Cellular health supplements: What will it take to grow the market?

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Experts explain the trends driving growth in cellular health products.

Photo © AdobeStock.com/pinkeyes

Photo © AdobeStock.com/pinkeyes

The market for cellular health supplements is on the rise with more companies bringing products to market and more consumers showing interest in them. Research continues to emerge identifying ingredients now found to support cellular health.

As this category evolves, brands will need to navigate around any consumer uncertainty about whether cellular health products are worth investing in.

Discoveries Ahead

The fact is that while a variety of traditional micro- and macronutrients exist to meet basic nutritional needs, basic nutrition alone is insufficient to address age-related declines in cellular processes, says Aileen Stocks, president of wellness brands at Nestlé Health Science.

“Aging research has evolved in recent years,” she says. “Researchers now know there is a time-related decline of several cellular mechanisms that often starts in our 40s and accelerates in our 60s. One of the key drivers behind this age-associated cellular decline is a decline in mitochondrial function.”

Stocks says that Nestlé’s branded Celltrient products target these age-related changes inside cells, helping to restore cells’ natural processes. Celltrient’s Cellular Energy product, for instance, uses nicotinamide riboside plus vitamin C and six B vitamins to support cell energy, repair, and vitality.

“[Celltrient Cellular Energy is] clinically shown to increase NAD+ in two weeks,” Stocks notes. “NAD is a critical coenzyme found in all cells that declines as we age and is critical for cellular energy production.”

Nestlé also offers Celltrient Cellular Strength and Celltrient Cellular Protect. These products support healthy muscle function and protect cells, respectively. Celltrient Cellular Strength features a urolithin A ingredient that renews mitochondria, while Celltrient Cellular Protect contains a blend of amino acids, glycine, and N-acetylcysteine to fight free radicals by supporting glutathione production.

Stephen Phipps, ND, PhD, chief innovation officer for Thorne HealthTech, says there is significant development of ingredients that support cell health. This is no surprise considering that the cellular health market is estimated to grow 15% per year for the foreseeable future, he says.

How are ingredient discoveries unfolding? “Overall, the research continues to grow,” he notes. This includes finding ways to improve how we utilize healthy-aging ingredients. For instance, Phipps says, “Thorne has seen a growing level of interest in the postbiotic transformation space. Over time, Thorne has observed how the microbiome impacts nutrients in specific foods that have typically been utilized regionally for longevity. A lot of the time, the microbiome will have a beneficial effect by shifting the form to be more bioavailable or by creating a metabolite that is more potent.”

He also predicts that personalized nutrition will become a significant influence on the cellular health market, helping to shed light on why some ingredients may or may not work for everyone.

The Challenges

One significant challenge facing the cellular health market is that there is no single universally accepted definition of cellular health. Shawn Baier is the chief operating officer of Metabolic Technologies (Ames, IA), a TSI Group (Missoula, MT) company. Baier says that the words cellular health are much like the word healthy on product labels: without an official definition of the words, product benefits can range from general to specific, and it’s up to consumers to do their due diligence prior to purchasing a supplement.

“We need to step up consumer education so that people understand how a product or ingredient supports their goals,” Baier says. “One of the smartest ways to accomplish this is with research designed to enable brand marketers to use proven and regulatory-compliant language so consumers can clearly understand the importance and benefits of specific ingredients and products.”

Ingredients like glutathione, NAD, NAC, and some omega-3s are supported by evidence in this space, Baier says. TSI Group’s branded 2-HOBA ingredient, Hobamine, is also a validated ingredient for cellular support. Hobamine targets isolevuglandins, one of the most reactive products of oxidative stress.

Cellular Health Market Poised for Growth

The cellular health market is primed for significant growth as aging consumers look for solutions to feel younger for longer and maintain their general health and wellness. Emerging research is demonstrating that a variety of ingredients can impact cell health, and brands are leveraging these compounds to offer consumers an array of antiaging and cell health products. As this market continues to grow, expect further investment in new formulations and additional research.

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