A: Low bioavailability.
They represent a growing list of natural products attracting scientific attention to improving their effectiveness as nutrients.
At the moment, a search on PubMed for “bioavailability” yields more than 130,000 articles. Adding “supplements” to the search carves out 4,800 of them. Substituting “nutraceuticals” lists more than 3,200.
And more than 99% of them appeared since the turn of the 21st century.
The bioavailability “hot” list above leads the way. Searches reveal the following numbers of articles:
2,200 on curcumin
1,000 on quercetin
265 on berberine
928 on resveratrol
506 on anthocyanins
309 on EGCG
They augment an impressive number of bioavailability studies on essential nutrients, including 5,289 on vitamins and 5,683 on minerals.
It’s no longer acceptable to advise supplement users to merely take a supplement with food, or on an empty stomach, or with certain other ingredients.
Nope. The name of the game is now all about efficiency of formulations – i.e., their bioavailability.
SAVVY CUSTOMERS ARE CATCHING ON
The top nutrient, curcumin, is a good example of how bioavailability can draw in more end users.
According to Grand View Research, the curcumin market size was valued at more than $58 million in 2020, with an expected CAGR of 16.1% from 2020 to 2028.
Social proof from customers using bioavailability-improved formulations lead this marketing tsunami.
“MY ARTHRITIS WAS GONE IN 3 DAYS!”
As much as market size numbers light up a marketing director’s eyes, they’re just sterile numbers.
What’s important to customers is how well a product works for them.
They care about their health, not marketing statistics.
Just taking a peek at customer experiences in reducing the pain and inflammation of arthritis emphasizes that point.
Mary’s story is typical.
“I was simply shocked with my results. I did a bit of research and found that [an enhanced bioavailability formulation] was necessary for proper absorption. I started taking 2 capsules daily. Within four days I started feeling much more freedom in my joints and could tell my inflammation had gone down significantly.
After a little more than a week I noticed my shoulders regained full range of motion, my knees and ankles can carry me through the whole round of golf, but that’s not all! I was having to keep a stroke counter on me to keep up with my score but after taking [the product] for 3 weeks, I could tell that I was thinking more clearly and the stroke counter was no longer needed. My brain functioning was sharper! A super side effect that was not expected!”
Ricky’s experience is even more remarkable:
“I’ve had over thirty corrective surgeries from the time of 9 months to 16 years old, just so I could walk normally.
I am now 58 years old and have severe arthritis in both knees, legs, feet and to top it off, I have golfers elbow in my left arm from playing bad golf for over 25 years. I bought your product as a last resort because the, “over the counter stuff” never worked for me. After just 3 days of taking [an enhanced bioavailability formulation], the pain in my knees went away! After 5 days, the pain in my legs, feet, and elbow went away! This is a God send!”
That kind of social proof is pure marketing gold.
Arthritis is just one example of health benefits customers rave about.
And they’re all driven by enhanced bioavailability formulations.
Curcumin is just one of several good examples.
Many other natural products aren’t too far behind.
A CHEMIST’S PERSPECTIVE
As a career natural products researcher, I’m thrilled to see my favorite plant substances taking center stage for alternative health.
It has been a long time coming.
The benefits of medicinal flavonoids, for example, were initially established in the late 1930s. They led one of the premier scientists at that time, Dr. Albert Szent-Györgyi, to even refer to them as “vitamin P.”
Starting in the 1950s, entire books began appearing about them, mostly out of leading labs in Hungary. This body of knowledge now forms the foundation for the recent emergent work directed toward improving their bioavailability.
Similar trends characterize the other substances on the hot list cited above, plus many others.
It pleases me to no end to see these developments. Ditto for my circle of fellow natural products chemists.
ESTABLISHING BRAGGING RIGHTS
Although ‘bragging’ may seem crass, that’s what claims about improved bioavailability must do for the bottom line.
It’s what distinguishes the better products from the rest.
If you’ve got it, flaunt it.
The question then becomes, how to do that most effectively.
IT’S AN EDUCATION PROCESS, WITH A TWIST
Start with a product already demonstrated to have improved bioavailability.
Once it’s in hand, main three strategies drive marketing outcomes.
These are what the leading manufacturers are doing now.
- Create targeted educational materials. For B2B companies, they start with white papers directed at decision makers who are responsible for selecting products for incorporation into retail formulations. Even though white papers may seem straightforward and factual, the twist is adding the right amount of persuasion copy without being salesy.
- Provide ‘bragging’ support for retailers. B2C companies are probably not going to conduct research on the ingredients they use. This is the role of the B2B supplier. Research lays the foundation for generating marketing copy the retailer can employ for attracting and retaining customers. In other words, the gems retailers rely on for advertising, product pages, email campaigns, magalogs, and even ebooks.
- Got a consulting scientist? A scientist who can explain the ins and outs of product research to B2C marketers is worth his or her weight in gold. Someone with a PhD in natural products chemistry and a strong background in education is ideal. Having one on staff would be the top choice if the budget allows. Having one on retainer would be even more cost-effective.
Although these might seem to be sweeping strategies, many manufacturers are already following them to some extent.
Going back to the curcumin example, at least a dozen B2B suppliers have branded products for use by retailers. They’re all supported by solid research showing improved bioavailability.
Their research appears in peer-reviewed scientific journals. It doesn’t get any better than that for scientific validation.
TAKING THE NEXT STEP
No matter where your company is among the three strategies listed above, you might benefit from the efforts of a scientist-writer-educator for creating your marketing materials.
I’ll get right to the point: that’s exactly what I am.
A 30-year professor at a major research university. Dozens of publications in scientific journals. Co-author of a best-selling university-level textbook. A specialist in natural products chemistry. An experienced writer for B2B and B2C supplement companies.
If you see your company needing the services of someone like that, please feel free to contact me to we can talk about how I can help you.
Messaging via my contact form here works: Contact.
So does direct email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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