70% of the American diet consists of processed food
Minerals are on an upswing—and have been for the past 20 years, according to Malcolm Macdonald, Founder of OmniBlue Ocean Minerals. “Minerals in general have achieved a prominence in the marketplaces specifically in the last 20 years, due to an increase in public awareness relative to their role in human physiology and notably the population tends towards more processed and less micronutrient-rich nutrition. The U.S. population has consistently declined its nutritional density (micronutrients/1,000kcal) in the past decades, as well as many other regions of the western world. This is attributed to the elevated consumption of processed food, which, according to recent studies, accounts for about 70% of the American diet. When we remove the bran from the grain, with it we lose most of the minerals that the food could have offered us. For these reasons, we have a great need for a variety of minerals.”
Simply put: “We are an overfed and undernourished society in most of the United States,” says Chris Meletis, N.D., Director of Clinical Education for Trace Minerals. “Even the medical literature speaks clearly to how farming practices, over-cultivation of farmlands, and the failure to replace a full array of minerals in the soil all contribute to the problem. Today’s soil is depleted of minerals, and therefore the crops and vegetables grown in that soil are not as mineral-rich as they used to be. Approximately half of the U.S. population consumes less than the required amount of magnesium. Even those who strive for better nutrition through whole foods can fall short, due to magnesium removal during food processing.”
Data suggests that Americans are aware of the problem, and are seeking out minerals. Audrey Ross, Head Educator, Country Life Vitamins, cites SPINScan Total US Natural + MULO Channel data taken over the 52 weeks ending 5/21/2023 for the following market information:
• Gummies are continuing to gain traction (+9% in L52, MULO + Natural Channel), but new delivery systems like RTD liquids and soft chews have seen triple-digit growth versus the previous year.
• Minerals focused on bone health have grown 30% versus the previous year, with the majority of those items being magnesium products.
• Mineral products focusing on mood support, cognitive health, and sleep have also grown.
Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic is still impacting the market, according to Macdonald. “Most consumers now, in comparison to pre-COVID, are looking for clear answers and solutions. COVID has affected the world in a multitude of ways; however it is clear the public perspective and awareness on individual health has increased substantially. In this current post-COVID cultural landscape, consumers ask themselves very pertinent questions: How am I to practice preventive health? How can I boost my immune system? Should worldwide health issues rise again, how can I prepare? Their decisions now are based upon naturally sourced food and supplements products having more confidence with formulas in their more natural states. In a time where consumers are in need of simple, natural, and effective solutions, we complete all three. We have experienced huge and positive responses regularly with the consumption of our products. Our estimation is that the more that supplement companies and natural nutrition can emulate real nature and deliver assets and benefits directly from nature, the happier and healthier and more trusting the consumer.”
What consumers need—and want—now
Balance and absorption. Variety is one way to increase bioabsorption, says Macdonald. “General markets have responded to the scarcity of nutrient-rich foods with a proliferation of largely mined and/or industrially obtained, mono-element mineral or few-mineral compounds. When a person ingests mono-element compounds, or one with relatively few minerals, its effectiveness is limited because we don’t metabolize one mineral at a time in our bodies. Critically, there are enzymatic complexes that require a multitude of various minerals in different quantities. When a person doesn’t ingest all of the minerals required at the same time, that single element becomes the limiting micronutrient in the chain of reactions. How is this consequential? In some cases, the body will draw from reserves to fulfill the necessary amount of minerals for the reactions. The end result is essentially demineralizing the body’s reserves via ingesting mono element supplements, quite an ineffective ‘remineralization.’”
OmniBlue’s answer to this is multi-mineral supplements. “In order to solve this dilemma and provide real and effective solutions, our product contains more than 70 minerals in various concentrations to optimally fulfill a person’s mineral necessities,” Macdonald says. “As an all-natural mineral ocean-derived complex, and closely aligning with similar quantities and proportions found naturally in the body, we are able to abundantly provide significant fulfillment of vital metabolic and energy productions. We stand as not only the most unique mineral product in the markets, but also one that efficiently solves the massive deficiency problems in our populations by providing abundant natural minerals optimizing the essential absorption and energy conversion of our foods.”
Country Life solves the absorption issue with chelation. “What many people don’t know is that minerals are better utilized when they are chelated,” Ross explains. “Chelated means simply the mineral has been bound to a substance, usually to an amino acid, to help with absorption and utilization of the mineral in the body. Country Life is proud to offer our unique Target-Mins line of products. These products are formulated using multiple carriers (chelates) to support better utilization of the minerals. Also, our calcium formulations contain the 2:1:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium and phosphorus to provide proper utilization of these minerals to support bone health.”
Certifications. “Always look for a high-quality brand that is known for its integrity, cleanliness of products, and certifications like being a B-Corp company, GFCO Gluten-Free, non-GMO, et cetera,” Ross recommends. “Country Life is a brand that excels in producing high-quality supplements, and has multiple certifications that are strictly adhered to.”
Delivery Systems. As with everything in the supplement world, pill fatigue is an issue. “Even the most motivated patient will face compliance issues, and pill fatigue is very real for the diehard supplement-taking individual,” Dr. Meletis tells WholeFoods. “The number of adult patients reporting ‘I just can’t take another pill’ exceeds 50%. Often these same patients inquire if they can take a powdered drink that they can add to their water, or if there is a gummy. Thanks to advances in natural flavoring and sweeteners, powdered mineral beverages are a very reasonable consideration, and quite popular in the functional medicine-motivated patient community.”
Cleaner Label. This is partially a matter of sourcing, and partially a matter of consumers being able to understand what they’re buying, Macdonald explains. “The source of a supplement would have to be a major qualifying benchmark for successful entry into retail markets. The demands that dominate the consumer point of view now are: less commercially produced food products, less processed foods, and more natural origins. Quality and nutrition are significant now in the consumers' eye. The more naturally derived the product, the more inherent nutrients it will have, and the less potential harm from over-manufactured products and additives. As with commercial mineral supplements, most are either mined or subject to dozens if not hundreds of chemical processes to arrive at the specific product. Importantly, if consumers contemporarily cannot understand the label and/or the ingredients, they are leery not only because of the confusion that presents but more clearly than ever now they are aware that true natural products can provide usable nutrients free from additives and chemicals. The perception is that the simpler the real ingredient source, the more natural the product and cleaner the label. People are demanding real ingredients because they feel that they deserve the access and option to nature’s bounty directly.”
Sustainability. “Consumers these days are especially aware of protecting our environment, maintaining sustainability, and consuming products naturally farmed and produced—very much back to nature on a large scale and not simply a movement,” Macdonald shares. “Our minerals are unique in this regard. We leave literally no carbon
footprint because of our natural 100% solar process and harvest. We strongly advocate preserving the integrity of our oceans as in the sanctuary areas of the Barrier Reef, and as well resourcing reliable charitable organizations that are devoted to keeping our oceans at large clear and sustainable. We all share one planet and it is an extraordinary one. We are committed to the viable delivery to populations of nature’s natural nourishments.”
Quality Assurance. Country Life tests everything, with the certifications to back it up. “All raw materials are tested to make sure they are free from contamination before ever being used in a product,” Ross says. “All finished goods are also tested to make sure the levels of nutrients found in the finished product match the Supplement Facts labels.”
Like all reputable companies, OmniBlue also makes testing a core part of its business, Macdonald says: “We test our minerals not only immediately upon the completion of each harvest, but subsequently following with two independent lab tests before and after filling assuring quality and safety. We have been producing our minerals for over 30 years with consistent and completely clear testing results every time, a testimony to the nature of our source.”
The Final Word
These days, it’s about staying on top of one’s health, Dr. Meletis maintains. “Consumers are becoming educated and more highly motivated,” he says. “The COVID Era series of events showed that taking charge of one’s health is empowering. As I share with my patients, there are two sides to medicine: ‘Pro-Active’ (the active process of taking action) versus ‘Re-Active’ (the active process of waiting until something happens).”
Thinking about minerals in the same way most people think about multivitamins—as a daily wellness habit—can help customers stay proactive about maintaining their wellbeing for a healthier, happier future. WF