Catering for ageing consumers is anything but old hat for the independent health store sector, writes Matt Chittock
Feeling good right now? You should be – you’re lucky enough to exist in an age where medical science means you’ll live longer than ever before.
For instance, in 2013 a dose of measles might mean a trip to hospital – but you’re unlikely to end up in the morgue.
Likewise, ever more effective and sophisticated medical interventions during labour means that death during childbirth is the rarity rather than the norm.
According to details from the Office of National Statistics, in 1910 the average male life expectancy was 51 (55 for women) while by 2001 that figure had already topped 75 (80 for women). And as the population gradually gets older more people expect to stay healthy longer into their lives – which can be a winner for independent health stores looking to offer a good senior health range.
“Numerous medical innovations and changing lifestyle habits mean that average life expectancy has risen dramatically throughout the developed world in the last four decades,” explains Andrew Thomas, managing director and founder of BetterYou Ltd. “Average life expectancy in the UK is now a record 78 for men and 82 for women. That’s compared to 68 for men and 75 for women in the 1970s.”
“But longer life does not necessarily mean more years of perfect health. As the population grows older, many will accumulate health problems requiring treatment and support.
These factors have combined to make Senior Health one of the fastest growing parts of the Health Store sector today.”
“There are a number of factors that mean the senior health market is hugely important for the growth of any health store,” adds Dave Gunning from Savant Distribution.
“The UK population continues to grow and this in large part is due to people living longer – stores should certainly think about how they communicate with their local 50+ market as this is most likely to be growing. “There is a greater awareness of the role diet plays in our health and beauty and stores have a unique role to play in raising awareness of preventative health regimes in their local areas.”
One of the main places an ageing population is likely to feel the pain is in the joints. Some 10 million people currently live with arthritis in the UK, according to Arthritis UK –and it’s also proof of the way that our joints can simply wear out over time.
“It’s a fact that as we age and become less mobile, we suffer more from general aches and pains,” says Phil Rasmussen, the medical herbalist behind the Kiwiherb Herb Remedies range.
“If you suffer from the stiff, aching joints of arthritis, whether osteoarthritis, the wear-and-tear version of the condition, or rheumatoid arthritis, you’ll also know first hand just how bad the pain can be, as well as the restriction the condition places on your mobility.”
There are plenty of tools in the herbal toolbox to help. Tumeric has been found to prevent joint inflammation and inhibit the inflammatory process associated with arthritis. “Nettle leaf, turmeric, celery and ginger have all been shown in research to contain significant anti-inflammatory compounds,” says Stephen Terrass from Terranova. “Glucosamine and chondroitin are widely researched for their remarkable regenerative effects on joints, but it can take weeks or even months for this to significantly influence symptoms,” he adds.
Magnesium is also key for joint health.
“Magnesium is an essential mineral which is rapidly reducing within our Westernised diet,” says Thomas.
“It is a mineral which benefits from a ‘little but often’ approach to supplementation. If taking magnesium via the traditional oral route it is best to take smaller doses more regularly as there is an inverse relationship between the amount we consume in one go and the amount our bodies can absorb. The larger the single dose the less is retained. This is where transdermal application wins hands down.”
Magnesium Chloride is the most absorbable form of all the magnesium compounds and when applied to the skin rapidly but steadily feeds the bloodstream and so all the cells within the body.
As we age heart disease can become more of a risk – especially for people with a poor diet, smokers, or those who lack regular exercise. Since prevention is better than cure many health experts recommend getting the most from heart healthy nutrients.
Says natural health expert Marilyn Glenville: “The most vital nutrients for heart health are the antioxidant vitamins A, C, E, zinc and selenium.”
She adds: “In one study patients who had arteriosclerosis [furring of the arteries] were either given Vitamin E or a placebo. Vitamin E reduced the risk of a heart attack by 75 per cent as it helps to prevent abnormal blood clotting.”
Glenville adds that Vitamin D is also important for maintaining good heart health. “It can inhibit substances that cause inflammation and also help to boost those that are anti-inflammatory. It has also been shown to lower C reactive protein – one of the markers of inflammation,” she explains.
Glenville says that, again, a good diet is an important way to ward off problems later on in life.
“Quite simply, the best thing you can do for your heart is to eat a healthy, balanced diet. It is especially important to increase your intake of oily fish, nuts, seeds and oils because they are good sources of EFAs which are known to prevent heart disease,” she says.
Retailers should also be aware that the antioxidant Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) can be very beneficial for good heart health.
It’s thought to support energy production within the body, and it’s well know that the body’s ability to produce its own CoQ10 diminishes with age.
CoQ10 is better absorbed when fats are present in the body, and some manufacturers, including Viridian, combine CoQ10 with Medium Chain Triglcerides (MCT).
MCT are a class of fatty acids with a slightly lower calorie content than other fats. They are also thought to be absorbed and burned as energy more quickly. The inclusion of MCT in CoQ10 supplements is likely to improve its absorption levels.
Eye health can be a concern for older consumers too.
Tim Gaunt from Natures Aid says that it’s a growing health store category because of the natural needs of our aging population.
“The over-50s are a key demographic for health stores,” he says. “In those people we’re seeing macular degeneration become increasingly prevalent. As well as prevention people need better eye-sight later into life, since lots of them drive and need good eyesight for the roads.”
“The over-50s are a key demographic for health stores,” he says. “In those people we’re seeing macular degeneration become increasingly prevalent. As well as prevention people need better eye-sight later into life, since lots of them drive and need good eyesight for the roads” – Tim Gaunt, Natures Aid
Gaunt says that Nature’s Aid’s key product for this market is its Lutein Eye Complex with Bilberry.
“We tweaked the formula a couple of years ago, he says. “The original formulation used 6mg of lutein and we boosted it to 10mg. At the same time we felt we should add Alpha Lipoic Acid– which is vital as an antioxidant. It really seems to resonate with people, and we’ve seen an uplift in sales.”
Solgar has also created a formula with eyes in mind – Bilberry Ginkgo Eyebright Complex. This proprietary, antioxidant-rich formula supplies important vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, the vital carotenoid Lutein, and herbal extracts to help improve circulation and decrease free radical damage to bodily tissue, including the eyes and skin.*
Essential Fatty Acids are a health store phenomenon that cuts across all categories. And it’s no surprise that they can be excellent for addressing many of the issues associated with old age. “Essential Fatty Acids are required by every cell in our body, including the heart, brain and joints to ensure they operate at their best,” says Gunning.
“Omega 3 also helps to support the body’s anti-inflammatory responses. Most of us lack a sufficient intake of Essential Fatty Acids that are undamaged by heat or processing so Udo’s Choice Ultimate Oil Blend can help boost our intake of Essential Fatty Acids Omega 3 and 6 and the fatty acids Omega 9 by simply adding it to our foods.”
Gunning adds that consumer interest all all things omega 3 is at an all time hight thanks to all the media interest in the category, fulelled by solid good-news research into this key natural health area.
The benefits of B12
Thomas says that Vitamin B12 is an essential part of any store’s approach to senior health. “A cause and effect relationship has been established between the dietary intake of vitamin B12 and contribution to normal neurological and psychological functions,” says Thomas. “Scientific evidence also links B12 in the role of mental performance, for aspects of brain and nerve functions determining concentration, learning, memory and reasoning.” He relates a recent research from Cardiff University that claimed sublingual B12 is more effective than capsules in making sure the body gets the amount it needs. “Just one spray of B12 Boost is enough for adults to get their recommended daily intake of B12 in less than 10 minutes, with ten times the amount absorbed within one hour, Cardiff University scientists found,” says Thomas. “The results are significant because, as only one per cent of B12 is retained from diet alone, they show for the first time how quickly vitamin B12 is absorbed by the body via the rich system of veins within the mouth, particularly the inner cheek and under the tongue.”
An anti-ageing diet
Nutritionist Yvonne Bishop-Weston says that eating the right foods can be a fantastic way to ward off some of the problems associated with old age. “Ensure you have eight portions of veg and fruit a day,” she says. “Focus more on the veg as they are lower in sugar and include as much variety as possible. Have green leafy veg daily which are good mineral providers and important for bone health and the orange, red and purple ones for vitamins and antioxidants to help protect cells from daily damage.” Although many consumers believe that eating calcium-rich foods is good news for bone health, Bishop-Weston believes taking a different dietary direction is far more effective. “It is easy to fall into the dairy trap, thinking this is an ideal source of calcium to keep bones strong,” she says. “However, it is difficult for humans to digest and doesn’t come along with the synergist minerals we need to get it into the bones where we need it. High dairy calcium intakes may therefore lead to calcium dumping in the soft tissues, which can contribute to joint problems.”
Key combination Glucosamine combined with MSM has always been a key supplemental approach to joint health for older consumers. Viridian’s version offers an ethically sourced vegan alternative to more mainstream products. Higher intelligence Higher Nature’s Advanced Brian Nutrients offer essential vitamins, phospholipids and amino acids designed to maximize cognitive function – including healthy concentration, memory and learning. Solgar’s Omega Advanced Blend 2:1:1 Liquid offers all the natural advantages of omega essential fatty acids – plus a pleasing lemon flavor to help it go down effectively. Memory booster BioCare’s ReCall® contains a blend of nutrients which assist in the maintenance of healthy cognition and mood, including vitamins B6, B12 & C with folic acid, zinc & pantothenic acid (vitamin B5). Instant vitamin D Developed by healthcare pioneer Jan de Vries, this handbag-sized applicator offers a healthy hit of vitamin D with a refreshing peppermint flavor.
Senior Health Listings
BetterYou Magnesium Oil Spray range contains a concentrated solution of the purest magnesium chloride known. Our unique source is found one mile below ground and has been condensed, purified and protected from man-made pollutants for more than 250 million years. With a transdermal application Magnesium Oil has been proven to deliver this essential mineral up to 5 times faster than oral means. Magnesium helps speed up natural recovery from fatigue and injury. It’s also essential for normalised muscle function, energy production and the body’s ability to detox. Over 800 sprays per bottle.
Healthy, Youthful Glow… Argan Oil is rich in eight essential fatty acids, carotenoids, anti- oxidants, sterols, saponins and polyphones. It also contains very high levels of Vitamins C and E, essential for the skin. Argan Glow oil work wonders by helping to maintain body’s radiance, restoring the skin’s lipid layer and thereby improving the skin’s health and beauty. HealthAid Argan Glow Oil is organic, non-greasy, combined with aromatic Ylang Ylang, which is highly beneficial to lessen the tension and stress of modern lifestyle. Argan Glow retails at £19.99 for 60ml oil. Contact HealthAid Ltd on 020 8426 3400 for purchase and stockist information or visit www.healthaid.co.uk
As you get older your bowels can become more sluggish, thought to be associated with the lack of sufficient fibre in the diet and in some cases lack of exercise Lepicol is a multi-fibre source product containing gentle psyllium husk which contributes to maintaining normal bowel transit, as well as inulin which is a prebiotic fibre source. Together, these two ingredients can help ensure your recommended daily intake of fibre. The third key ingredient of Lepicol is 5 probiotic strains that are naturally present in a healthy person’s digestive system. Taking Lepicol on a daily basis can contribute to the maintenance of normal bowel transit.
Best-seller, 65+ Multi Veg Caps from Viridian Nutrition is a vitamin and mineral supplement with added digestive factors, specifically formulated for those aged over 65 who often experience digestive issues and may also be taking prescription medications. The formula has been cross-checked against the most heavily prescribed medications and can be recommended with confidence. Founded in 1999 on the principles of purity, environment and charity, the 180-strong award-winning range of supplements from Viridian Nutrition is supported by experienced sales, marketing and technical knowledge. Viridian Nutrition is dedicated to the future development and security of the specialist health food store.
Older people need to pay special attention to maintaining their health and vitality. Ayurveda explains that this food supplement helps meet the nutritional requirements of older people’s nervous systems. The herbs it contains are said to have balancing effect on: prana (creativity, perception, consciousness, and self-actualisation); tarpaka (stable personality); sadhaka (feeling of inner satisfaction) The herbs in this formula are combined in precise proportions and prepared in the traditional Ayurvedic way. This improves the bioavailability of vital nutrients. It also creates synergy — the collective benefit is much greater than that of isolated, individual herbs.
Nature’s Answer Platinum Liquid Glucosamine Chondroitin with MSM
Nature’s Answer Glucosamine Chondroitin with MSM formula combines Glucosamine with other substances important for the resiliency and maintenance of healthy cartilage, such as Chondroitin, MSM and other joint friendly nutrients. Quik-Sorb® is an exclusive blend of herbs known to enhance delivery of nutrients to the body. Glucosamine is produced by the body and distributed in cartilage and connective tissue. Chondroitin sulfate helps cartilage retain water. Clinical studies of glucosamine have demonstrated it is an effective treatment for helping with symptoms linked to joint and muscle pain. Glucosamine also increases the formation of lubrication materials inside the joints and slows the activity of enzymes that cause joint destruction as well as aiding joint repair.