All you need to know to stand out in the bone and joint health space

By Kevin Robinson | Published: 23-May-2024

With consumers taking a more proactive approach to mobility, the bone and joint supplement market is poised for new growth opportunities. Dr Kevin Robinson sat down with Jane Durga, Scientific Affairs and Advocacy at Balchem, who unveiled three top tips to help brands stay at the forefront of innovation

Valued at approximately $13.6 billion in 2023, the bone and joint health supplement market is set to grow at a CAGR of 7.5% from 2024 to 2032.1

Driven by an increasing life expectancy and associated age-related issues, this rise also correlates with the trend for younger generations to take a more preventive approach to health.2

According to FMCG Gurus research, 61% of global consumers are “likely” or “very likely” to be interested in products that promote bone and joint health.3 So, how can brands break new ground in this evolving space? 

Bioavailability must be a top priority

“Although we’re seeing a shift in the profile of today’s bone and joint health consumers, one thing remains the same: quality is still a top priority."

"People are searching for solutions that offer the best value for money — with research indicating that 46% of global consumers are willing to pay a premium for products which improve bone and joint health."3

"For brands looking to enter this market, formulating with nutrients that can be absorbed and utilised in the body effectively is key.  But this is easier said than done,” explains Jane.

“Take calcium, for example, which can be challenging for supplement manufacturers as the most commonly used forms — such as calcium carbonate — have relatively low bioavailability, which can negatively affect efficacy.4

All you need to know to stand out in the bone and joint health space

Another key factor to consider is the presence of the so-called antinutrients in our diets. Common plant-based foods — such as whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes — contain phytates and oxalates that can decrease calcium absorption.

And the impact can be remarkable; just 10 mg of phytates can inhibit iron absorption by roughly 60%.5 Fortunately, there are alternative solutions available, such as chelated minerals.

Multiple studies have shown that chelation can improve the bioavailability of minerals, which means they can be easily absorbed into the human body.6,7 

At Balchem, we can support manufacturers with our Albion  Minerals range, a complete portfolio of organic mineral amino acid chelates that includes calcium bisglycinate chelate — an essential ingredient when it comes to maintaining healthy bones.

Studies suggest that bisglycinate compounds may reduce the binding of antinutrients, allowing for superior absorption even in the presence of phytates and oxalates.”8

To raise awareness of these common challenges and the importance of choosing the right ingredients, Balchem is also collaborating with the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) US and Canada on new research that sheds light on how to improve the prediction of calcium bioavailability for different food matrices.

Unlock multiple health benefits with holistic solutions

With holistic wellness dominating health trends, consumers are looking for convenient solutions that target multiple health areas at once — such as a product that supports overall mobility by combining popular ingredients for joints, tendons, bones and muscles.

According to Jane, the key to unlocking innovation opportunities is to master the art of blended formulations without compromising on absorbability, bioavailability and effectiveness. 

“One ingredient to watch in this space is vitamin K2 — a go-to nutrient for healthy bones. Vitamin K2 regulates calcium metabolism in the body, thereby increasing the yield of calcium that reaches the bones from the food you eat."

"This in turn supports increased bone mineral density (BMD) and strength. However, not all K2 is created equal and some forms can lose stability when combined with minerals such as calcium."

"Balchem’s K2VITAL DELTA is the first vitamin K2 to be microencapsulated in special double-coated beadlets, ensuring complete stability in most environments."

"This allows brands to use it in tandem with Albion Minerals’ highly bioavailable chelates, without compromising on results — something we’re currently investigating further.”

And bone health is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to mobility and staying active for longer.

Adjacent to this category lies joint health. For brands looking to venture down the route of multi-ingredient solutions, there’s another key nutrient they can include in their formulation: methylsulfonylmethane (MSM).

MSM plays a critical role in the maintenance of joint tissue and supporting glutathione’s function in the defence against free radicals.9,10

Supplementation with Balchem’s OptiMSM provides essential nutritional support for joints and connective tissues; plus, it can be combined with glucosamine and chondroitin to support markers of joint health and boost its effectiveness.11

Convenience is king: explore new application formats

“When we talk about convenience, we’re not only referring to delivering multiple health benefits at once; it’s also about practical on-the-go solutions that can easily fit into our daily routines,” explains Jane.

“Although fortified foods and beverages are growing in popularity, their appeal ultimately hinges on taste, meaning that manufacturers need to offer consumers a pleasant experience. So, it’s important to consider taste, texture and odour too."

And this is no mean feat. When formulating appealing bone health solutions with calcium carbonate, for example, brands can face several challenges in terms of taste and texture.

As it is relatively insoluble, formulating with calcium carbonate can result in sediment, a gritty texture, a soapy flavour and a chalky mouthfeel.12

Albion Minerals’ calcium citrate malate (CCM) represents a good alternative by providing high solubility, excellent compatibility with multiple applications and improved absorption in the body.13

Thanks to these important features, CCM has been used successfully to create fortified juice beverages, plant-based and bovine milk, as well as fitness waters.”14 

Offering versatility to brands exploring new formats, another ingredient that can deliver in terms of both palatability and nutritional quality is K2VITAL DELTA.

Suitable for dry powder, water-based liquid formulations and gummies, in recent years new studies have confirmed K2VITAL DELTA’s excellent stability in final product applications — such as UHT, dairy and plant-based drinks, cereal bars and fortified dry powders — enabling manufacturers to tap into a variety of consumer preferences.”

Jane concludes: “At Balchem, we can help brands to identify the right ingredients and overcome formulation challenges, elevating their bone and joint health offering to tap into consumer needs and desires.”


  4. S. Reinwald, et al., Adv. Food Nutr. Res. 54, 219–346 (2008).
  5. L. Hallberg, et al., Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 49(1),140–144 (1989).
  7. J.A.J. Fischer, et al., Nutr. Rev. 81(8), 904–920 (2023)
  8. A.C. Bovell-Benjamin, et al., Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 71(6), 1563–1569 (2000).
  10. J. Vaskova, et al., Molecules 28(3), 1447 (2023).
  11. A.M.T. Lubis, et al., Acta Med. Indones. 49(2), 105–111 (2017).
  14. P. Chang, et al., US Patent No. 20,020,102,331 (2002).


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