If recent newspaper headlines are any indication, there are good days ahead for bone and joint support products.
Fueled by the low-carb craze and the high-energy needs of serious athletes, a new wave of nutrition bars is packing in protein from a variety of ingredient sources, in a multitude of combinations. Consumers are also raising the bar on the level of good taste and indulgence they expect, but many are clearly looking for a protein source when they reach for a nutrition bar these days.
With the expected release of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA; Rockville, MD) good manufacturing practices (GMPs) for dietary supplements just months away, some companies are still struggling with the new regulations.
Many natural-products consumers take probiotics and prebiotics for a host of issues, reasoning that by recolonizing the friendly flora in the gut, the body is much better equipped to exert proper immune response, leading to increased well-being.
The dietary supplement industry is on an upward curve, spurred by more university research and scientific partnerships linking together U.S. and international developers, suppliers, and research centers. One result of this positive trajectory is that raw-material suppliers are now refining and introducing compounds backed by science that address the issues that matter most to consumers: cardiovascular health, antioxidant and immune support, healthy glucose levels, smooth digestion, weight control, energy and stress reduction, and detoxification.
In October, a skeptical American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG; Washington, DC) task force issued a new set of HRT guidelines for women—guidelines that do not recommend botanicals. According to the ACOG, “Few nutritional supplements have been rigorously tested for safety and effectiveness.”
Soy foods have come a long way since the early days of tofu and meat substitutes. In the past few years, food technologists have become adept at devising new applications for soy and have expanded the array of choices available to consumers.
In December 2003, the first American case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was confirmed in a dairy herd in the state of Washington. The discovery led to measures to keep BSE from entering the food supply, measures that may soon impact softgel capsules for dietary supplements.
Good financial news at last. Results from the first quarter of 2004 show vitamin, mineral, and supplement (VMS) sales have improved considerably compared with the same quarter of 2003.
Dietary supplements cannot improve memory or mental acuity, but several new products offer support for those hoping to keep their faculties sharp for years to come.