Healthy bones and joints affect adolescent development, overall wellness for all ages, and the ability to stay active with aging. Conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis are associated with weak bones and joints; maintaining bone and joint health lessens joint pain, supports exercise/activity recovery, and reduces risk of bone fractures.
Calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium are well-known bone health nutrients. Calcium helps build and maintain bones while vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. Magnesium aids in proper calcium and vitamin D regulation. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate have been popular joint health supplements. Both are structural components of cartilage, have anti-inflammatory properties, and are thought to help slow cartilage deterioration and reduce pain in the joints.
As consumers become more in tune with their health and diets, more ingredients are entering the mobility market.
Collagen peptides are popular in the beauty foods market as well as for joint health. And while collagen peptides are appearing in an increasing number of foods and beverages, a recent analysis indicated that there is still opportunity for more growth. Conducted by Frost & Sullivan and commissioned by PB Leiner, the analysis, Is Collagen Here to Stay?, indicated that the market for collagen peptides is growing at about 8% per year (CAGR, 2020–2024). Frost & Sullivan expects momentum to accelerate and climb to reach new heights (PB Leiner 2021). The report said that, based on the developmental path followed by more mature health ingredients such as probiotics and omega-3s, collagen peptides are still in the very early stages of their product life cycle.
PB Leiner is the supplier of SOLUGEL collagen peptides. Recently, another study commissioned by the company and carried out at Florida State University indicated that consuming SOLUGEL can bring about reductions in pain and discomfort in physically active middle-aged people (PB Leiner 2021). Those consuming 10 g per day of SOLUGEL collagen peptides saw a 36% improvement, according to the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score, indicating significant reductions in pain and improvement in knee functionality. The study was presented at the 18th International Sports Nutrition Society Meeting and is due to be published later in 2021.
Another collagen peptide ingredient, GELITA’s FORTIGEL, was also recently used in a study with young, healthy men and women experiencing knee joint pain. FORTIGEL bioactive collagen peptides are optimized to regenerate cartilage, maintain joint mobility, and minimize joint discomfort. Zdzieblik et al. (2021) confirmed that the oral intake of FORTIGEL led to a statistically significant reduction of activity-related joint pain in young active adults suffering from knee joint discomfort. In total, 180 active men and women aged between 18 and 30 years with exercise-related knee pain but no diagnosed joint disease completed the trial over a period of 12 weeks. Participants were randomly assigned to the group that received 5 g of specific collagen peptides or to the placebo group.
Turmeric is enjoying increased consumer attention thanks in part to its anti-inflammatory properties, which contribute to its benefits in joint health. Thanawala et al. (2021), for example, showed that a turmeric extract (TurmXTRA 60N [60% natural curcuminoids], Nutriventia) helped to alleviate knee pain and improve joint function in healthy subjects with chronic knee pain. Test subjects received either 250 mg of the formulation (150 mg curcuminoids) or a placebo for 90 days.
Curcumin is one of the main curcuminoids in turmeric. Curcugen (DolCas Biotech) is a self-affirmed GRAS curcumin formulation that was shown to play an anti-inflammatory role in an acute exercise model (DolCas Biotech 2021). In the double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 24 participants were randomized to either a daily dose of 500 mg of Curcugen or the equivalent dose in rice flour prior to an intense exercise protocol of 50 hurdles and 50 drop jumps. Joint range of motion, soreness, and markers of inflammation and oxidative stress were significantly better in the Curcugen group 72 hours post-exercise, demonstrating its capabilities in accelerating post-workout recovery. In addition, following an exercise bout, acute serial supplementation with Curcugen at 500 mg improved knee range of motion and thigh pain tolerance when compared directly with the placebo.
Another curcumin ingredient, BCM-95 (Arjuna Natural) was shown to be effective in reducing pain and other symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. BCM-95 is a fusion of curcuminoids and turmerone-rich essential oil components. For the study, 193 patients diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knee were randomized to receive either BCM-95 as a 500 mg capsule two times daily, or a 650 mg tablet of paracetamol (pain reliever and fever reducer) three times daily for 6 weeks. Knee arthritis symptoms of pain, joint stiffness, and diminished physical function improved significantly compared with the placebo group. In addition, the test group’s serum inflammatory markers, CRP and TNF-alpha, were also reduced compared with the placebo (Arjuna Natural 2021).
Eggshell membrane is a source of collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, and calcium. Kiers and Bult (2021) demonstrated that eggshell membrane extract successfully relieved knee osteoarthritis pain. In the double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 150 male and female volunteers, 40–75 years of age and diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis were randomly assigned to the eggshell membrane group (300 mg) or a placebo group for 12 weeks. The eggshell membrane group reported improved pain and daily life functioning scores.
In a multi-center study, Eskiyurt et al. (2019) observed reduced pain and stiffness in subjects with grade 2 and grade 3 knee osteoarthritis taking a natural eggshell membrane (NEM, ESM Technologies) supplement. This was observed within 7 to 30 days, and the benefits persisted for 90 days. Researchers concluded that NEM can be considered as a safe, natural intervention for inclusion as part of a comprehensive clinical protocol in the management of knee osteoarthritis. One hundred sixty-six subjects (males, 32; females, 134; age ≥ 40 years) with grade 2 or 3 knee osteoarthritis for 1–5 years were randomized to either NEM (500 mg once daily) or a placebo for 30 days. After 30 days on the placebo, the placebo group crossed over while remaining blinded and was provided with NEM (500 mg) for an additional 60 days.
Probiotics are known for benefiting immunity and digestive health, but some have been associated with bone health, potentially aiding in the bone remodeling cycle. Probi Osteo (Probi AB) is a probiotic bone health concept, based on the combination of the proprietary strains Lactiplantibacillus plantarum HEAL9, Lactiplantibacillus plantarum HEAL19, and Lacticaseibacillus paracasei 8700:2. Preclinical studies suggested that probiotics may support normal inflammatory responses, which when elevated, have been coupled with increased bone resorption. Jansson et al. (2019) monitored the impact of Probi Osteo on the bone density of 249 healthy, early postmenopausal women over a 12-month period. Treatment reduced the lumbar spine bone mineral density loss compared to placebo. The results of the study showed that intake of Probi Osteo may reduce bone loss and support strong and healthy bones.
As consumers focus on bone and joint development, maintenance, and strength, the tried and true nutritional ingredients as well as novel nutraceuticals will help create foods and beverages that promote healthy mobility.
Arjuna Natural. 2021. “BCM-95 Curcumin Powerful Anti-Inflammatory for Knee Osteoarthritis.” Press release, April 6. Arjuna Natural, Kerela, India.
DolCas Biotech. 2021. “DolCas Biotech’s Curcumin for Sports Nutrition.” Press release, April 14. DolCas Biotech LLC, Landing, N.J. dolcas-biotech.com.
Eskiyurt N., M. Saridog˘an, K. Senel, et al. 2019. “Efficacy and Safety of Natural Eggshell Membrane (NEM) in Patients with Grade 2/3 Knee Osteoarthritis: A Multi-center, Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled, Single-crossover Clinical Study.” J. Arthritis 8(4): 285.
Jansson, P.-A., D. Curiac, I .L. Ahrén, et al. 2019. “Probiotic Treatment Using a Mix of Three Lactobacillus Strains for Lumbar Spine Bone Loss in Postmenopausal Women: A Randomised, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled, Multicentre Trial.” The Lancet. Rheumatology 1(3): E154-E162.
Kiers, J. L. and J. H. F. Bult. 2021. “Mildly Processed Natural Eggshell Membrane Alleviates Joint Pain Associated with Osteoarthritis of the Knee: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study.” J. Medicinal Food 24(3): 292–298.
PB Leiner. 2021. “Untapped Potential: New Report Identifies Collagen’s Huge Scope for Further Growth.” Press release, April 22. PB Leiner, Vilvoorde, Belgium. pbleiner.com.
PB Leiner. 2021. “Joint pain reduced among active middle-aged adults taking SOLUGEL collagen peptides.” Press release, Sept. 21.
Thanawala, S., R. Shah, V. Somepalli, et al. 2021. “A Multicenter, Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Trial Assessing Efficacy and Safety of a Novel Low-dose Turmeric Extract Formulation in Healthy Adults with Chronic Knee Pain.” Clin. Pharmacol. 13: 91–100.
Zdzieblik, D., J. Brame, S. Oesser, et al. 2021. “The Influence of Specific Bioactive Collagen Peptides on Knee Joint Discomfort in Young Physically Active Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Nutrients 13(2): 523.