1) For years, there has been a push to have transparency and traceability in the supply chain. What actions are being taken, and what more is needed? 

Rob Brewster, President, Ingredients by Nature: “Suppliers and manufacturers are better understanding that consumers want transparency and traceability. They want to know where their products are coming from and that they are receiving an efficacious and clinically tested dose while being eco-conscious. Ingredient suppliers have begun providing these critical pieces of the puzzle to their finished product manufacturers so they can then tout this on their packaging and marketing materials. This information could easily determine whether or not a consumer chooses your finished product over another.” 

Paul Altaffer, Chief Innovation Officer, RFI Ingredients: “This is a complex issue as botanicals are sourced globally, oftentimes they are wildcrafted, with thousands of people collecting plants in broad geographic areas and unorganized supply chains. Suppliers are traditionally secretive of their supply chains, so transparency and traceability are hard to come by. Yet botanicals are now a major business and stakeholders are moving more toward cultivation and controlled wild harvesting. The two most important factors that will affect increased transparency and traceability are fair value chain and removal of the many layers of intermediary players in the supply chain. By paying fair values to the producers (growers and/or pickers) and creating a direct connection to the value-added steps of production, the value chain becomes fairer and the value chain producers gain better control over their supply chains and quality. This would remove the greatest barriers to transparency and traceability. Easier said than done, though.”

Beth Lambert, CEO, Herbalist & Alchemist: “This is more an issue for companies that are purchasing extracts from suppliers who purchase botanicals from brokers, who purchase botanicals from suppliers who might outsource grinding, or aggregated crops from farmers or wildcrafters. These may have changed hands multiple times before they reach the finished product manufacturer. 74% of our botanicals are certified organic. We receive most of our botanicals in whole form directly from growers or wildcrafters. For the few botanicals that come in powdered, we use third party labs for confirmation of identity. We have long-standing relationships with our raw material suppliers.”

Brittini Gehring, Chief Botanical Officer & Director of Quality, RidgeCrest Herbals: “In many ways, the efforts made to provide more transparency in the supply chain, such as ID and purity testing, have significantly increased the safety and quality of ingredients. These types of requirements have put pressure on ingredient suppliers to make sure they are providing the best of what they say they are providing. It is much more uncommon these days to have the wrong ingredients, ingredients that are mixed with cheaper fillers, and/or poor-quality ingredients. As a result, along with quality increasing, so have costs. Testing can be very expensive on any level from the supplier to the finished product manufacturer and on to the consumer. The consumer lacks education as to where these cost increases are coming from, and there is some push back on costs while their demand for transparency continues.” 

Sindy Wise, Formulator, VP of Research & Business Development, Wishgarden Herbs: “Really, it’s about establishing standards within an organization that adhere to your values, then working with farmers and suppliers to ensure those standards are met. Our Global Sourcing Manager, Lauren Nichols, nurtures those relationships so there is a mutually beneficial partnership with no surprises on either side. Clear communication and relationship building is paramount. This is the key to establishing a supply chain that is consistent, safe, and sustainable for everyone.”   

Collette Kakuk, VP of Global Marketing,  Layn Natural Ingredients: “Consumers have made it clear that they seek out products from companies that prioritize transparency and sustainability. They are increasingly concerned about the quality, authenticity, and sustainability of botanical products, and want to know where their products come from and how they are produced. To address these concerns, some companies in the industry are investing in technology, infrastructure, and traceability systems that track the entire journey of a botanical product, from the source of the raw materials to the finished product. Technologies such as barcodes, QR codes, or blockchain are used to ensure that the ingredients in a product can be traced back to their origin and that all stages of the supply chain have been verified. It is important to take the proper steps to enable traceability and transparency, while being authentic in labeling and in informing consumers regarding the origin, quality, and sustainability of the products they are buying.  

“Testing and verification of natural botanicals are necessary. Unfortunately, adulteration and misrepresentation of ingredients still take place. For example, some supplement manufacturers may use synthetic chlorogenic acid or use extracts from plants other than coffee or green tea and market them as natural chlorogenic acid. These other extracts may not have the same health benefits or the same levels of potency, purity, and stability as chlorogenic acid from coffee or green tea.   

“Layn Natural Ingredients has stringent controls in place to prevent adulteration for all of its extract ingredients. I must emphasize the need to test, retest... and retest again to ensure the quality and authenticity of botanicals. There are many ways to test a material for identity; some are more robust and fit for purpose than others. It begins with a voucher sample of a botanical being tested using macroscopic, microscopic, or thin layer chromatography to verify the plant’s identity. In addition to identity testing, measuring for such things as heavy metals, bacteria, pesticides, moisture, and toxins using the lowest limit of detection (LOQ) are also critically important.  

“Consumers are exchanging information faster than ever, and full supply chain transparency and control is imperative.”

Sebastian Balcombe, Founder and CEO, Specnova: “The key aspect and the only true way to provide surety and safety to consumers is through robust analytical testing throughout the supply chain; testing that can be third-party-verified. The testing is what exposes possible issues and any in-house testing must be able to be replicated at a third-party testing lab. In terms of what actions are being taken to do this, that varies greatly on the ingredient supplier and how much they care and want to put in the time and resources to ensure full traceability and testing throughout the supply chain. Being transparent about the testing methods used is a crucial point and is needed to establish an even playing field between ingredient suppliers and this is greatly lacking…Using a botanical as an example, be it a single source or multiple sources that are used, the unprocessed biomass needs to be DNA-tested as well as HPTLC and FTIR fingerprinted to authenticate the source. HPLC and/or LC/MS should also occur on the unprocessed biomass prior to extraction to establish its compound profile and pick up on any red flags, e.g., much higher levels of a particular compound that is not in its normal natural spectrum. Pesticide residues should be measured via GC/MS, be they organic or conventional.  

“If it’s a botanical extract that has a history of being adulterated with synthetic sources of compounds--for example, green tea caffeine or green coffee caffeine extract, which should only contain natural caffeine but has repeatedly been shown to be spiked with much less costly synthetic caffeine—one must conduct an isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) to differentiate between natural- or synthetic-derived caffeine on the finished product. Going through processing, extraction, drying, and any other steps specific to the ingredient, one must at multiple points, verify the concentration of the compounds that make up the specification of the botanical, be it via HPLC, LC/MS,Q-TOF, HR/MS, or GC/MS, and of course testing for microbial contamination, and heavy metals via ICP/MS and residual solvents and pesticide residues via GC/MS.” 

Cosimo Palumbo, Chief Operating Officer, Indena USA Inc.: “Indena has been at the forefront of pioneering methods in transparency and traceability. Indena was the first to implement in-field DNA analysis verifying the identity of every plant sold. Indena also has a rigorous quality control process with a 30+ steps’ process guaranteeing the quality of consistency of each extract’s composition. Indena has also worked with industry trade associations and regulatory agencies to understand botanical adulteration and take action to help prevent adulterated ingredients being sold to consumers.”

Wilson Lau, President, Nuherbs: “There is great talk about transparency and traceability, but in reality, the progress hasn’t been good. What is really needed is coming hard and fast via financial requirements via the E & S driven by the governance piece of ESG and regulations moving us toward carbon neutral to stem global warming. Without traceability, it will be near impossible to implement the changes required by both the aforementioned movements and be able to substantiate the progress made for reporting purposes.” 

2) In a recent poll conducted at the Naturally Informed educational event Reimagining Botanicals: Mastering the Market, 27% of respondents said lack of consumer understanding is the most critical issue facing the botanical industry. How can the industry best reach, engage, and inform consumers? 

Maggie McNamara, Marketing Director, Gencor: For a brand, your consumer must trust the product and its science. One way to promote these items is through your packaging and online presence. Using your website and social channels is a perfect way for a consumer to learn more, for example, including a QR code on the packaging that goes directly to the peer-reviewed published studies showing high-level results within the timeframe of the clinical research. This will show the ingredients’ potential and help them understand that this product isn’t a 'magic bullet' that will help the first day they take it. Consumers need to see that supplements take time, and most supplements have the most substantial impact after 30+ days of taking them. Other ways to educate and engage your current and potential customers are with a quality spokesperson and having educational email marketing in rotation with the promotional." 

Gehring: “There is a lack of understanding with the consumer concerning all the changes and requirements that the supply chain has undergone as well as a general lack of understanding of what kind of testing is possible and available and how much these tests do and will continue to increase costs so that they can have a better product. RidgeCrest Herbals puts out an annual Almanac for consumers and retailers that contains articles discussing supply chain efforts, testing, and the quality of the products to address this need for education.”

Altaffer: “I would say the biggest difficulty with consumer education is that many sellers make promises and claims that do not align with actual product performance. It is difficult enough to educate consumers, the cost is very high and the differentiation between products can be low. On the other hand, most botanicals commonly available today have been in the market for a long time, which means consumers are generally aware of them. This makes it even more important to make promises that can be kept, thus promoting customer trust and loyalty.”

Wise: “I believe consumers understand what they want, they just want transparency into how a company makes their products and how a company ensures the safety of how the products are made. Educating customers on how your product is made, what the exact ingredients are, and the standards your company has, can answer questions for consumers and potentially help parse out some of the bad players in the marketplace. We have a staff of herbalists that can educate on each of the botanicals we use and why we believe in whole plant extraction vs. standardized extracts. Proactively creating educational content/blogs and being available to answer customer questions has helped build a strong relationship between WishGarden and our customers.”

Palumbo: “Growing awareness to reach mainstream consumers takes a significant investment in time and resources. Media options have become fragmented and finding the right marketing mix is more of a challenge than ever. The growth and influence in digital and social media cannot be ignored but most likely contributing to the early-stage adopters. It’s important to remember that lasting markets are built over years so if you are consistent over time, you’ll make progress towards increased awareness.”  

Lambert: “Continue to educate health care providers. Support quality educators. Herbalist & Alchemist does this in a number of ways, including David Winston’s monthly educational herbal Salons for our wholesale customers.”

Balcombe: “Lack of education, understanding, and poor-quality information leading to confusion have always been the botanical industry’s Achilles Heel and a difficult hurdle to overcome. I think the key to addressing the lack of consumer understanding is actually better addressed by cleaning up a lot of the confusing information. This information comes from too many unqualified people, the mainstream media constantly pushing out poor quality and misleading information, and the explosion of social media and 'influencers' polluting the science. There is typically room for interpretation in the science, but so many supplement companies are not science-based, but rather marketing-based, and this has caused years upon years of confusion. It’s not a lack of information, it’s too much poor quality information that is the root cause. If I were a lay person, I would spend some time to choose a handful of key, educated people to get my information from and cut out the rest of the noise. And I would choose five to 10 supplement companies that I trust their science-backed products and science-based communication and stick with them.”    

Kakuk: “There are many effective ways to reach consumers, including:  

• Continued Science and Research: Consumers are looking for more natural solutions vs. synthetics, and in particular, pharmaceuticals. The industry must continue to conduct meaningful research to scientifically demonstrate the effectiveness of botanical actives/compounds.  

• Education and transparency: The botanical industry needs to continue to provide authentic and helpful information to consumers about the benefits of botanicals and be transparent about the sourcing and production of these products. This can include information on the science behind the ingredients, the history and traditional uses of botanicals, and the sustainability of the supply chain.  

• Labeling and packaging: Clear and accurate labeling and packaging is a critical part of engaging with consumers. They are demanding clean-label products and want to know more about the products they are purchasing and the ingredients in them. Companies should ensure that their labeling accurately reflects the product’s ingredients and provides information on origin and sustainability.  

• Influencer marketing: Partnering with influencers who are passionate about botanicals and natural products can help companies reach new audiences and engage consumers who may not be aware of these products.  

• Events and sampling: Hosting events and providing product samples can be a great way to engage consumers and create awareness about botanicals and natural products. Suppliers and manufacturers can partner with retailers, existing events, and other venues to offer product demonstrations, tastings, and educational sessions.”  

Brewster: “Reliable and trustworthy information is what consumers need from our industry. Continuing to clinically back ingredients with randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human clinical trials is one place to start. We need to demonstrate the incredible impact natural products can have on health and then try to reach consumers through credible sources—and in today’s day and age, this is easier said than done.”

Lau: “Do we really believe that consumers should be experts in the nitty-gritty of all the problems and issues facing our industry? The real issue is that sustainability is an all-encompassing term that covers too much, so it becomes confusing to decipher what people mean by sustainability. I interviewed experts in our botanical industry for my podcast Herbal Explorations and their definitions of sustainability were all distinctly different. We need to clearly communicate to customers what we are doing to be more sustainable in simple, clear messaging. And in order to do that, we need to be able to clearly substantiate it, otherwise we put ourselves in the cross hairs of the lawyers.”

3) In the Naturally Informed poll, supply chain challenges were ranked as the top concern by 24% of respondents, followed by climate change at 22%. What actions are needed to address these concerns? 

Lau: “I think, at this point, we are all armchair supply chain experts, including myself. My message has been consistent since COVID started: Weathering supply chain challenges requires partnerships, frank honest communications, and collaborative planning. The realities of climate change and all the changes countries, companies, and people need to implement so we don’t increase the global temperature by 1.5 Celsius to the tipping point will be the constant priorities for the rest of our lives. We personally and as businesses need to be purposeful and committed to reducing our carbon footprint.”

Wise: “The supply chain has been challenging. We’ve seen supply chain challenges with climate change, and also with a shortage of young wildcrafters taking over from the elders. For WishGarden, expanding partnerships with secondary and even tertiary farmers and wildcrafters in different regions, can help protect the supply chain if one region has climate challenges. Looking at different regions within the U.S. to expand growing partnerships and even globally, will help ensure we have a stable supply as we continue to grow.”

Altaffer: “In addition to my previous comments on supply chain transparency, which would significantly impact supply chain, the pandemic put supply chains into major focus. With entire countries shutting down, with little access to labor, to lack of ships, then shipping containers, price gouging, then major wars and armed conflicts, and major climate disasters, the new normal has been chaos. All of those affect supply chains and climate change is deeply intertwined with the new chaos. Botanicals are not widgets, they are supply chains that deeply depend on people, planet, climate and a variety of other factors, which make them interdependent on those factors. These are supply chains that work like freight trains; it takes a long time to get them going, but once they are going, they too take a while to stop. Better planning and commitments to supply chains are at the heart of the solution.”

Gehring: “As far as the supply chain goes, it is hard to pinpoint exactly where to resolve the concern. Farmers are struggling and are often in countries where they are doing everything they can to make ends meet. Covering extra costs such as testing to be able to verify the quality and purity of their product is usually not feasible for farmers. The finished product brand owner is often very out of touch with their farms and provides little support. The integrity of the product should start with the farmers but often this step, along with several other steps before it gets into the manufacturer’s hands, has been overlooked. Being involved with the farmers can be very challenging, financially and geographically. Somehow this disconnect needs to be resolved in order to resolve a lot of the supply chain issues.”

Palumbo: “With the supply chain being stressed due to recent global events, managing supply and logistics became difficult, expensive, and exposed infrastructure issues that had to be addressed. Companies are still dealing with these challenges, but it’s a problem that everyone has managed. Since Indena has been in the botanical industry for over 100 years, it has close relationships with many of its suppliers helping it to maintain a stable supply or to identify potential issues ahead of time. For those times when supplies may be an issue, Indena maintains a back-up inventory to prevent supply chain disruptions. Indena also has embraced sustainability efforts and is sharing its journey in sustainability. Indena views itself in partnership with nature and is conscious of the importance of preserving and regenerating the earth’s living resources. Among many sustainability initiatives, the company has an active Sustainable Sourcing Program in order to make its supply chains increasingly sustainable, with a special focus on safety and wellbeing for the communities involved, biodiversity conservation, and sustainable regeneration of the wild species we market. To respond to climate change and reduce environmental impact, Indena has a dedicated environmental management system and its European plants have already earned the ISO 14001 certification, and all the others will soon implement similar certified systems. Indena avoids 5,117 tons of CO2 equivalent emissions per year, having installed state-of-the-art equipment at its production sites – including a cogeneration plant, a steam turbine, and boiler system for energy generation, and photovoltaic panels.” 

Lambert: “We all experienced how a sudden crisis can snowball in unexpected ways, and which revealed weaknesses, and strengths. For many of us, this proved the value of long-lasting and strong supplier relationships, and good communication. Diversifying sources, including geographically, can provide some insulation from disruption caused by extreme weather, war, pandemic, and other serious events. Current events aside, climate change is impacting availability and quality of botanicals. We’ve recently reformulated difficult to source botanicals such as Roman Chamomile, Chinese Coptis, Tienchi ginseng. We’re fortunate to have the knowledge and experience of David Winston RH(AHG) to rely on for formula changes that maintain the efficacy of our products. Companies making herbal products that do not have an experienced herbalist on staff may want to make arrangements to have access to such expertise.” 

Brewster: “Supply chain issues were brought to the forefront with the pandemic and have changed how many secure their products. At Ingredients by Nature, we have been lucky enough to be around for 90 years. We have created trusting and concrete relationships with several distributors, allowing us to consciously source products from a global community. Companies can help address climate change in various ways, from extraction to processing to packaging and transportation. Suppose there are ways to decrease your environmental footprint and produce a better, more sustainable product. In that case, it will be a win-win-win for the company, the consumer, and the environment.” 

Balcombe: “I think as an industry we need to open our minds to addressing these supply chain concerns and how they often relate to the environment. For example, if there is a botanical exact where a single compound is wanted and even when extracted, it’s in very low percentages, sometimes 0.001-1% by weight of the whole plant, yet the finished product has been concentrated, purified and sometimes going through a reaction many times to get it into the 90%+ range. One must take into account how much plant biomass was needed to make that highly concentrated finished product and often how much plant biomass is wasted and unused, all to get one single compound. We also need to take into consideration the land needed to grow all that plants, the water, the human labor, gathering and moving all that biomass with fueled vehicles which can leave the plant with dangerously high levels of PAHs, processing it and leaving a huge amount of waste. We must also consider that large amounts of many of the botanicals we ingest in this country are not grown here and are grown in areas of the world that can be highly unregulated both environmentally and with its labor force. All this can lead to both supply chain issues as well as unneeded environmental impact. There are better ways to address both these related important concerns in specific cases as mentioned above and one such way can be through making the single compounds through fermentation, be it microbial, yeast, or algae. A good example would be the branded resveratrol ingredient Veri-te, which makes the single compound trans-resveratrol at a 98% purity level and is produced through a yeast fermentation process without the environmental impact. It also has reduced chances of contamination or supply chain challenges. Or, we could simply not have the expectation that our plant extracts should be concentrated or purified at 50-90%+ ranges of a single compound that typically is in the single digit percentages and at a certain threshold the compound should be made in another way rather than extracted.”  

Kakuk: “Some things the natural products industry can do help improve supply chain efficiency, sustainability, and transparency include:  

• Developing partnerships with suppliers and stakeholders to promote sustainable sourcing and fair-trade practices.   

• Implementing good agricultural practices and upcycling efforts in order to increase yields, improve sustainability and reduce waste.  

• Engaging in regular audits and assessments to identify and address risks in the supply chain.  

• Investing in technology and infrastructure to improve traceability and transparency in the supply chain.   

•Developing contingency plans to mitigate the impact of supply chain disruptions, such as natural disasters or pandemics.  

Climate change is a significant threat to the botanical industry, and there are a number of actions that may help mitigate its impact, including:  

• Developing and implementing sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices that 'give back to the earth,' reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 'feed' the soil and enhance the resilience of crops even in extreme weather events.  

• Taking advantage of renewable energy sources and reducing energy consumption in all stages of the supply chain.  

• Investing in research and development to identify new crop varieties that are more resilient to climate change.  

• Collaborating with advocates and other stakeholders to promote policy changes and agreements that address climate change.  

• Educating consumers on the impact of climate change on the botanical industry  

• Authentically communicating the actions taken and commitment to producing sustainable and climate-resilient products.”  

McNamara: "Being open and honest about how the company is helping do its part to protect the environment and use sustainable products can help ease this conversation concerning climate change. Another positive outlook is for a company to partner with nonprofits that specialize in protecting and caring for the future of our planet. Regarding supply chain concerns, having solid supplier and manufacturer relationships makes all the difference to try and prevent that 'Out of Stock' sticker from being placed on the shelf. Constant communication is key."  

14 Trending Ingredients in Botanicals 

What are the top trending botanical ingredients? Our experts each offered a look at the top three on their lists, and they backed their selection up with science.

Wise: “Other than the obvious turmeric and ashwagandha, we have a few botanicals that we see as having immense opportunity for growth: Schizandra, Yerba Mate, and Holy Basil. We recently expanded our line to include some single herb liquid extracts. Each botanical has their own benefits, but all three really contribute to a person's overall well-being. Consumers want products that will enhance their life on a daily basis, whether it's for stress, energy, or cognitive support.”  A closer look at each:

  • Schizandra has been used in chinese medicine for hundreds of years and has been known to affect all systems of the body. Schisandra works to reduce stress throughout the body by modulating stress hormones such as adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol (Winston, 2007). Studies have shown that it can help improve focus, coordination, and endurance, reducing fatigue and increasing work quality (Romm, 2010).

  • Yerba Mate has been used as a tea for hundreds of years in South America for focus and energy. Studies reported that Yerba Mate promoted alertness and wakefulness, and enhanced cognitive performance. Additionally, it temporarily relieved fatigue and/or temporarily supported mental sharpness (Health Canada, 2019). 

  • Holy basil is another herb used for hundreds of years in Ayurvedic medicine. Tulsi is an immunomodulator, strengthening and balancing the immune system’s ability to respond to infection (Mondal et al., 2011). Tulsi also promotes longevity and resistance to stress (Winston & Maimes, 2007).

Lambert: “The top 3 single extracts: Milky Oat, Turmeric and Ashwagandha: 

  • Milky Oat It is made from aats harvested during their immature or “milky” stage. When squeezed the groat will emit a milky substance. This is a nervine and provides support for stress.  

  • Turmeric supports heathy liver function. Ours is made from the fresh whole rhizome.  

  • Ashwagandha is a calming adaptogen. We have been making it for decades, but it has recently received quite a bit of positive press.” 

Palumbo: “Indena continues to experience growth in ingredients featuring its Phytosome delivery technology along and those having a sustainability story. Phytosome botanicals with strong interest are Quercefit Quercetin Phytsome and Berbevis Berberine Phytosome. Enovita Grape Seed Extract and Mirtoselect Bilberry have compelling sustainability stories being produced from upcycled materials.” Discussing each in detail, Palumbo shares: 

  • Quercefit is a proprietary formulation based on Indena's Phytosome delivery system that improves quercetin's bioabsorption, increasing it up to 20 times when compared to unformulated quercetin. This contributes to the efficacy of Quercefit in health conditions linked to healthy aging, oxidative stress, inflammation and/or immune response as supported by human studies. 

  • Berbevis Berberine Phytosome was recently introduced and offers supplement manufacturers and consumers a natural ally for a healthy metabolism. Berbevis is an innovative berberine extract obtained from Berberis aristata with an optimized bioabsorption profile, thanks to its Phytosome delivery system.

  • Enovita Grape Seed Extract is a proprietary proanthocyanidin rich extract made exclusively with grape seeds from white wine production. Indena recently introduced an Enovita Organic version that is a 100%-organic extract. Enovita embodies the circular economy by using only grape seed waste biomass and permanently recycled water to create the standardized extract. Enovita offers heart health and circulation benefits supported by clinical studies.”

Balcombe: “Ashwagandha has been a top trending botanical ingredient and continues to do so with research continuing to be published. Ashwagandha has been known for its powerful stress support benefits and many other benefits as well. Recently, a unique liposomal ashwagandha called NooGandha has been introduced to the market that contains ultra-concentrations nootropic compounds that enhance cognitive performance. NooGandha has been shown in peer-reviewed published research, completed in the U.S., to improve cognitive flexibility, visual memory, reaction time, psychomotor speed and executive functioning, as well as having single-dose acute cognitive performance benefits when a stressor is added in the testing model. These results were in addition to the typical study results seen in the industry of reducing cortisol levels and reducing anxiety and stress. The future continues to look good for Ashwagandha as more and more is discovered about this powerhouse herb. 

“Elderberry  has always been a staple in the immune space but really took a leap forward when it broke into the mainstream during COVID. There is ongoing research that may show elderberry to have additional benefits other than immune support including healthy skin and anti-aging. It does need more extensive and better clinical research to sustain and build for the coming years and more advanced and innovative formulations are needed as well to continue driving its growth.   

“Berberine, a powerful alkaloid with its bright yellow color, is a ‘trending top three’ with its strong ability to lower blood sugar and positively impact cholesterol (total and LDL), triglycerides, and increase HDL-C. It has also been shown to have neuroprotective benefits and other mood-supportive benefits and, very importantly, has been shown to possibly have benefits in the healthy aging category—specifically, through increasing AMPK levels and activating other key pathways involved in the aging process. What’s always been especially interesting to me is that despite Berberine’s poor bioavailability, it is still quite effective. Even more interesting is that we can really boost Berberine’s bioavailability by putting it in a liposome. We saw an 8-fold increase in bioavailability enhancement when comparing our liposomal Berberine versus a USP reference standard of non-liposomal Berberine in a permeation Caco-2 model.” 

Kakuk: “While not necessarily new, these ingredients are known for their potent effects and have strong scientific evidence to support their benefits, with some also benefiting from improved bioavailability innovation:  Rhodiola rosea, also known as golden root, is an herb that has been used to support health for centuries and at Layn we are currently seeing growing interest in the ingredient. Rhodiola extract is derived from the root of the plant and contains the active compounds rosavins and salidrosides. Rhodiola has been shown to support healthy mood and stress response. (Panossian A, Wikman G. Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress—Protective Activity. Pharmaceuticals. 2010;3(1):188-224);  (Darbinyan V, Kteyan A, Panossian A, Gabrielian E, Wikman G, Wagner H. Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue--a double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR-5 with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty. Phytomedicine. 2000;7(5):365-71.)  Rhodiola extract is also excellent for sports nutrition applications, as the ingredient has been shown to support sustained energy as well as promoting faster recovery. (De Bock K, Eijnde BO, Ramaekers M, Hespel P. Acute Rhodiola rosea intake can improve endurance exercise performance. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2004;14(3):298-307)  

“Quercetin is a flavonoid compound found in various botanicals, including apples, red grapes and tea leaves, and.s a potent antioxidant that has been extensively studied for its health benefits. It has been shown to provide allergy benefits as well as support for joint health and healthy inflammation response. Layn Natural Ingredients offers bio+Quercitrin, a highly-bioavailable form of Isoquercitrin extracted from Sophora japonica, or Japanese Pagoda Tree. bio+Quercitrin is designed for use in supplements and sports nutrition applications as a potent antioxidant that provides support for joint health and healthy inflammation response, and is more absorbable, readily available for use within the body given high permeability in the small intestines due to its glycoside form.  

“Chlorogenic acid (CGA) is a type of polyphenol found in many botanicals including green coffee beans, blueberries, apples and artichokes. Research has shown that CGA may have several health benefits, including being a potent antioxidant and supporting healthy inflammation response. (Sato Y, Itagaki S, Kurokawa T, Ogura J, Kobayashi M, Hirano T, Sugawara M, Iseki K. In vitro and in vivo antioxidant properties of chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid. Int J Pharm. 2011;403(1-2):136-8.), (Farah A, Monteiro M, Donangelo CM, Lafay S. Chlorogenic acids from green coffee extract are highly bioavailable in humans. J Nutr. 2008;138(12):2309-15.) CGA has also been shown to support healthy blood sugar (Johnston KL, Clifford MN, Morgan LM. Coffee acutely modifies gastrointestinal hormone secretion and glucose tolerance in humans: glycemic effects of chlorogenic acid and caffeine. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;78(4):728-33.) Layn Natural Ingredients offers a natural, standardized extract of CGA sourced from Green Coffee Beans.”  

Brewster: “Citrus-derived ingredients such as vitamin C are widespread among consumers, but one area getting additional attention is citrus bioflavonoids due to recent scientific findings. Citrus bioflavonoids have been shown to have potent antioxidant properties, aid in immune health, and have an incredible ability to aid in heart health and healthy glucose management. Specifically, one randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed Sytrinol, a branded extract of citrus bioflavonoids, significantly reduced three markers of cardiovascular health in just four weeks with 300 mg/day, including a 27% reduction in cholesterol. Two additional studies demonstrated the potency of Eriomin, a patented and standardized extract from lemons, to reduce blood glucose by 5%, increase GLP-1 by 15%, and reduce insulin resistance by 7% (study 1). The second study investigated Eriomin with individuals with moderate to high levels of hyperglycemia and found that with 200mg/day, blood glucose was reduced by 5%, insulin resistance by -11%, and it naturally increased GLP-1 by 17% (study 2).   Most recently, a study was published with Eriomin in association with Metformin (a popular hyperglycemic medication) and demonstrated that the combination improved the composition and metabolism of the intestinal microbiota, suggesting a potential use in prediabetes therapy.” 

McNamara:  "Curcumin offers numerous health benefits due to its powerful antioxidant capacity and ability to aid in a healthy inflammatory response. Specifically, curcumin has been clinically validated to help with joint health, sports/exercise recovery, cognitive functionimmune health and beauty, and its popularity amongst consumers continues to increase. Grand View Research (GVR) reported that the global curcumin market size was valued at $65.36 million in 2021 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16.1% through 2028, bringing the forecast revenue to $191.89 million. GVR also reported that the curcumin market is primarily segmented into pharmaceutical, food, and cosmetic applications, with the cosmetic application segment estimated to have the most significant growth over their forecasted period. But despite curcumin’s many health benefits and tremendous growth, it’s not easily absorbed by the body, and consumers are more aware of this issue. To combat this, Pharmako Biotechnologies launched HydroCurc, a cold-water dispersible curcumin extract specifically designed to increase the bioavailability of curcuminoids. HydroCurc utilizes its patented, award-winning LipiSperse delivery system, which allows for improved efficacy and faster onset of action. It has been clinically shown to deliver significantly higher plasma curcuminoid concentrations than raw curcumin products. 

"Another trending botanical ingredient is saffron due to its ability to aid in mood and well-being. We’ve had increased interest in our branded saffron extract, Affron post-2020, and sales remain healthy. We believe this is due to its arsenal of clinical data and low dosage effectiveness. Affron is backed by eight published research studies with more than 740 participants, and these studies revealed that the proprietary ingredient can help with mood support in youth and in adults (study 1study 2)relieve stress, support relaxation, improve sleep quality (study 1, study 2, study 3) and aid in menopause.  

"One area we predict to have a growing interest in is liver health. There hasn’t been any real innovation in this area for nearly 70+ years, and our liver is a critical organ for our overall health and well-being. The American Liver Foundation reported that 1 in 4 Americans are at risk for fatty liver conditions, many of whom are unaware they have it. 4’Liver is a combination of two potent botanicals, chebulic myrobalan (Terminalia chebula) fruit extract and east Indian globe Thistle (Sphaeranthus indicus) flower head extract. It has been clinically validated to aid in liver health and function, antioxidant support, and lipid profile support."

Altaffer: “Instead of three botanicals, I would list three top trending categories botanicals can be effective in. The first is sleep/stress/anxiety, the second is cognitive health, and the third is gut health. All three are connected in many ways and synergies can be created with formulations. Part of the reason these three categories are so important is that if the botanical has an effect on those categories, the customer will have an experiential relationship to the product, meaning they will ‘feel’ the effect. This is very powerful in the supplement world as most of what we sell is ‘faith’ based, meaning we expect it to be good, but don’t really feel it. This is a great opportunity for botanical suppliers and formulators.”


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