New research and new delivery formats are shaking up the men’s supplements space as more men turn to healthy-aging products.
Healthy-aging marketers have traditionally focused on female consumers, but in recent years, healthy-aging products for men have gained popularity as older men turn to supplementation to help maintain their vitality and fitness levels.
Golan Raz, head of the global health division at Lycored (Secaucus, NJ), says that the healthy-aging space is shifting toward a unisex approach where both women and men are now seeking products that can help them combat the effects of aging. “This is wonderfully demonstrated in the ingestible skincare space,” Raz says. “More and more men are realizing that beautifully aging skin isn’t just the domain of women.”
A recent Lycored survey of 313 men over the age of 50 found that the top health concerns for older men are diabetes and heart disease. Cardio-metabolic wellness, Raz said in a Lycored press release, is a significant source of anxiety for older men. Raz says that living a healthy lifestyle and ensuring proper nutrition are multifunctional activities that support heart, brain, and prostate health-all key areas of concern for aging men.
Demand for male-oriented healthy-aging products has risen, and brands are developing and researching new and established products in response. Ahead, we summarize new research and other new developments in men’s healthy-aging ingredients.
Fenugreek Extract Increases Strength and Body Mass in Healthy Men
Mariko Hill, product development executive for Gencor (Irvine, CA), says that men’s concerns around vitality are ensuring that testosterone-oriented ingredients stay at the top of the market. “Ingredients that promote healthy testosterone levels are still dominant in the men’s health supplement space,” Hill says. “Men tend to gravitate toward ingredients that boost muscle mass and promote vitality, which are two elements that testosterone has a huge influence on.”
Gencor recently completed a new, not-yet-published study on its branded fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) extract Testofen. This double-blind, randomized, dose-response clinical trial followed 138 healthy, non-smoking men for eight weeks. Subjects were randomized to receive either 300 mg or 600 mg of Testofen per day, or a placebo. All subjects in all conditions were assigned an exercise regimen.
After eight weeks, participants in both of the Testofen conditions saw statistically significant increases in leg strength, aerobic capacity, and body composition relative to participants in the placebo condition. The study also found that the effects were dose-dependent, with participants in the 600-mg condition seeing larger gains than those in the 300-mg condition.
Hill says the forthcoming study indicates that Gencor’s fenugreek extract is an effective supplement for improving body composition and muscle strength in aging men. She notes that maintaining healthy testosterone levels is important as men age: “Muscle mass and testosterone levels decrease as men age, which leads to a reduced quality of life due to lower strength, endurance, and vitality. Ingredients that enhance muscle strength and men’s health will play a pivotal role in the healthy-aging sector.”
Fenugreek Extract Boosts Energy, Stamina, and Testosterone
Testosterone is implicated in bone health, blood health, and even cognition. As testosterone tends to drop starting when men enter their 40s, maintaining healthy testosterone levels is critical for healthy aging in myriad ways.1
A recent clinical trial provided to Nutritional Outlook by Cepham (Somerset, NJ) found that Cepham’s branded Trigonella foenum-graecum extract Testncrease improved free testosterone levels by 6.3 ng/dL, making it over 2.5 times more effective than a placebo. Cepham says the active ingredient in fenugreek extract, protodioscin, is also an effective energy enhancer and mood balancer.
1. Solan M. “Treating low testosterone levels.” Harvard Men’s Health Watch. Published online December 2016.
Maca Improves Physical Performance, Sexual Function, and Fatigue
Maca also continues to be a men’s health ingredient of interest, with researchers continuing to study its benefits.
In a study2 recently published in the Journal of Exercise and Nutrition, 22 males and 25 females were randomly assigned to receive either placebo or 2.1 g of a patented Peruvian maca-Lepidamax ingredient from Nutrition 21-for 28 days. Researchers utilized the Shapiro Test to test the effects of maca on grip strength, mood, and sexual functioning, and a Nonparametric Wilcoxon Rank Test to examine the differences between groups for men and women separately.
Men taking maca had a significant improvement in handgrip strength, sexual function, and a reduction in fatigue, compared to placebo. (Women taking maca saw a significant improvement in fatigue, mood, sexual function, and handgrip compared to baseline, but these improvements were not significant when compared to placebo.)
“We’re excited to see that these clinical study results support Lepidamax’s ability to effectively enhance various end-points related to men’s health, enabling end-users to break through potential performance barriers,” said Joe Weiss, president of Nutrition 21, in a press release. “This study confirms our previous understandings around this ingredient and has exceeded our expectations regarding the possible applications for Lepidamax.”
2. Jiannine LM et al. “The effects of Lepidium meyenii on grip strength, fatigue, and sexual behavior.” The Journal of Exercise and Nutrition, vol 2, no. 1 (2019): 6
Pycnogenol Is Well-Tolerated, Effective for BPH
In December 2018, Horphag Research (Chicago, IL) announced the results of a new study demonstrating the efficacy of its branded ingredient Pycnogenol, a French maritime pine bark extract, in relieving the symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH).3
The study followed 75 men between the ages of 55 and 75 for eight weeks. Subjects who took 150 mg of Pycnogenol per day saw statistically significant improvements in BPH symptoms, with no significant side effects, compared to those who took a placebo. The study also found that Pycnogenol was even more effective than pharmaceuticals like finasteride and dutasteride in managing BPH symptoms.
In December, Sebastien Bornet, vice president global sales and marketing for Horphag, told Nutritional Outlook’s associate editor Sebastian Krawiec: “This is a big issue. It’s about quality of life. If you have to wake up two, three times during the night, you can’t sleep. If you can’t sleep, you can’t stay healthy, and then it’s a snowball effect and you have other health issues at the end of the day.”
3. Ledda A et al. “Benign prostatic hypertrophy: Pycnogenol supplementation improves prostate symptoms and residual bladder volume.” Minerva Medica, vol. 109, no. 4 (2018): 280-284
Product Innovation Makes Drinkable Tongkat Ali Possible
Tongkat ali (Eurycoma longifolia) has a long history as a men’s vitality and sexual health supplement, with applications in sports performance, weight loss, and energy markets. Annie Eng, CEO of HP Ingredients (Bradenton, FL), says that new developments with HP Ingredients’ branded tongkat ali supplement LJ100 have now made it possible to deliver tongkat ali in more delivery formats.
“Tongkat ali by its nature imparts a bitter taste,” Eng says. “The material itself works well in pill forms, but we’ve received several requests from brand marketers who want to use the ingredient in beverage formats.”
Now, Eng says, “Microencapsulation allows for the incorporation of LJ100 into beverages, as microencapsulation successfully masks the bitter edge.” She adds that microencapsulation also allows for slower release of the active ingredient while also offering better ingredient stability and bioavailability.
Last year, HP Ingredients completed a new study of LJ100 that examined the relationship between testosterone, physical vigor, emotional well-being, and cognition. The 24-week study4, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel study, followed 83 people between the ages of 25 and 65 who had a BMI of 18-30. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either one 50-mg tablet of LJ100 plus a multivitamin per day, or a matching placebo, for 24 weeks. The study authors assessed efficacy after 12 weeks and safety after 24 weeks.
Participants in the LJ100 condition showed a significant decrease in neutrophils that degranulate to release proteases during pathogenesis and stress. The study authors speculate that tongkat ali is an adaptogen that may improve emotional health and vitality by modulating the body’s immune response.
“Supplementation with tongkat ali and a multivitamin was associated with improvements in vigor, cognition, and testosterone levels,” Eng says. “There are more than a dozen studies on LJ100 [and study results like these are why] it’s often positioned for male libido, energy, and sports performance.”
4. George A et al. “Efficacy and safety of Eurycoma longifolia (Physta) water extract plus multivitamins on quality of life, mood and stress: a randomized placebo-controlled and parallel study.” Food & Nutrition Research, vol. 62 (October 2018): 1374-1389
A Better-Tasting Saw Palmetto Powder
Saw palmetto extract has long been a popular men’s health supplement, particularly for prostate health. But one challenge has plagued brands and manufacturers from the start: Saw palmetto simply doesn’t taste very good.
Stephen Hill, vice president of product development and regulatory for Valensa International (Eustis, FL), says that saw palmetto extract’s naturally pungent sensory profile has traditionally limited the supplement’s applications outside of a softgel. But now, delivery format innovations are making it possible to create odorless and flavorless saw palmetto powders that can be used in formulations for bars, chewables, smoothies, and other finished product formats.
“By microencapsulating the lipid extract, Valensa has been able to deliver a more sensory-neutral and functionally superior powderized format,” he says. “We hope this leads to greater reach and compliance by enabling the benefits of saw palmetto to be delivered in new forms and products that men prefer.”
Hill says that saw palmetto extract prevents the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone by inhibiting the action of 5-alpha-reductase. This means the compound has potential applications in men’s health well beyond its previous use as a prostate health ingredient.
“Valensa views saw palmetto extract as the key to unlocking an active lifestyle without the undesired sexual side effects that men often experience,” he notes. “We’re going to have more to say about this topic soon.”
Men’s Health Ingredients Ready for Innovation
The men’s healthy-aging ingredients market is fertile ground for innovation, with a growing demographic of baby boomers looking to maintain their vitality and keep up an active lifestyle. Recent ingredient developments have shown that there’s still plenty of room for new formats and formulas. As more aging men look to stay fit and healthy, expect new opportunities for men’s health ingredients to emerge.