The State and the Future of the Global Bone and Joint Market
About 1.8 billion people around the globe suffer from some type of bone and joint problem. From the period of 1990 to 2010, the number of people affected by bone and joint health problems rose by 45 percent, making it the fourth-greatest factor to impact health.1 As a supplement business owner or retailer, are you sure you are doing enough to educate your customers about bone and joint health concerns? Does your product line give your customers a variety of supplemental options to address this problem? Bone and joint problems that are not addressed can lead to poor quality of life, or worse.
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about 44 million Americans have low bone density and this number will go higher as the aging population increases. Half of Americans over age 65 have joint concerns and 2 out 3 overweight men and women will develop symptomatic joint problems. 2
But, it’s not just older consumers that are looking for bone and joint supplements. Adults under the age of 30 are recognizing the importance of supporting their bones now so they can prevent bone weakness later in life. Educating consumers in this age group can help to grow this segment. According to SPINS, a market research firm based in Schaumburg, Ill., the sale of bone health supplements in 2012 reached nearly $581 million (conventional and natural channels) with Vitamin D-based supplement sales increasing by 14.5 percent from the previous year.3
Retailers and supplement business owners can help consumers achieve optimal bone health and healthy joint functions by providing strategic ingredients that are shown to promote joint and bone health. These supplements can be divided into two categories – ingredients that target bone health and ingredients that target joint health.
Bone Health Ingredients
Calcium is the main building block of bones. In fact, 99% of the calcium in our bodies can be found in our bones! While calcium remains the most basic nutrient for bone formation and structure, new developments in research have uncovered more effective and advanced forms of it which promote bone formation.
Vitamin D, along with Vitamin C and Vitamin K2, help increase bone strength and promotes bone health. Studies have shown that supplementation of 800 IUs of Vitamin D in men and women aged 65 and above reduced the risk of fracture by 30 percent.4-7
Vitamin D and calcium play a synergistic role in bone health and were listed among the top 5 consumer choices of supplements in the 2012 survey conducted by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN).8
Evidence from research suggests that the addition of magnesium may help support bone health in menopausal women. 9
Joint Health Supplements
Ingredients such as type II collagen are believed to help inhibit the action of certain enzymes that break down the joint-cartilage. The combination of glucosamine and chondroitin may help to support optimal joint function. Other ingredients supported by science include methyl sulfonyl methane (MSM) and omega-3 fatty acids.
A growing aging population is the main driver of the bone and joint health industry. By the year 2030, nearly 20 percent of the population in the United States is expected to be in the age group of 65 and above. People are also living longer. A United States census report released in November 2011 shows that the number of people aged 90 and above has nearly tripled in the last 3 decades. And over the next four decades, it is expected to quadruple. The 90 and above age group currently comprise almost 5 percent of the population.10
At a global level, the United Nation Population Division has projected the over-60 age group to swell from 800 million to 2 billion by 2050 comprising 22 percent of the world population.11
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1. The Lancet, December 2012
3. Bone and Joint Health, Natural Products Insider, February 2013, Volume 3 Issue 1.
6. Vitamin D, Medline Plus, National Institutes of Health,