European and Latin American consumers have begun taking a cue from their Asian counterparts, expressing increasing interest in supplements that promise to improve outward appearance by providing inward health benefits.
At the recent Vitafoods Asia trade show in Singapore, ExcelVite nutritionist Diyanah Roslan told NutraIngredients-Asia: "Consumers today do not only want to age healthily, they also want to age beautifully. They are well aware of the idea that 'feeling good is looking good'.
"In terms of functional food and drink, there is actually demand for oral beauty, especially in Japan — the first country to embrace beauty products beverage form. Now, the trend is also moving to Europe and Latin America."
Roslan was speaking to us the day after the inaugural NutraIngredients-Asia Awards, where ExcelVite was among the finalists in the Ingredient of the Year: Healthy Ageing category. The firm had entered the awards with EVNol SupraBio, a proprietary self-emulsifying palm tocotrienol complex.
According to the company, the ingredient can improve oral absorption of individual tocotrienols by an average of 250%, and has multiple benefits, including hair growth, skin health, liver function, and neuroprotection.
Clinically tested cosmetic effects
Roslan said that EVNol SupraBio — which can be used in soft gel, capsule, tablet, sachet and gummy formats, as well as incorporated into chocolate — had been shown in human clinical studies to promote hair growth.
"In fact, the pathway of how EVNol SupraBio promotes hair regeneration was elucidated in 2017, and the ingredient has even been granted a US Patent for its hair growth effects.
"(In one of the trials) supplementation of 2mg of astaxanthin with 40mg of EVNol in subjects with dry skin led to an increased moisture level, consistent natural oils, and the reduction of wrinkles and pimples.
"As a result, the treated subjects reported improved skin elasticity, reduced swelling under the eyes, and overall better skin health after the test period. On the contrary, the skin condition of subjects receiving placebo did not improve, and even generally worsened during the test period."
At last year's Vitafoods Asia, NutraIngredients-Asia also spoke with ExcelVite about EVNol SupraBio's hair growth effects.
Regional product manager Bryan See explained how the ingredient had been clinically proven to induce hair follicle genesis in mature cells to significantly boost hair growth, and said its potential applications included oral supplements and topical skincare products.
The business of beauty and biology
ExcelVite's research appears to be paying off, with numerous 'beauty from within' products launched in Japan, the rest of Asia, and North America containing EVNol SupraBio. Notably, Japanese cosmetics giant Shiseido is among the companies that use the ingredient in its products.
Roslan added that certain companies present at Vitafoods Asia this year had indicated their interest in using the ingredient for their own 'beauty from within' products, though she declined to give further details.
At the same time, she said prevention was a greater priority than price in the nutri-cosmetics and aged care segments, especially among younger consumers.
"It is never too early to start preparing for healthy ageing since we get a little older every day — this is especially true after one reaches 25 years of age.
"The younger demographics, particularly the millennials, are now more focused on the preventative aspects of healthy ageing. They care about their physical appearance, and hair loss is actually a big issue, especially for women.
"They also care about the transparency of the product — whether or not it's clean-label, non-GMO and so on. Surprisingly, price is not their main concern when choosing which products to buy."