Blood sugar supplement formulations are based on a number of ingredients. Ingredients can act in a number of ways, including as a low glycemic index (low GI) sweetener, an insulin sensitivity booster, or by replacing digestible carbohydrates with a non-digestible fiber alternative. Other ingredients meanwhile have an effect on blood sugar via the intestinal-brain axis and the nervous system. Before doing so, let’s just go into some of the main points for blood sugar support these days.
Increase in bioavailability
A blood sugar manager that has grown in importance in recent years also benefits from ingredient innovation. Matt Olesiak, MD, chief medical officer of the nutritional supplement company SaneSolution (Spokane, WA), says new innovations around butyrate are improving the ingredient’s performance in clinical trials.
“Butyrate is a post-biological metabolite that is excreted by probiotics during the intestinal fermentation of fiber,” explains Olesiak. “Butyrate has been observed in clinical studies to improve insulin sensitivity and possibly help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.”
However, butyrate’s lack of bioavailability has tended to compromise its potential as a blood sugar support ingredient. According to Olesiak, butyrate is an unstable molecule that often dissolves before it reaches the lower colon. Companies like him are innovating to develop more bioavailable butyrate ingredients. For example, SaneSolution has introduced a new, patented form of butyrate that it claims is more bioavailable. Olesiak explains, “To solve this problem, scientists added a glycerin molecule to three butyrate molecules to create tributyrate. Tributyrate efficiently delivers butyrate directly to the lower colon… ”The ingredient is used in the company’s Viscera-3 supplement.
Low GI carbohydrates
Low GI carbohydrates continue to see significant opportunities in the blood sugar space. Carbohydrates are the largest source of calories for most Americans, accounting for 50.5% of the average total caloric intake of Americans in 2016.1 While high quality complex carbohydrates contain important nutrients that promote heart and gut health, most Americans consume four times more simple carbohydrates than they do complex carbohydrates. Both industry and health experts take note of this.
Anke Sentko, vice president of regulatory affairs and nutritional communications at ingredient supplier Beneo (Parsippany, NJ), says there is now broad scientific consensus that traditional carbohydrates should be replaced with low GI alternatives.
“The relevance of a lower GI diet is becoming increasingly important to both public health professionals and consumers,” says Sentko. “Consumers and health officials have increasingly demonized sugar over the years, but it’s important to research the quality of the carbohydrates we consume. By slowly releasing glucose into the body, “alternative, low-GI sugars – such as Beneo’s isomaltulose ingredient Palatinose – fuel the body in a balanced way.”
Consumers may be aware of the health risks associated with excessive sugar consumption, but are often reluctant to forego sweetened products. Data collected by the International Food Information Council (Washington, DC) shows that 74% of Americans try to avoid sugar, but taste is still the main determinant of food and drink purchases.2 This is why healthier sweeteners like fiber are in a variety of formulations are gaining popularity.
According to Sentko, fiber like inulin and oligofructose, like her company’s Orafti brand ingredients, serve as alternatives to low GI sugars. These fibers have a mildly sweet taste and are therefore suitable for formulation in baked goods, chocolate and beverages. Compared to conventional sugars, however, this fiber leads to a slower and smaller rise in blood sugar levels after consumption.
Sentko explains, “Inulin and oligofructose are effective in reducing the glycemic response of foods by replacing sugar or other high GI carbohydrates. They can be easily incorporated into everyday food products, allowing consumers to eat healthier diets without significantly changing their eating habits. “
The relationship between poor glucose control and long-term illness and disability is a driving factor that will create strong demand in the blood glucose control market. Poor glucose control has been linked to damage to the blood vessels in the kidneys, eyes, heart, brain, nerves, and legs.3 As consumers in general become more health conscious and more aware of the health risks of uncontrolled blood sugar, they will be looking for ingredients that make one support healthy blood sugar levels and promote overall health.
Annie Eng, CEO of HP Ingredients (Bradenton, FL), which offers CitruSlim, a blend of Citrus bergamia Risso and LJ100 Tongkat Ali ingredients from the Bergamonte brand, says the quarantine restrictions on COVID-19 are being lifted and more consumers are actively seeking it That is, improve their diets and lose the “Quarantine 15”, this foray into healthier lives can create opportunities for blood sugar ingredients.
“The blood sugar support market appears to be picking up momentum and shouldn’t grow until the pandemic rebounds,” she says. “Quarantine and the physical restrictions that have been in place for months have resulted in a great many people becoming more sedentary and eating more comfort foods.”
The blood sugar components market is well positioned for both product innovation and sales growth. With 43% of Americans being either diabetic or prediabetic4 and 44% of Americans reporting high levels of awareness of their dietary sugar intake5, there is a clear need and demand for ingredients to support various types of blood sugar. Ingredient blends are also growing in popularity, with synergistic blends continuing to gain attention, including combinations of fructooligosaccharides and chromium, thymoquinone and omega-3 oil, and even different types of polyphenols. With growing consumer awareness of healthy habits, expect more options for a variety of formulations in this area.
- Shan Z et al. “Trends in Dietary Carbohydrate, Protein, and Fat Intake and Nutritional Quality in Adults in the United States, 1999-2016.” Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 322, no.12 (September 2019): 1178–1187
- Meyer M. “The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way we shop, eat and think about food, according to IFIC’s Food & Health Survey 2020.” Website of the International Food Information Council. Published online on June 10, 2020. Available here. https://www.foodinsight.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/2020-Food-and-Health-Survey-.pdf
- Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria State Government, Australia. “Diabetes – Long Term Effects.” Access here. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/diabetes-long-term-effects
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2020.” Published online on February 11, 2020. Available here. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/features/diabetes-stat-report.html
- FMCG Gurus. “Global & Regional – Active Nutrition Study – Q3 2019.” Published online in September 2019. Available here. https://fmcggurus.com/category-insight-report/active-nutrition/