part in helping the industry understand that collagen is no fad protein and when taken daily can support wellness in aging and more,” he noted. Additionally, “Most assume the protein will have an off flavor, taste, smell and so forth as well—and collagen peptide powders do a remarkable job of hiding this. Most who try the product understand this,” said Smurr.

At Trace Minerals, Meletis stated, “Novel delivery mechanisms for powders, gummies, liquids and comprehensive bioactive formulations with trace minerals,” were all obstacles in the bone health subsector. “However, we feel like we’re doing very well in this aspect as we’ve just released gummies, liquids and powdered products in this space.” He also noted that the industry as a whole has a big responsibility to consumers. “We must all continue to advance the field of nutraceutical delivery,” he said. “Consumers depend on supplement companies to keep up with the science.”

Levin at NOW noted, “For every category, we are always focused on making sure what we put out in the market is effective and safe for our consumers. We don’t add ‘fluff’ and are very strict in what we say for each product, focusing on science and research that have gone into the ingredients,” he noted. “We want to introduce products the consumer can trust and that keeps them coming back to the brand.” Additionally, NOW tests thoroughly, including routine heavy metal testing to assure consumer safety, Levin said.

Johnson, at Vig’s Health Food & Discount Supplements, stated that more customers are looking for U.S.-based products that are easily digestible. “Customers want tablets that will actually break down, and that aren’t manufactured in China,” she stated.

Bone health is important. More and more individuals are interested in preventing bone loss and strengthening their bones now and in the future. While some lifestyle changes can help to improve bone health, it’s also important to look at new research, ingredients and products which might further promote healthy bones. VR

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

For More Information:

NOW, www.nowfoods.com
Trace Minerals, www.traceminerals.com
Vital Proteins, www.vitalproteins.com/professional
Vitanica, https://vitanica.com

Extra! Extra!

The state of the bone health market now.

Imagine if, rather than asking about one’s profession or hobbies when meeting, questions went more like this: “How’s your bone health?” In America, the answer might not be positive. Osteoporosis is estimated to affect approximately 10 million Americans. Another 44 million individuals have reduced bone density, which puts them at risk of osteoporosis. These statistics, from the National Osteoporosis Organization, are worrisome.

Osteoporosis, also called the “silent disease,” is one that many individuals aren’t overly concerned about. It’s called this because there is often no outward indication of poor bone health until there is a break. There is also a good deal of misinformation regarding bone health in general. A few of the most common misconceptions include:

1. Taking large doses of calcium will prevent osteoporosis.
2. Drinking lots of milk and exercising will automatically improve bone health.
3. Osteoporosis is only a concern for aging Caucasian women.

All of these statements are false. While it is true that diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle are key to preventing and managing osteoporosis, they are not a cure. There is also no guarantee that an individual won’t get the disease even following all the healthy guidelines
recommended.

Some individuals are at higher risk for bone health issues. They may be interested in preventative measures above and beyond the ones mentioned above to be proactive with their bone health. Thankfully, there are many natural health products available that may help. Some of the most common questions in the bone health market are: Which ingredients are most popular now? What is the overall state of the bone health product subset now? And what new bone health products have companies recently introduced?

Trends in Bone Health: What Ingredients and Products are Popular Now?

“Vitamin K2 is consistently showing up as an ingredient to include for bone health,” said National Account Manager at Vital Proteins, Tom Smurr, RD. The manufacturer, located in Illinois, produces several collagen-based products. Smurr stated that Vital Proteins is interested in lesser-known ingredients in the bone health market. “Other notable ingredients we’ve seen as a little more unique to the category are cucumber extract and curcumin. We’ll be keeping all these in mind with innovation.”

Chris D. Meletis, ND, is the director of clinical education at Trace Minerals in Utah. He stated that traditional approaches to bone health—that of using calcium as a standalone with vitamin D and hopefully K2—are “old school.” Instead, he believes that trace minerals such as boron, iron, zinc, copper and selenium have a positive impact. Peer-review studies such as “The Impact of Trace Minerals on Bone Metabolism,” published in the international journal Biological Trace Element Research, prove this point, he noted.

Senior Nutrition Education Manager at NOW in Illinois, Neil Edward Levin, CCN, DANLA, stated that the company has seen an uptick in interest in vitamin K2 in recent years. “Turmeric is a growing area for us as well as combination formulas that work synergistically,” he noted. “We also have a seaweed-sourced calcium, Aquamin, that has some interesting properties. It provides about 50 percent more calcium per gram than calcium citrate, plus it has some magnesium, supplies oceanic trace minerals in a soluble matrix, and is lower in heavy metals (like lead) than most calcium sources,” said Levin.

At Vig’s Health Food & Discount Supplements, a retail store in Idaho, Store Manager, Keirstyn Johnson, keeps a pulse on what individuals are looking for when they shop. “Many customers are seeking plant-based bone health products,” she stated. “They are looking for complete products containing magnesium, D3, K2 and boron.” She also noted that the store continues to have strong sales around traditional bone health ingredients, particularly calcium. Customers looking for this are, “Typically men and women who are in their 50s ...” she said. “Lately there have been many more young women interested in supporting bone health as well.

What’s the State of the Market for Bone Health Products?

As the population ages and younger individuals become more concerned about preventative health when it comes to their bones, the state of the market for these products is strong. According to statistics from Research and Markets, the global bone and joint health supplement market was estimated at $11.7 billion last year and is expected to reach $17.6 billion by 2027. During that period, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) increase of 8.5 percent is expected. And drilling down further, in North America the projected growth during this forecast period is 7.9 percent.

Increased awareness of bone health is on the rise. Causes for poor bone health including insufficient exercise, low vitamin D levels and low calcium intake are coming to the forefront of Americans’ consciousness. While the elderly dominates this submarket, increased interest by younger demographics is increasing as well.

What do Manufacturers and Retailers Need to Know About Bone Health Products and the Outlook Right Now?

Meletis at Trace Minerals stated that a few companies are creating “bioactive whole-body formulas” that are moving the nutraceutical industry forward, catching up with the latest science in physiology and biochemistry. “Consumers are so well-read and educated these days they are looking for comprehensive formulas that cover the basics and then go beyond,” he noted.

For Smurr, at Vital Proteins, the interest in collagen continues to grow. He stated, “There are many great products on the market, but most focus on vitamins and minerals. When it comes to protein support for bones, collagen peptides are the emerging solution as more and more research comes out. Since protein plays a key role in the strength of our musculoskeletal system as we age, collagen peptides will continue to provide benefit for clients unlike other bone supplements.”

At NOW, Levin stated that the company has carried a variety of basics like vitamin D and calcium products for years. “We are seeing more interest in vitamin K2 (MK-7) standalone and combination formulas, as well as collagen which has a multitude of benefits depending on the type,” Levin noted. “Type I collagen makes up the fibers found in connective tissues of the skin, bone, teeth, tendons and ligaments. Type II collagen makes the round fibers found in cartilage,” he said.*

What New Bone Health Products Have Companies Recently Introduced?

While Vitanica, a manufacturer based in Oregon, currently has only one bone health product—OsteoBlend—it supports healthy bone density, bone architecture and bone strength, said Naturopathic Physician Tori Hudson. Hudson is the medical director at A Woman’s Time in Portland, Oregon, and is co-owner and director of R&D at Vitanica. “We are considering some additional options besides our one comprehensive formulation,” said Hudson. Featured ingredients in OsteoBlend include calcium, vitamin D and magnesium, vitamin K, and trace minerals and vitamins like boron, zinc, copper and vitamin B6, among others.

Meanwhile, at Trace Minerals, several new products have come to market. “Our newest products for bone health are TM Ancestral Collagen Peptides, Liquid Ionic D3 + K2 drops, and D3 + K2 Gummies,” said Meletis. In addition to these products, Meletis noted, the company also offers other bone health products including a blend of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, boron, horsetail, and trace minerals, along with standalone collagen.

The collagen, he explained, can serve as a companion product. It’s a vital ingredient for bone health and overall structural integrity of the body, he stated. “Liquids and powders to mix in beverages and gummies are capturing the market as people suffer from what I call ‘pill fatigue,’” noted Meletis. Absorption is paramount, he stated, and hyper-critical for the long-term process of nourishing healthy bones.

At NOW, there have been few products in the bone health sector launched recently. “We already have a large selection of products that can be used for bone health, so we haven’t been adding a lot of new items recently,” said Levin. “We have a variety of calcium formulas and combination formulas combining vitamin D and magnesium,” he said. “Our vitamin D SKUs range from 1,000 IU to 50,000 IU. We have several turmeric options, a Bone Strength product, as well as a clinically validated SKU, BioCell Collagen, just to name a few others.”

For Vital Proteins, a new lineup was released in early 2022 called Vital Proteins Professional. “In this portfolio exclusive to healthcare practitioners is Bioactive Collagen Complex: Bone & Joint Support—a bone and joint focused supplement with clinically studied, bioactive collagen peptides Fortibone and Fortigel,” said Smurr. “Also included is liposomal vitamin C, a hyaluronic acid source, vitamin D3, vitamin K2 and calcium. With this product’s mobility-focused benefits, it is also uniquely NSF certified for sport so athletes can consume safely,” he explained.

What Obstacles Does the Industry Have to Overcome?

Hudson, at Vitanica, stated that the bone health market has challenges to overcome. One that immediately comes to mind is overcoming some of the myths and marketing that miss out on nuance, she said. “For example: for most women, the form of calcium does not matter, and one is not better than the other if taken with food,” noted Hudson. Additionally, “… if vitamin D3 or D2 is taken daily or at least once a week the serum levels and benefits are the same.”

She also pointed to misinformation that is rampant around bone health and osteoporosis. Six things, in particular, stand out to Hudson: “What dose of calcium is needed for a postmenopausal woman in supplemental form in addition to dietary intake, and what kind of calcium is best.” Likewise, she stated, “What form of vitamin D is best; and dosing of vitamin K2; and role of strontium in a supplement; overstating the ability of bone health nutrients to treat osteoporosis and reduce the actual risk of an osteoporotic related fracture,” Hudson explained, are all areas of misinformation. She’s excited though, about the outlook of bone health, particularly in the areas of further exploration of vitamin K2 and lowering the expectations of the role of calcium and vitamin D in the treatment of low bone density.

Smurr, at Vital Proteins, wishes that more practitioners and consumers understood collagen better. While this ingredient’s awareness in the beauty industry is known, it has a lot of other benefits. New research, he noted, is tied to how collagen may help bone, joint and connective tissue in the body. “Vital Proteins is doing its part in helping the industry understand that collagen is no fad protein and when taken daily can support wellness in aging and more,” he noted. Additionally, “Most assume the protein will have an off flavor, taste, smell and so forth as well—and collagen peptide powders do a remarkable job of hiding this. Most who try the product understand this,” said Smurr.

At Trace Minerals, Meletis stated, “Novel delivery mechanisms for powders, gummies, liquids and comprehensive bioactive formulations with trace minerals,” were all obstacles in the bone health subsector. “However, we feel like we’re doing very well in this aspect as we’ve just released gummies, liquids and powdered products in this space.” He also noted that the industry as a whole has a big responsibility to consumers. “We must all continue to advance the field of nutraceutical delivery,” he said. “Consumers depend on supplement companies to keep up with the science.”

Levin at NOW noted, “For every category, we are always focused on making sure what we put out in the market is effective and safe for our consumers. We don’t add ‘fluff’ and are very strict in what we say for each product, focusing on science and research that have gone into the ingredients,” he noted. “We want to introduce products the consumer can trust and that keeps them coming back to the brand.” Additionally, NOW tests thoroughly, including routine heavy metal testing to assure consumer safety, Levin said.

Johnson, at Vig’s Health Food & Discount Supplements, stated that more customers are looking for U.S.-based products that are easily digestible. “Customers want tablets that will actually break down, and that aren’t manufactured in China,” she stated.

Bone health is important. More and more individuals are interested in preventing bone loss and strengthening their bones now and in the future. While some lifestyle changes can help to improve bone health, it’s also important to look at new research, ingredients and products which might further promote healthy bones. VR

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

For More Information:

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