Delivery system solutions: innovative supplements to support healthy ageing

With the global population living longer, focus among consumers and supplement manufacturers has turned towards leading healthier lives and ageing well. Consumers are concerned about medical ailments that could affect quality of life; so, to prevent the onset and symptoms of certain conditions, more people are choosing food supplements

DUOCAP capsule-in-capsule technology from Capsugel, now a Lonza company

Understanding changing demographics and behaviours is crucial to developing supplements to meet the evolving needs of consumers. A recent study commissioned by Capsugel, now a Lonza company, conducted by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) examined the key market drivers and concerns of 3000 supplement users across France, Germany and Italy. The resulting data highlighted an increase in the use of supplements to support healthy ageing, but also indicated changing attitudes across the generations.

Fluctuating market dynamics

Mature consumers (born before 1946) and baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) hold a lot of spending power within the supplements market. A significant proportion of them are classified as “heavy” users, with 55% of boomers taking more than three supplements per day and 20% of mature consumers recording top levels of use. In addition, 13% of mature consumers are classified as “medium” users taking two to three supplements a day, rising to 46% amongst boomers. However, although supplements remain popular amongst this older demographic, usage is no longer age dependent. In fact, increasing numbers of younger consumers are looking to follow healthier lifestyles and use supplements. This generational shift in attitudes represents a significant opportunity for supplement manufacturers to take advantage of new market dynamics and healthy ageing trends. Far from simply treating ailments, supplements need to be more dynamic in delivering preventive solutions that support longer and healthier lives.

Tailoring technologies to trends

As consumers get older, they can experience emotional and mental health issues, as well as physical difficulties, which need tailored support. The NMI data shows that mature consumers use more condition-specific supplements than any other group surveyed to address health concerns. Whereas baby boomers also use supplements to treat distinct ailments, such as joint issues, poor vision and cardiovascular health, millennials focus more on lifestyle-related issues such as reducing fatigue, addressing mental health problems and preventing weight gain.

With demand high for supplements addressing specific conditions, manufacturers must balance the efficacy of products with the requirement to reduce “pill burden” — something of particular importance to the elderly. Consequently, manufacturers are exploring new technologies that allow multiple ingredients to be combined into a single dosage form. Although this creates the opportunity to deliver never before possible benefits for consumers, it also presents significant formulation challenges when bringing together historically incompatible ingredients.

To address this, Capsugel, now a Lonza company, created its pioneering DUOCAP capsule-in-capsule technology, which involves inserting a smaller prefilled capsule into a larger liquid-filled one. The technology can bring together complex ingredients such as vitamin K2, omega-3 fish oil, vitamin B complex or magnesium/calcium into a single dosage form that enables manufacturers to create ready-to-market combination products.

Unique ingredients

The last 12 months has seen an increase in innovative ingredients used to support healthy ageing. The prevalence of osteoarthritis in the elderly (more than 50% in the over-60s) has led to the increased popularity of UC-II type II collagen, which prevents cartilage deterioration and improves the mechanical function of joints.

Trending ingredients from the mainstream food industry have also made their mark. Take curcumin, the active nutrient from the turmeric root. The Golden Spice, used in Ayurvedic traditions for thousands of years, saw a global increase in online searches of 56% in 2016.

Curcumin draws great attention for its broad spectrum of therapeutic actions, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and neuroprotective potential, which are all important as the population ages.

However, native curcumin powder has very poor bioavailability. To extend the ingredient’s market potential amongst both millennials and the older generations, Capsugel, now a Lonza company, has combined its Licaps technology with a patented, dissolved NovaSOL form of curcumin. Delivering a stable formulation and breakthrough absorption rate, the technology also helps to facilitate vegetarian and clean label claims, in line with the latest consumer preferences.

Probiotics also support healthy ageing, aiding digestion, supporting nutrient absorption and improving immune function. Formulating probiotic products can be extremely difficult, because humidity, temperature and acid stomach conditions can all affect delivery. To help manufacturers overcome the stability challenges of working with acid and moisture sensitive ingredients, Capsugel, now a Lonza company, has developed its DRcaps capsule. Designed to protect acid-sensitive ingredients from disintegration in the stomach, DRcaps provides delayed release to allow for complete dissolution in the intestine, maximising the shelf-life of products.

Everyday solutions

When targeting mature consumers, manufacturers need to consider swallowability and convenience. Capsugel’s two piece Coni-Snap Sprinkle capsule has been specifically designed to be opened easily, enabling older supplement users to sprinkle the contents on to food or drinks, without compromising on safety or efficacy. Capsugel, now a Lonza company, also provides branding and colourant capabilities to help consumers with impaired vision.

Future direction

With supplements increasingly viewed as crucial in maintaining a healthy lifestyle for young and old alike, manufacturers must explore new technologies and ingredients to continue to meet the demands of an ageing population.

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