SUPPORTING THE NEEDS
OF AN AGING BRAIN
The World Health Organization defines healthy aging as “the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables well-being in older age”. According to the “World Population Ageing” report published by the United Nations, in 2030, older people are expected to outnumber children under age 10 and, in 2050, projections indicate that there will be more seniors aged 60 or over than adolescents and youth at ages 10-24 (1).
With populations around the world rapidly ageing and life expectancy significantly rising, there is a parallel increase of cognition-related diseases, including mild cognitive impairment, cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. The decline in cognitive ability and memory for an increasingly older population is a major health issue.
Take a few seconds to think about how often you misplace your car keys, forget where you parked the car or blank on the name of a person you just met. We all have those frustrating “tip of the tongue” moments. However, if forgetfulness escalates to a point where it is not just memory that is affected, but focus, mood, and decision-making as well, then it is time to do something about it.
Several lifestyle factors, including physical activity, mental stimulation, and diet have been linked to maintaining brain health with age. There is a significant body of epidemiological evidence that supports beneficial effects of nutrients on healthy ageing of the brain. This includes vitamins such as B-9, B-12, and E, as well as herbal extracts with both traditional and modern uses, such as Ginkgo biloba, Ashwagandha, hemp and sage (2).
In recent years, herbal and nutritional supplementation are constantly being investigated to provide support to overall cognitive function across different demographics. With limited cognitive therapeutic options available, older subjects are expected to continue using dietary supplements instead of prescription medicines (2). Millennials (24-40 years) and the youth population (18-25 years), including teenagers and students, are also two very promising target groups for brain boosters, as young people, are determined to find ways to maximize their performance, improve alertness and reduce stress. Ultimately, people of all ages can benefit from enhanced mental performance and focus, while trying to balance their work or studies, family, and other responsibilities.
In addition, the use of new, innovative delivery forms is rapidly expanding, with consumers trying to move away from the traditional pill or capsule supplement formats to more convenient and appealing options, such as gummies, powders and drinks (3).
HEALTHY NUTRIENTS FOR THE BRAIN
Sibelius Natural Products | United Kingdom
Gioia Zambon manages Sibelius Natural Products’ internal and external communications programs—including public relations and digital campaigns—across multiple markets. The company focuses on the need to support healthy aging and the increasing market demand for branded, scientifically evidenced and clinically proven natural products. Its mission is to increase people’s health span and well-being by unlocking the potential of natural ingredients.
FASCICOLO SPONSORIZZATO DA
Except for age, the modern busy and competitive lifestyles is another key motivator that drives the development of innovative brain health products and messages. Multitasking, tight deadlines, longer working hours and less sleep are only a few examples of our daily habits that significantly affect our brain health.
With cognition being one of the most important public health concerns, a multitude of relevant product categories have been recently introduced in the market, providing diverse cognitive benefits. These include dietary supplements for enhanced mental performance, memory, concentration, focus, energy levels, sleep, stress, depression and age-related cognitive deficits.
One key aspect to take into consideration when looking at different nutrients for healthy cognitive aging is the available supporting research. A little too many times we encounter brands making up outrageous claims without any valuable research relating directly to the product being marketed.
Knowing that the manufacturer of an ingredient or a supplement brand invests years of R&D resources into developing clinical trials that prove the benefits of their product is highly reassuring for the consumer, both from a safety and a quality perspective.
Given that many people are looking at natural therapies to avoid more drastic medical interventions, science and clinical validation are critical to keep consumers trust.
For instance, today’s research supports the traditional use of Salvia officinalis with a randomized, placebo-controlled, double- blind, crossover study showing sage extract (as Sibelius™:Sage) significantly improved performance cognition, such as accuracy of attention, word recognition, word recall and working memory (4). The trial participants were aged 65 and older and were given varying doses of sage. A sustained memory improvement over time was noticed and the effects of the sage on memory were seen after only an hour of taking the sage extract.
Nowadays consumers mainly want to save time and money and get quality and efficacious products. They are constantly looking for products that are safe, act fast and provide an immediate health benefit, natural alternatives to expensive prescription drugs, as well as convenient and appealing delivery formats to become a part of their daily routine (5).
The rising health and nutrition awareness make consumers demand greater transparency in the supply chain and clean-label supplements, including all-natural, organic, non-GMO and non-animal tested products.
A NOTE ON QUALITY
Aging poses significant challenges to individuals and society. Traditionally, cognitive well-being has perhaps been perceived as a concern limited to our senior years, however the importance of supporting healthy brain function among all generations is constantly growing. With the advancements of clinical data, there is the chance to prove that natural healing remedies can be a solution to help improve health care for all generations.
There is a wide variety of products that are currently performing well in the brain supplement market, providing different brain health benefits associated with memory, mood, attention and focus, sleep and anxiety. These include vitamins and minerals, such as B-complex vitamins and magnesium, natural molecules, such as huperzine A, DHA and HTP-5, and herbal extracts with both traditional and modern uses, such as ginkgo, Ashwagandha, hemp and sage. In addition, the use of new, innovative delivery forms is rapidly expanding, with consumers trying to move away from the traditional pill or capsule supplement formats to more convenient and appealing options, such as gummies, powders and drinks.
Consumers don’t just want to live longer; they want to thrive longer. The concept of “healthy aging” supports consumers as they age to help them stay active and live fully in life’s later years.