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The market for men's health nutrients; Men are taking control of their own health, revealing several dietary supplement and functional food opportunities.

Many men have become serious shoppers, particularly when it comes to personal care products. And that interest in looking good is crossing over into feeling good. No longer are wives and girl friends the sole purchasers of health products for their loved ones as they had been in the past. Today, men are more in control of their health and appearance than ever before. As Dr. Jit Maheshvari, sales director for Gencor Pacific, Inc., Anaheim, CA, points out, "Men today are looking twice in the mirror before leaving for the office."

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"Although women (mothers, wives and girlfriends) still tend to be the primary supplement buyers for the whole family, more and more men are buying supplements for themselves. These men seem to be more aware of the role dietary supplements play in addressing certain health concerns," said Ron Udell, president. Soft Gel Technologies, Inc. (SGTI), Los Angeles, CA.

To capture activity in this segment, the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), Harleysville, PA, has been looking more closely at the shopping habits of men. "Over the last five or six years we've noticed a dramatic change in men's shopping habits. We see only about 58% of women doing the primary shopping--meaning more men are taking over that role," explained Greg Stephens, vice president of strategic consulting, NMI. "Men appear to be getting much more involved in managing their own health issues."

Lauren Clardy, president, Nutrimar-keting, Omaha, NE, agreed. "Absolutely [the market] is changing.. .especially with the aging Baby Boomers. The demographic of the 'metro-sexual' is also out there buying. These guys will go and purchase for themselves because they are concerned about their appearance and their health. The stigma is just not there for this younger demographic. They're not afraid to purchase spa services and beauty products for appearance, and will purchase nutraceuticals and nutricosmetics for anti-aging and beauty benefits."

"Appearance issues are definitely of interest. It's more like stay healthy look healthy" said Barbara Katz, president of market research firm, HealthFocus, International, St. Petersburg, FL.

According to Mr. Stephens, JMMI research suggests there is a greater emphasis today on developing cosmeceuticals or nutricosmetics for men. Packaging options was another change Stephens picked up on, saying that more branded manufacturers are choosing packaging options with a man's eye in mind.

This article in a nutshell:

* Then and now

* Myth vs. fact

* Prostate health

* The weight-ing game

* Sexual health

* An untapped opportunity

Additionally, Ms. Katz noted the language used on product packaging is also changing to better attract men. "[The language] is performance based--there's a lot of language about what you need to be a guy. It comes from an attitudinal point of view. It's about 'how you can be better/perform better' as opposed to 'this product is good for heart health.' Companies would likely connect to a broader audience if they talk to men from a performance point of view rather than from a health point of view," she said.

Then and Now

In the past, the stereotype was: real men don't share their feelings or their health concerns, unless there's a major problem. 'Typically, men do not seek out dietary supplements until there is a specific problem or condition that has already become evident. Often, the results of a checkup and a doctor's stern warning about changing lifestyle habits is a key motivator that sends men searching for dietary supplements. Indeed, in a healthy and loving relationship, men are definitely open to following healthy lifestyle advice from their partners, as well as their best buddies and family members," said Dean Mosca, president, Proprietary Nutritionals, Inc. (PNI), a subsidiary of Pharmachem Laboratories, Inc., Kearny, NJ.

However, times are changing and men today are often feeling more comfortable openly discussing their health issues--even before a major cause for concern has been unearthed. 'Today, male consumers are more receptive to supplements due to changing social attitudes and general health concerns. It is now socially acceptable for men to discuss their health openly," said Naturex's, (South Hackensack, NJ) Antoine Dauby. "Men are more concerned about their well-being today than ever before and thereby become increasingly receptive to the use of supplements. Also, increasing clinical evidence of the efficacy of herbal supplements encourages more men to try them as time goes on."

LycoRed Corp.'s (Orange, NJ) vice president of marketing and business development, Scott Larkin, agreed, adding, "Men are in denial for the most part and prefer not to honor their vulnerability to health issues. The women of the house-hold are still the primary gatekeepers to purchasing supplements and putting healthy, nutritious food on the table. Having said that, there is a trend upward with men becoming more involved in purchasing decisions regarding supplements that impact their health."

Myth Vs. Fact

While TV commercials and magazine ads tell us that men are actively seeking remedies for health issues like benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) and sexual dysfunction, the reality of what health issues men are in fact concerned about is markedly different. Market research firms like NMI and HealthFocus actually place concerns about the prostate and impotency at the bottom of the priority list of ailments.

NMI data revealed only about 9% of men surveyed are actively managing prostate concerns, while slightly less than that (7%) are focused on reversing impotency or erectile dysfunction (see Table 7). Similarly, data from Health-Focus place prostate concerns ("extremely" or "very concerned") around 17% of men surveyed. Instead, survey results highlight other issues as being more important, such as weight, heart health, stress/healthy sleep, digestion, immune health and arthritis/joint pain.

"It's a possibility that the constant bombardment of television commercials for prescription pharmaceuticals brings awareness about certain medical conditions, thereby prompting men to seek alternatives to these drugs," said SGTI's Mr. Udell.

Nutrimarketing's Ms. Clardy points out that Pfizer redefined erectile dysfunction (ED) and transformed Viagra, which first was an effective product for ED for men with true medical problems like diabetes. Now, however, she said, "Viagra is thought of as a drug that normal men can use to enhance their ability to achieve an erection...all in the pursuit of profits [by Pfizer]. Lifestyle drugs have clearly been identified as a growth market for pharmaceutical companies."

In pinpointing key issues that were previously addressed primarily through pharmaceuticals, experts believe there is tremendous opportunity to educate male consumers about the role of dietary supplements and functional foods in managing their health.

"All of these first stages are most effectively treated with natural herbs, bioactives and lifestyle management with diet and exercise," said Ms. Clardy. "Supplements, functional foods and beverages, as well as a good diet and exercise, are the most effective treatment options for lifestyle health issues such as pre-diabetes and moderately elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Supplements and functional foods address these issues mostly because drug therapy may not always be the most effective treatment choice."
Table 1
MEN ARE CURRENTLY MANAGING THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS:

41%  Weight Loss
39%  Heart problems
29%  Stress/Lack of Sleep/Lack of Energy/Memory
31%  Digestion (indigestion, Lactose Intolerance, Acid Reflux)
24%  Arthritis/Joint Pain
19%  Seasonal Allergies
17%  Vision
9%  Prostate
7%  Impotency

Source: NMI's 2008 Health & Wellness Trends Database


Prostate Health

Speaking of nutraceutical options, men can turn natural minerals like selenium to manage BPH. Selenium to manage BPH. Selenium is a trace mineral that is found naturally in soil. Dietary sources of selenium include unrefined grains such as wheat, as well as fish and nuts. Selenium SeLECT is Sabinsa Corporation's (Piscataway, NJ) branded L-(+)-selenomethionine compound, a bioavail-able, pure and safe form of selenium. The National Cancer Institute is currently conducting SELECT, otherwise known as the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial using Selenium Select.

SELECT is a 12-year prostate cancer study that began in 2001 and is being conducted with 35,000 men from the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. The study is focusing on how selenium and vitamin E, both separately and together, can protect against prostate cancer. Previous research has found a link between selenium and reducing the risk of certain cancers.

Lycopene has also generated interest among men in recent years. Helping this along is FDA's health claim, approved in 2005, which establishes a connection between lycopene found in tomatoes and processed tomato products, and warding off prostate cancer.

For its part to support the prostate health market, SGTI manufactures several saw palmetto products (utilizing its trademarked saw palmetto berry extract, SerenPure), including combination formulas containing pumpkin seed oil, lycopene, zinc and folic acid. SGTI also offers Lyc-O-Mato lycopene soft gels as a single entity.

The Weight-in Game

Another priority men have, PNI's Mr. Mosca said, is getting into and/or keeping in physical shape, a top concern for 41% of men who are actively trying to manage weight loss, NMI reported. "Often, when a man wants to address his health, he embarks on a healthy diet and exercise regimen to get back to a more youthful and slim physique. Part of this concern and endeavor, especially for middle-aged men, also encompasses joint health," said Mr. Mosca, who highlighted jogging as a form of exercise that could exacerbate knee damage.

For joint pain, PNI's Celadrin addresses inflammation, which can be incurred through the commencement of a fitness program. "While the current, popular medical treatments for inflammatory conditions may relieve the pain, some medical professionals believe that these treatments actually worsen the underlying condition," said Mr. Mosca. "The primary drugs used in treating the most common infammatory conditions are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen. In addition to their negative side effects in the stomach and intestinal tract, NSAIDs may actually accelerate the progression of joint destruction."

Phase 2, a proprietary white kidney been extract from Pharmachem, along with a health-conscious diet and exercise program, can help men get into their desired shape faster.

Through a series of human clinical studies, Phase 2 has been proven to naturally delay the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, reducing overall caloric impact. Phase 2 is supported by two structure/function claims: "May assist in weight control when used in conjunction with a sensible diet and exercise program;" and "May reduce the enzymatic digestion of dietary starches."

Sabinsa is also active in the weight loss arena with Lean Gard, which recently underwent clinical evaluation. Results of the randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study of 46 overweight men and women revealed that participants receiving LeanGard--a proprietary blend of three of Sabinsa's patented, clinically researched ingredients, ForsLean, Garcitrin and Bioperine--had greater overall weight loss and reduction in body fat, as well as significant increases in lean body mass, than the placebo group.

The 12-week study, which was conducted at the Shifaa Hospital in Bangalore, India, evaluated the efficacy and safety of LeanGard as a dietary intervention for weight management support against a neutral placebo. Study participants were given either 500 mg of LeanGard or a placebo twice daily. Screening visits were conducted on day zero, as well as at weeks three, six, nine and 12, to measure Total Body Water (TBW), Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), Body Mass Index (BMI), Waist to Hip Ratio (WHR), Body Fat Percentage (BF%) and Lean Body Mass (LBM). Nine teen of the 21 subjects receiving LeanGard achieved more than a 5% reduction in body weight by the end of 12 weeks.

Sexual Health

Even though current market research indicates sexual health is of small concern to a majority of men, the 30 million men who did purchase pharmaceuticals like Viagra last year reflect a burgeoning market on the supplement side.

"Supplements for sexual dysfunction are increasing in demand. Positive experiences and positive study results are currently driving demand for this category of botanicals," explained Naturex's Mr. Dau- by. To that end, Naturex has developed MacaPure, which is backed by four patents.

MacaPure is standardized to novel compounds discovered by Naturex chemists, and according to the company is scientifically proven to enhance libido and sexual function. Two groups of novel compounds called macamides and macaenes have been identified in a maca using Naturex NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) technology. These act as marker compounds for MacaPure, ensuring its efficacy.

Testofen from Gencor Pacific is another ingredient that may play a role in this market. It is backed by animal studies, which have shown increases in libido, testosterone and muscle mass among Testofen treated rats.

Testofen has also been tested in a human clinical trial. In the 60-patient double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, human clinical study, Testofen increased free testosterone levels among treated subjects by almost 100%, but well within human physiological limits of free testosterone for adult males. This demonstrated that the benefits of free testosterone were available to adult males who consumed the product, without resulting in any physiological imbalances that could come about due to excess increases of testosterone in the body. "Effectively, this could help Baby Boomers feel as young and energetic as they would have felt in their late teens and early twenties. The study also showed that Testofen increased muscle mass and lean body mass in participants," said Dr. Maheshvari.

Testofen is a special extract from the seeds of fenugreek (Trigonela foenum graecum), standardized for a unique matrix of furostanol saponins called "fenusides."

From Avesthagen, Chatsworth, CA, comes ButeaMax, which is derived from the tuberous roots of "red kwao krya" (Butea superba Roxb.), a gigantic twining shrub in Thailand with flame-like yellow-orange flowers. ButeaMax has served as a rejuvenating herbal medicine for improving the mental, physical and sexual strength of men. According to the company, in vitro studies have shown that extracts of the root bark inhibit acetylcholinesterase and scavenge free radicals.

However, a majority of studies has focused on the root as a male sexual stimulant. In rats the dried powder of the root core increased sperm counts by around 16% without producing any signs of toxicity. It was also more effective at enhancing penile erection than those of either the fresh root core or the dried or fresh bark.

The potential of Butea superba as a supplement for ED was investigated in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Patients ages 30 to 70 years old with ED for 6 months or longer received the dried root or placebo in capsules at a dosage of 1000 mg per day for 3 months. After 3 weeks, all of the subjects receiving placebo dropped out of the trial compared to only eight of the 25 in the active treatment group. For those who completed the trial, 82% reported improvement in their condition, with nearly 77% scoring moderate to excellent results. The researchers postulated that whereas the sexual enhancing activity of the root may be largely due to phosphodiesterase inhibition, it could also be acting on the central nervous system to improve the emotional response to sex.

An Untapped Opportunity

In the end, the market for supplements and functional foods that address men's health concerns remains virtually untapped. And it's not for lack of scientifically validated ingredients. More men will need to take a greater role in seeking out the numerous products available. At the same time, suppliers need to work with their manufacturing partners to bring to life products that speak directly to men in the store.

By Brenda Porter Contributing Editor
COPYRIGHT 2008 Rodman Publishing
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Author:Porter, Brenda
Publication:Nutraceuticals World
Date:Jun 1, 2008
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