(Note: Sea Vegetation contains all of the minerals and trace minerals from nature?)
Exploring the trends and issues in the mineral fortification and supplement market.
By Marian Zboraj
According to The Natural Marketing Institute?s (NMI) 2005 Health &
Wellness Trends Database, 60% of the general population/primary grocery
shoppers used minerals in the past year indicating that they are
maintaining their position in the marketplace. Besides the new research
that comes out everyday on the importance of minerals, consumers have also
become aware that today?s food supply is more mineral deficient than ever
before?requiring them to supplement their minerals to make up for the
difference they are missing in their diet.
?Over the last 20 years, the yields of many of our staple crops have
nearly doubled,? said Stuart Reeves, PhD, director of research and
development, Embria Health Sciences, Cedar Rapids, IA. ?We?re literally
producing twice the amount of produce from the same soil and basically
adding nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous, carbon dioxide from the air
and very little else. So the minerals that come from the soil are becoming
diluted due to the greater amount we?re producing and, in turn, producing
a smaller amount of minerals in food.?
This dilemma has led experts to consider updating the recommended mineral
intake levels. While experts are looking to improve the population?s
mineral consumption, companies are trying to improve the formulation
process to help deliver the most effective and appealing mineral products
A major trend in the minerals market is the increasing popularity of
fortified beverages and foods, but companies must overcome many
manufacturing challenges when working with minerals. Unlike supplement
formulation, mineral fortification products place a greater importance on
visual appearance and taste.
?Minerals, after all, are metals and metals just taste bad,? said S.L.
Wright, IV, president/CEO, The Wright Group, Crowley, LA. ?They also tend
to react with vitamins and other nutrients, especially in the presence of
heat and moisture. There are serious bioavailability, solubility and
tolerability issues to be addressed and sometimes addressing one set of
concerns exacerbates another set. A formulator must take all these
technical and nutritional factors into account in order to develop the
most efficacious product possible.?
Ram Chaudhari, senior executive vice president, CSO & co-founder,
Fortitech, Inc., Schenectady, NY, said that because there is an inverse
relationship between bioavailability and functionality of a specific
mineral, factors that are responsible for increasing solubility of a
mineral salt will actually increase its reactivity or interactions. ?In
fact, the same solubilization will increase the potential for
bioavailability,? he said. ?Depending on the type of product, one can
select functional food ingredients where you can make use of synergistic
properties and improve the nutritional benefit.
?Each functional ingredient has its own chemical/physical/functional
properties,? continued Mr. Chaudhari. ?Depending on the finished product,
the composition formulators and/or food scientists have to develop a
protocol consisting of selected nutrients with defined nutritional/health
benefits and scale-up the process where particle size, taste, texture and
overall sensory acceptance parameters are finalized. For instance, if a
product is designed for eye health, the choice of the functional food
ingredients and its physiochemical properties would have an impact on the
delivery system and other properties.?
Some technologies used to overcome some of the challenges posed by mineral
fortification include microencapsulation, taste-masking, stabilization
with other carriers (hydrolyzed proteins, polysaccharides), chelation,
micropulverization and lyposome applications.
?Microencapsulation protects nutrients from hostile reactions, prevents
organoleptic issues, increases shelf-life and will reduce the overages
normally built in to assure meeting of label claims,? said Bill Murphy,
director, Premix Business Unit, LycoRed Corp., Orange, NJ. ?One obvious
result is tastier, healthier foods.?
Joseph O?Neill, vice president of marketing, Orafti Active Food
Ingredients, Malvern, PA, said to counteract unpleasant taste, appearance
and/or texture, formulators try to combine flavoring, stabilizers and
other ingredients with minerals to neutralize these negative effects.
Mineral chelates are also growing in popularity. ?Chelated minerals claim
to be more bioavailable or easier for the body to absorb,? said Emilio
Gutierrez, vice president of east coast operations, BI Nutraceuticals,
Long Beach, CA. ?These ingredients provide a good basis of differentiation
from the everyday products but sometimes pose new challenges. Typically,
they are more soluble than traditional mineral salts but they also contain
a lower percentage of active mineral and are generally much more expensive
on an activity basis.?
Premixes can serve as a solution for distributing minerals uniformly
throughout a product. ?A quality premix assures the required consistency
and uniformity,? said Mr. Murphy. ?Maximum bioavailability of premix
minerals is obtained by careful consideration of all the physical
properties of each individual constituent. Then, the cross-effect of the
ingredients to be blended is considered as well to assure a high quality
outcome in the finished product, using a cost effective process.
?When formulating a mineral blend for fortification of a food, you must
consider the complex macronutrient matrix of the food itself,? continued
Mr. Murphy. ?As each food presents its own unique macronutrient matrix,
the formulator is faced with a unique formulation challenge, almost each
and every time. This is not the case for dietary supplements which are
typically contained within their own environment.?
When working with beverages, Watson Inc., West Haven, CT, will typically
incorporate the macro minerals as micronized versions when possible. ?This
enables a better dispersion of the less soluble minerals,? said Alice
Wilkinson, director of product development, Nutritional Ingredient
Division, Watson Inc. ?Typically the less soluble sources are preferred as
they can carry counter ions that meet other label claims and being less
soluble creates fewer issues with regard to changes in taste, color and
Barbara Heidolph, market development manager, Food, ICL Performance
Products LP, St. Louis, MO, also explains that solubility is an issue for
those looking for clear solutions. ?If you don?t get it solubilized,
sedimentation occurs,? said Ms. Heidolph. ?ICL has proprietary knowledge
that can help a customer obtain a stable soluble calcium across a variety
of pH levels.?
The Supplement Side
Many consumers choose mineral supplementation due to an ?active? product
perception. According to Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ), U.S. sales of
mineral supplements in 2004 were $1.7 billion, rising in 2005 to $1.8
billion, with growth likely continuing over the next several years. ?A
good percentage of mineral ingredients sales seem to be driven by the
formulations of large name-brand vitamin products,? said BI?s Mr.
Gutierrez. ?There are many ?me too? generic equivalents out in the market
that try to simulate the well known brands. When the large brands
reformulate their products, the generic equivalents also follow with the
same changes. Knowing this, we try to supply mineral ingredients in a form
that is ideal for these applications. We sell a lot of mineral triturates
that are dispersed or granulated in highly compressible fast-flowing
excipients that are ideal for tablet manufacturing.?
Watson?s Ms. Wilkinson pointed out that triturated products are used to
improve homogeneity. ?The largest issue with trace minerals is
homogeneity,? said Ms. Wilkinson. ?If you consider that the recommended
use rates for all of these nutrients are measured in micrograms, it
becomes a challenge to get that small amount blended across a typical
batch so that a label claim can be guaranteed.
Ms. Wilkinson also said macro minerals take up a lot of space in a
formulation, causing a product to become dry/pasty, and will mute flavors.
She advises people to choose non-reactive sources if possible (i.e.,
dimagnesium phosphate over magnesium oxide). ?If a reactive source is
chosen, we would use an encapsulated form if the processing conditions
allow for it.?
When formulating with iron, which is present in two ionic forms?ferrous
and ferric iron?the ?European Mineral Fortification and Supplement Market?
report from Frost & Sullivan claims ferrous sulfate is much better
absorbed than ferric iron. According to the report, ?The most common form
used in iron supplements is ferrous sulfate. However, ferrous sulfate
consumption has been associated with certain side effects such as
constipation, nausea and bloating. Some forms of ferrous sulfate are
enteric coated to delay tablet dissolving and prevent some of the side
effects, but enteric coated iron may not absorb as well as iron from
standard supplements. Other forms of iron supplements, such as ferrous
fumarate, ferrous gluconate, haem iron concentrate and iron glycine amino
acid chelate are readily absorbed and less likely to cause side effects.?
Formulators also have to take into account that some forms of minerals and
trace elements can be toxic if taken in the wrong form or potency.
Calcium continues to dominate the mineral market with U.S. sales of just
over $1 billion, according to NBJ. A recent long-term study has provided
concrete evidence that increased calcium absorption actually translates
into tangible improvements in bone health. The human intervention study
conducted at the Children?s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor University
measured 100 adolescents who were given either 8 grams of Orafti?s Beneo
Synergy1, a unique composition of oligofructose and inulin derived from
the chicory root, or an equivalent amount of placebo every day for a year.
?Calcium absorption and bone mineral density were far higher in those who
consumed Beneo Synergy1,? said Orafti?s Mr. O?Neill. ?After one year, the
increase in bone mineral density among the Beneo Synergy1 group was 45%
higher compared to the controls. The researchers also measured bone
mineral content and found that in the Beneo Synergy1 group the bone
calcium accretion increased by an extra 30 mg per day, proof that extra
calcium was actually deposited in the bones.?
According to Ashley Wike, market development specialist, Purac America,
Inc., Lincolnshire, IL, the latest consumer trends suggest an increasing
interest in the bioavailability of different mineral sources. To
demonstrate this movement, Purac commissioned a study conducted by The
Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), Harleysville, PA, to evaluate
consumers? attitudes, behavior and usage patterns of mineral fortified
beverages. ?The research study indicated that 59% of consumers are
interested in learning more about how calcium is absorbed in the body, and
53% indicated they would try a beverage with a more bioavailable calcium
source,? said Ms. Wike. ?Consumers are also becoming more knowledgeable
and aware that there are insoluble sources of calcium on the market, and
that they may not be getting the intended levels they are seeking.?
Three other popular minerals are chromium, magnesium and zinc, which
brought in $125 million, $202 million and $79 million, in U.S. sales in
2005, respectively, according to NBJ.
?Undoubtedly, one of the ?hottest? minerals to grab attention over the
last decade has been chromium, an essential trace mineral required for
normal insulin function,? said Massood Moshrefi, PhD, vice president of
operations and technical services, InterHealth Nutraceuticals, Inc.,
Benicia, CA. ?The diabetes epidemic and associated metabolic syndrome have
further increased interest and attention.?
Max Motyka, director human products division, Albion Advanced Nutrition,
St. Clair Shores, MI, agreed. ?The trend in mineral supplementation is
reflective of the growing problem in the health of Americans. This
includes metabolic syndrome X, which involves insulin resistance leading
to type II diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and atherosclerosis,?
said Mr. Motyka. ?Chromium is of importance to this syndrome, but the
research trend is showing that magnesium and zinc are probably even more
crucial to this problem.?
Experiencing 15% growth in sales from 2004 to 2005, magnesium usage is
also rising due to its association with the prevention of cardiovascular
disease. ?Health organizations are considering recommendations to fortify
with magnesium in order to prevent deaths related to heart attacks,? said
ICL?s Ms. Heidolph.
The scientific community is also more conscious of the relevance of
selenium and so is the consumer. NBJ reports that selenium experienced 8%
growth from 2004 to 2005, going from $62 million in sales to $68 million
in sales. A major reason for this growth has to do with selenium?s role in
the prevention of prostate cancer.
Sabinsa Corp., Payson, UT, continues to provide its selenium product,
SeleniumSelect, for the ongoing SELECT trial (Selenium and Vitamin E
Cancer Prevention Trial). ?This is a 12-year prospective study in the
prevention of prostate cancer conducted under the auspices of the National
Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH),? said
Dr. Vladimir Badmaev, vice president of scientific and medical affairs,
Sabinsa. ?This study was put together based on previous studies suggesting
that selenium and vitamin E may reduce the risk of developing prostate
cancer by 60% and 30%, respectively, but only a large clinical trial such
as SELECT can confirm those initial findings.? SELECT closed enrollment in
June 2004 with 35,534 men over 50 years old from North America.
Another trial still underway is called PREADVISE (Prevention of
Alzheimer?s Disease by Vitamin E and Selenium), an important addition to
the SELECT trial. According to Dr. Badmaev, the purpose of PREADVISE is to
determine if taking selenium and/or vitamin E supplements can prevent
Alzheimer?s disease and other less common forms of dementia. More than
10,000 of the more than 35,000 men in SELECT are taking part in the
But selenium?s role in health goes beyond cancer prevention, according to
Embria?s Dr. Reeves. ?There is also an increasing awareness that selenium
status can have an important effect on the progression on viral
infections,? he said. ?Scientific literature shows that people with low
selenium status who are HIV positive progress to full blown AIDS more
quickly than people with an adequate selenium status?an aspect of viral
There are many areas in the world where soil is selenium deficient and
supplementing food can be approached as a public health exercise. ?One
example is in Finland where the soil is very deficient in selenium and the
average selenium intake is way below what it should be,? said Dr. Reeves.
?Finland dealt with this by fortifying fertilizer with selenium. That?s a
long way to the food chain, but it is a way of getting a better mineral
balance in the population.?
Dr. Chris Meletis, research science officer, Trace Minerals, Ogden, UT,
predicts the next ?hot? mineral to gain recognition for its therapeutic
benefits will be strontium, which is best known for its positive effects
in bone health.
?Many trace, colloidal, and ionic minerals and electrolytes were, in the
past, considered to be inessential to human health,? LycoRed?s Mr. Murphy
pointed out. ?Today, scientists are presenting a very different picture
and consequently, many more of these trace minerals are being reclassified
as beneficial or essential to good health.?
?But selenium and chromium continue to grow the most aggressively when it
comes to solid and progressive scientific and clinical evidence,? said Dr.
Meletis. ?It is all about the science. The only minerals and nutrients
that will sustain their position in the marketplace and in the realm of
true tools to support health are those that have strong roots in medical
In the coming years, Mr. Wright expects more sophisticated, value-added
delivery forms to arise, including more use of amino acid chelates. ?These
products are the most biologically compatible forms available and really
mimic how the body absorbs minerals from the food supply,? he said. ?There
will also be more attention paid to trace elements such as boron, silicon,
vanadium, germanium and molybdenum, as companies try to develop unique
positionings around specific minerals.?
LycoRed?s Mr. Murphy offered a similar perspective. ?In general, more
minerals will be used in synergistic ratios and combinations that allow
for optimal absorption,? he commented. ?Concerns for bioavailability and
optimization of absorption efficiency will lead to more controlled-release
Industry experts are all in agreement that the food and beverage area in
particular will continue to grow worldwide. ?At one time, fortification
was seen as a means to prevent nutrient deficiencies,? said Mr. Murphy.
?In 2006, we are way beyond that point. Today, consumers are not satisfied
with simply preventing deficiencies and deficiency related disease, they
are demanding optimum health. Food manufacturers are responding with a
wide array of fortified foods and beverages.?
As more peer-reviewed science reveals the true functionality of certain
ingredients, many believe more companies will petition the FDA for allowed
health claims. ?But even if companies are not be able to make a claim,
there is recognition that more consumers are reading nutrition labels and
making purchasing decisions based upon what they see,? said ICL?s Ms.