I just returned from a couple of days in Las Vegas attending the annual SupplySide West nutritional supplement ingredient show. This is a trade show where vitamin and supplement manufacturers go to see what’s new in health ingredients that go into supplement products. I had a chance to go to a number education session to see presentations from industry professionals, regulators, research people, and marketers.
One theme seemed to be repeated over and over this year: science. Industry leaders were preaching the need for science above all else in validating and propelling a nutritional ingredient to growth in the marketplace. Human clinical trials published in peer-reviewed scientific journals are the gold standard. As one executive from a national supplement retailer told me, it seems when an ingredient reaches a certain threshold of having published studies behind it, its sales can take off to a new level.
He offered up Vitamin D as an example. It’s been around forever, but newer research trials showing its essential value (at higher doses) among a number of health conditions and functions has made for a new boon in Vitamin D sales at his stores. Another presenter, a naturopathic physician, said the industry needs more science and less marketing. I disagree, myself. As long as marketing and public communications are accurate and true to the science, we need both; science and marketing. What good is quality, compelling research if the masses don’t know about it?
So whether it’s Vitamin D, EpiCor or other nutritional ingredients, make sure you seek out the science behind them as you make your supplement decisions.