Nutraceuticals are on pace to become a trillion-dollar industry by 2030, according to many industry and analytical sources. The products offered by the nutraceutical industry, as a whole, are getting larger every year. We wanted to highlight some important trends, popular fields of research, and nutraceutical focus areas for you to keep an eye on.
Note: Some products and areas of research in this article are still very young and may not be ready for translation to use by the public for quite some time. That said, there is a lot to be excited about.
Nutraceuticals & Pharmaceuticals
As prescription drug prices and medical costs continue to increase (especially in the US), some nutraceutical research has shifted to focus on people with diagnosed conditions, who often are on pharmaceutical medications. While there are no super vitamins or miracle supplements yet, a lot of nutraceutical research has been focused on:
- Heart Disease
- Conditions associated with aging
None of the research being put into nutraceuticals for these conditions (and others) is about finding a cure–it’s about how people respond clinically or biologically to specific nutraceuticals, and includes assessing the warning signs that can lead to specific conditions.
More specifically, researchers have been looking at nutraceutical benefits based on age-related demographics. This is not just supplementation to combat aging-related conditions, but also how certain nutraceuticals affect different age groups.
Nutraceuticals & the Immune System
COVID-19 brought to light many issues with the state of health and healthcare in our world. One of these issues was immune system health. COVID-19 and the vaccine developed in the following year inspired some nutraceutical companies to look more closely into immune health. Supplements dedicated to supporting the immune system saw massive sales increases over 2020-21.
Going hand-in-hand with direct immune system boosting research are nutraceuticals being developed to help with obesity. Maintaining a healthy weight leads to better overall health–including a more efficient immune system.
As the field of nutraceutical research and commoditization continues to grow, so too does the need for proper regulation and education. The word nutraceutical is used in the marketing of products, but the name used in regulations and law is a dietary supplement.
The current ‘top’ piece of nutraceutical regulation in the US (Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act or DSHEA) was written almost 30 years ago (1994) and puts the safety of supplements solely on manufacturers. This doesn’t mean manufacturers can’t be punished, but it also doesn’t mean manufacturers can’t put totally unnecessary additives into a given nutraceutical or supplement.
Since the initial DSHEA, a number of regulations have been promulgated, which means they have been written and published, to further the requirements for dietary supplements (i.e., nutraceuticals) on safety and marketing restrictions. For example, dietary supplements have more detailed and in-depth requirements for manufacturing, called Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), and new dietary ingredients are required to have a filing, called the New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) petition with the US FDA before marketing. In addition, there is required post-marketing monitoring of adverse events, which are filed with the FDA as well.
More regulations may be coming as supplements are more carefully scrutinized. Ultimately, this is good for consumers. Not having to worry about unwanted additives being added to supplements can help people select the right supplements and vitamins. Still, like any industry, people can make and sell supplements over the internet and may be trying to escape the regulations, Therefore, it is important to buy supplements from known companies, and may now have certifications from groups like the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) and NSF International.
Research at Biofortis
Biofortis is dedicated to protecting consumer health throughout the world by delivering a wide range of testing and consultancy services to the food, supplement, and nutrition industries. Biofortis supports this mission in two ways—through clinical trials and sensory and consumer insights testing. We specialize in clinical research targeting foods, ingredients, and dietary supplements that affect body structures, function, and overall health. Contact us with any clinical trial or scientific consulting needs.Tags: diet, health, nutraceuticals, supplements