Although the World Health Organization declared that the COVID-19 pandemic had ended in May 2023, there are numerous health trends that evolved whilst the virus affected our lives and have had lingering impacts on the nutraceutical industry. Atsushi Sugimoto from Mitsubishi Gas Chemical reports
The growing focus on healthy ageing, for example, has created a proactive consumer who now seeks out natural, clean label supplements that support cognitive function and boost both physical performance and immune health.
The proactive health and wellness movement has become a much-discussed topic as it continues to gain popularity.
At this year’s Vitafoods Europe, Mike Hughes, Head of Research and Insight at FMCG Gurus, presented on how the pandemic has “fundamentally shaped” consumer thinking about health; based on the company’s research, 63% classify themselves as proactive health consumers.1
However, as more people gravitate towards supplements to support their lifestyles, it can be tricky to navigate store aisles and supermarket shelves where each and every product claim to address a variety of health concerns.
With so many products on the market, manufacturers need to select ingredients that are backed by clinical studies and research. In fact, another study from FMCG Gurus indicated that 41% of global consumers find scientific evidence on packaging to support health claims important.2
Therefore, it is imperative that only ingredients endorsed by a regulatory seal of approval are included in supplements. This way, consumers can be confident that the clean labelled products they are ingesting are validated and safe.
One nutraceutical ingredient that has been backed by countless clinical studies and received various regulatory approvals is MGCPQQ — a natural source of pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) created by Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co., Inc. in Japan.
PQQ is a naturally occurring antioxidant that’s found in trace amounts in foods including kiwi fruits, oranges and tofu. Research suggests that the daily inclusion of a PQQ compound can help to preserve and improve cognitive function, support heart health and increase levels of mitochondria.
Often nicknamed the powerhouses of the cell, mitochondria are responsible for regulating cognitive function, memory, energy and mood.
Properly functioning mitochondria are crucial for cell longevity and minimising age-related diseases.
Other supplement ingredients such as resveratrol and NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide) are known to enhance mitochondrial function, but data has consistently demonstrated that MGCPQQ is 10–1000 times more effective than these ingredients.
MGCPQQ is produced using a proprietary (patented) fermentation process that does not include chemical synthesis and complies with the highest purity standards; in addition, each batch is tested up to food-grade standards.
As of now, MGCPQQ remains the only PQQ ingredient listed on the European Union’s list of Novel Foods Ingredients, attesting to its safety and quality.
To obtain this approval, MGC underwent a rigorous application process that includes matching guidelines outlined by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and submitting scientific data that demonstrates the ingredient’s safety for human health.
Although there are synthetic and other naturally made PQQs outside the European market, MGCPQQ is the only one of its kind that’s available and marketable in EU, EEA, Switzerland and UK as a Novel Food ingredient.
MGCPQQ is also the only PQQ that has been certified in Informed Ingredients (formally called Informed Sport and Informed Choice) quality assurance programmes, which tests each batch for substances banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency to ensure quality.
Additionally, MGCPQQ is marketed under the brand name BioPQQ in the US, Canada and Japan, where it is also the only ingredient of its kind that holds a New Dietary Ingredient from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Safe and well-established, this mitochondria-enhancing ingredient is the most researched and tested compound of its kind on the market.
Consumers have come to realise that healthy ageing goes beyond being well at a certain age and extends to maintaining a state of overall well-being throughout an entire lifetime.
Now, instead of delaying the ageing process, consumers of all generations are searching for functional, clean label supplements that provide holistic health benefits.
Yet, as nutraceuticals become more mainstream, it is important that people are provided with products that contain ingredients that have been thoroughly vetted and researched.
Without well-documented clinical studies, brand manufacturers cannot guarantee the level of safety and effectiveness that customers expect and demand.