Nutraceuticals

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Role of Digital Transformation- Building Brands

A strong misconception I wish to shoot down at the beginning of this article is about digital transformation. You do not need a strong IT team with an army of coders and software engineers to execute your transformation journey, it’s 2021 and without writing a single line of code, you can create your website, landing pages, and even your app!

The world of SaaS scenarios will solve it all for you, with ease.

A broad definition is “Digital Transformation is the use of technology to change how a business operates and delivers experiences to its customers”.

Gartner’s digital transformation definition:

 “Anything from IT modernization, such as cloud computing or AI, to digital optimization, or the invention of new digital business models.”

Whichever definition you take, digital transformation has the same all-encompassing goal:

Improving business processes and using digital technology to help. Yet, digital transformation isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept.

Common digital transformation mistakes Brands make:

When it comes to how a Brand or Product needs to view a digital transformation, brands tend to make one or more of the following mistakes that prevent them from having a successful digital transformation:

  1. Viewed from the bottom up and not the top down

Brands often get confused with the term digital transformation – it doesn’t only mean digital. When organizations launch new websites, tools or processes, they may consider that as their digital transformation, but then it doesn’t work out as they intended.

Why is it so?

Digital transformation begins with the people. If new technology is implemented without considering the people, the organization as a whole and its internal processes, then the transformation will be a failure.

When viewing digital transformation from the C-Suite, it’s important to note that every business is unique, and there is no one size fits all solution.

Also, brands need to do away with old-school thinking that the digital business model has diverse rules compared to their regular business model. Online and in-store pricing may or may not vary in today’s scenario, yet both will still require investment for finding the right product mix, after-sales processes and customer support, most importantly the time spent on both these platforms are almost equal now.

  1. Digital transformation is a short-term concept

Numerous assumptions state that a transformation happens once and then you’re done. Digital transformation is an ongoing process, where brands need to adapt to new technologies, changes in consumer behaviour, and continuity.

Another problem with viewing digital transformation as a one-and-done thing is that some brands believe it would be too big of a project to undertake and end up costing lots of time and money.

If you plan well and understand your business constraints and reimagine them into different scenarios, then each problem can be tackled one by one. This makes it easier to view a digital transformation continually and as a benefit to the business rather than one “big bang” effort that customers end up ignoring.

  1. There is a lack of customer communication

Digital transformation does not mean build it and customer will come. Just because you add new technology doesn’t mean that your customers will immediately start using it. You need to communicate with both customers and employees and make sure that they are happy with the changes you are implementing.

Proper communication also helps to avoid friction between customers and the company and makes sure your digital transformation is tackling the right problems.

  1. It isn’t viewed holistically

When organizations don’t view digital transformation as part of one bigger movement, then they may believe that it won’t work for them.

In reality, every brand or product has at least one area that could improve with digital transformation. With proper cost-benefit analysis, brands will be able to determine where digital transformation will work best for their business and won’t just do it because it seems to be the latest trend.

Digital transformation doesn’t only impact customers but also employees and the overall company culture. Understanding this concept will help internal staff understand the benefits and lead to greater adoption across the business.

Also, real digital transformation needs to be embraced and executed by everyone and not just the Techno-Marketing team. Any technology that gets introduced as part of a digital transformation needs to be user-friendly or it won’t be effective.

How to get people on board with digital transformation?

Any process that changes the status quo will cause disruption. Consequently, there’s no such thing as “minimizing disruption” during the digital transformation process.

But people are the cornerstone of digital transformation so getting them on board is fundamental to success. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Identity internal senior champions with the inclusion of the sales team (veterans of the organisation drive the transformation)

Establish a team of people across every aspect of the business. Digital transformation affects everyone so having key participants throughout the organization is critical to its success.

Starting with some of the major departments that digital transformation will affect and make sure everyone remains focused on the ultimate objective.

Key Take Away (KTA): “Determine who you can to be count on to help champion the digital transformation recommendations.”

  1. Undertake an inclusive planning process

Once you have your senior champions in place, gather all of them to begin the planning process. Including everyone in the planning process and hearing ideas from multiple places can provide a different perspective and lead to a better outcome.

The initial plans you had for a digital transformation could turn out to be more beneficial to some departments than to others. Hearing everyone’s views will help you to plan accordingly.

Key Take Away (KTA): “Capture all the ideas as a group and rate impact Vs effort.”

  1. Identity and chart high-impact vs effort

Categorize your ideas based on how much work they will require and the overall positive impact on the organization. High impact ideas that require a lot of effort would be classified as significant projects. 

However, you can’t forget about the thankless tasks that require high effort with little reward. Sooner or later, you will be happy that those tasks, such as digitizing client documentation or data collection, got done.

Any low impact and low effort work can always be filled in along the way where space allows.

Key Take Away (KTA): High impact ideas that need the least amount of effort are always a good starting point since they qualify as quick wins.”

  1. Select a cross-section for a phased approach

Make your digital transformation process an agile one and don’t try to implement everything at once. Do it to step by step, gradually introducing changes and seeing how your customers and employees react to changes before adding more.

Key Take Away (KTA): “A phased approach allows the flexibility to course correction without derailing the entire process.”

  1. Prioritize selection

Once you have selected which cross-section of the chart you’re going to begin working on, then you can start to prioritize the tasks within that section. 

Some of the factors to consider may include benefits, cost of implementation, and the overall strategic value of the initiative.

Key Take Away (KTA): “Identify any defining factors and weighted criteria you will use to help determine which job to tackle first.”

  1. Allocate owners to each initiative

Ownership allows stakeholders to feel like their contribution matters. Each initiative you have should be treated as an individual project, and one of your stakeholders should be designated as the project owner.

Owners will likely come from the departments where the project is primarily located.

Key Take Away (KTA): “As the project owner, it is that person’s responsibility to see the project to completion.”

  1. Have regular interactions (online and offline) to discuss progress

Digital transformation, like any important venture, isn’t a short-term project. Having regular meetings with stakeholders is essential to make sure that everything is on track.

When you meet, discuss any issues being faced, potential bottlenecks that are hindering progress and how far along you are on the project roadmap.

Key Take Away (KTA): “A talk solves a lot!”

  1. Inform stakeholders why you’re doing this (and the benefits associated with the journey)

When working with stakeholders and anyone within the organization who will be involved in the digital transformation process, it is essential to explain why you are undertaking the project in the first place.

Key Take Away (KTA): “One good way of doing this is to identify how they will benefit as individuals or as a department as a result of the digital transformation.”

  1. Over-communicate

Communicating the value of the digital transformation and with each other throughout the process is a recipe for success. 

Find ways to capture people’s imagination and align them with your vision for the organization. Make it easy to be found so that everyone can have clarity on what they’re working towards and make any content related to the digital transformation efforts easily consumable. This may include visuals, pics, video, gifs, etc. to boost interest and understanding.

Encourage discussion, not just among stakeholders but with others in the organization as well and avoid sending updates or resources related to the process that can be easily lost or ignored.

Key Take Away (KTA): “Some of the ways you can do this are by giving the transformation process a name, a good one.”

  1. Celebrate achievements

During any process, it’s important to celebrate achievements along the way. This reminds you and your team about how far you’ve come, even if you still have a way to go to complete your objectives.

Key Take Away (KTA): “Milestone every moment and scenario, drink it out or shout it loud!”

  1. Create visual signals of change for all (internal and external) stakeholders

Visual signals can create checkpoints internally among your employees and externally among your customers. Signals can help you determine how effective your transformation has been thus far and ensure that everyone has the digital transformation on their minds.

  1. Continuously seek feedback

Feedback is invaluable as it can determine if you’re on the right track or if you need to make sweeping changes to your approach. Don’t simply wait on your stakeholders to get back to you and tell you how you’re doing. Go directly to stakeholders and seek out feedback about your progress so far

 Key Take Away (KTA): “Be proactive and not reactive!”

  1. Make the process ongoing, don’t treat it as a one-off project

Digital transformation is a continuous process that needs updating as customer requirements change and new technologies emerge. For that reason, you shouldn’t treat it as a one-off project that is finished once you check the last task off of the to-do list.

Don’t let this deter you as it merely means that organizational goals and requirements will continue to change along the way, and you should always be ready to change with them if necessary.

Key Take Away (KTA): “Your digital transformation is, in some ways, never-ending.

Bonus content for the transformer in you!

Technology’s role in digital transformation

Since digital transformation begins with the people involved in the organization and the business processes, many begin to wonder what role technology plays in transformation. Following fig. 2 describes some of the things that technology does:

Fig. 1 Technology’s role in digital transformation

Source- Developed by author

 “Every journey starts with a single step!”

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Reference

Gartner Study on Digital Transformation with CoreDNA data points

About Author

Mr. Anurag Dalal- He is a versatile corporate with strong track records across Marketing, BD and Digital streams for several International Pharmaceutical Organizations on B2B platforms in Egypt, Afghanistan and India. 

He has played a key role in establishing valuable marketing & communications strategy, novel revenue networks, increased productivity and cost efficiency. 

With more than 15 years of corporate experience, he is completely adept at Strategic Counsel & Planning for brands in diversified domains and single handedly managing the Product/ Brand.

Summary

In recent scenario, digital transformation is not just necessary, but essential. Various industries are increasingly shifting their business models and marketing strategies from traditional to modern and advanced ones. This shift is progressively driven by the advancing technologies owing to which various areas of business are transforming digitally. This article highlights certain aspects of digital transformation in building brand strategies in current scenario as companies are testing their efforts in the market in much creative and productive ways, which is interesting to know about…

 

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Nutraceuticals in Oral Mucositis

The term mucositis applies to the consequences of chemotherapy and radiation therapy in cancer treatment. It pertains to the mucosal damage occurring in the oral cavity, pharyngeal, laryngeal, oesophageal regions, and other gastrointestinal tract areas. About 20% to 40% of patients undergoing conventional chemotherapy and almost all patients who receive head and neck radiation therapy (H&NRT) develop mucositis.[1]

Oral mucositis (OM) results in painful ulcerative lesions that can negatively impact the overall quality of life by restricting essential activities, such as talking, eating, swallowing, and oral hygiene maintenance. OM can trigger an inability to tolerate food or fluids, which leads to malnutrition, dehydration, and weight loss. Immunocompromised patients have a much greater risk because these lesions can get secondarily infected, which may lead to systemic sepsis.

Depending on the severity [2], OM can be classified , as

  1. Tolerable mucositis (grade 1 and 2)
  2. Intolerable mucositis (grade 3 or higher).

A wide variety of molecules have been tried & tested for the OM management – prevention, severity reduction, and symptomatic relief. Naturally occurring compounds have attracted significant attention in this regard since they are perceived to have minimal side effects while helping the mucosa heal faster, which is a much-desired outcome since OM is already an adverse effect.

Zinc:

Zinc is an essential trace element, which is known for its action in tissue repair processes. Zinc induces metallothioneins (zinc-binding proteins) that protect against oxidative damage and inflammatory stress. Metallothionein reduced histological damage and neutrophil infiltration in methotrexate-induced intestinal mucositis in an animal model. [3]

Zinc in OM: [4,5]

Patients who received zinc displayed lower severity, delayed onset, and also had faster healing of OM. The best evidence for zinc comes from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in which zinc supplementation lowered the severity and delayed OM onset in oral cancer patients. Researchers have recommended zinc in oral cancer patients receiving radiation therapy or chemoradiation.

Honey: [6]

Due to its positive effects on wound healing, honey has been studied as a preventive modality in oral mucositis. Honey is recommended for the prevention of intolerable OM due to many of the properties that make it effective – its hygroscopic nature, viscosity, and its acidic pH that prevents bacterial growth on the mucosal surface. Also, honey contains vitamins – ascorbic acid, pantothenic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc – that help repair the tissue directly. Other advantages of honey include – being readily available, easy to gargle, non-irritating and sweet, and thus more acceptable to patients, especially children.

Curcumin: [6, 7]

Turmeric or curcumin (Curcuma longa) is a rhizomatous herb often used as a food spice. Curcumin is also traditionally used in oriental medicine to treat several illnesses. A wide range of pharmacological activities of curcumin such as anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidation, lipid-lowering, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-cancer, anticoagulation, anti-fibrosis, anti-atherosclerosis effects, make it a commonly used therapeutic agent, which is further reinforced by low toxicity and minor adverse reactions.

Many studies have found a statistically significant effect of curcumin mouthwash in preventing intolerable OM in cancer patients. [6] However, we still need to determine the safe and tolerable concentration of curcumin mouthwash. Also, we need to determine the efficacy of different concentrations of curcumin mouthwash in oral mucositis prevention.

Chamomilla: [6]

Chamomilla is a commonly used ingredient in a wide variety of health products. It is one of the popular medicinal herbs best-known for its safety and therapeutic properties, such as anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer effects. A network analysis published in 2020 found Chamomile to be one of the most effective mouthwashes in the prevention of OM patients.

Glutamine: [8]

Glutamine, a precursor of glutathione, is the most abundant free amino acid in the body, known to play a regulatory role in several cellular processes involved in wound healing and tissue repair. Glutathione is a major intracellular antioxidant that protects cells from damage due to oxidative stress.

A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial showed that glutamine significantly decreases the severity of chemoradiotherapy-induced mucositis in head and neck cancer patients. [9]

A new study published in 2021 suggested that vitamin E, zinc, and glutamine could effectively prevent and treat OM.[10]

Let us take a look at two meta-analyses published in the year 2020 –

A network meta-analysis [6] published in 2020 compared the preventive effect of ten different types of mouthwashes in the clinical management of intolerable oral mucositis. A literature search was performed, and reports published from 1990 to 2019 focusing on mouthwashes in OM prevention were identified. The authors evaluated thirty-six randomized controlled trials that included a total of 2594 patients. The Bayesian network analysis showed that honey, chamomile, and curcumin-containing mouthwashes were superior to placebo, among the naturally available molecules. The study found that mouthwashes containing these molecules may be the most advantageous in preventing intolerable OM.

The authors of another meta-analysis [11] searched the databases for randomized control trials (RCTs) published from inception until January 2019 on the effects of different oral care solutions in preventing OM.

The network meta-analysis included a total of 28 randomized controlled trials involving 1861 patients. Among the oral care solutions containing natural molecules – honey and curcumin were more effective than placebo. The authors concluded that curcumin and honey might serve as the preferred options for preventing OM and form the basis for its clinical management.

 

References:

[1] Lalla RV, Bowen J, Barasch A, Elting L, Epstein J, Keefe DM, McGuire DB, Migliorati C, Nicolatou-Galitis O, Peterson DE, Raber-Durlacher JE, Sonis ST, Elad S; Mucositis Guidelines Leadership Group of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer and International Society of Oral Oncology (MASCC/ISOO). MASCC/ISOO clinical practice guidelines for the management of mucositis secondary to cancer therapy. Cancer. 2014 May 15;120(10):1453-61. doi: 10.1002/cncr.28592. Epub 2014 Feb 25. Erratum in: Cancer. 2015 Apr 15;121(8):1339. PMID: 24615748; PMCID: PMC4164022.

[2] Rao S, Hegde SK, Rao P, Dinkar C, Thilakchand KR, George T, Baliga-Rao MP, Palatty PL, Baliga MS. Honey Mitigates Radiation-Induced Oral Mucositis in Head and Neck Cancer Patients without Affecting the Tumor Response. Foods. 2017 Sep 6;6(9):77. doi: 10.3390/foods6090077. PMID: 28878156; PMCID: PMC5615289.

[3] Tran CD, Sundar S, Howarth GS. Dietary zinc supplementation and methotrexate-induced small intestinal mucositis in metallothionein-knockout and wild-type mice. Cancer Biol Ther. 2009 Sep;8(17):1662-7. doi: 10.4161/cbt.8.17.9293. Epub 2009 Sep 17. PMID: 19633421.

[4] Lin LC, Que J, Lin LK, Lin FC. Zinc supplementation to improve mucositis and dermatitis in patients after radiotherapy for head-and-neck cancers: a double-blind, randomized study. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2006 Jul 1;65(3):745-50. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2006.01.015. PMID: 16751063.

[5] Ertekin MV, Koç M, Karslioglu I, Sezen O. Zinc sulfate in the prevention of radiation-induced oropharyngeal mucositis: a prospective, placebo-controlled, randomized study. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2004 Jan 1;58(1):167-74. doi: 10.1016/s0360-3016(03)01562-1. PMID: 14697435.

[6] Zhang X, Sun D, Qin N, Liu M, Zhang J, Li X. Comparative prevention potential of 10 mouthwashes on intolerable oral mucositis in cancer patients: A Bayesian network analysis. Oral Oncol. 2020 Aug;107:104751. doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2020.104751. Epub 2020 May 7. PMID: 32388411.

[7] Nagpal M, Sood S. Role of curcumin in systemic and oral health: An overview. J Nat Sci Biol Med 2013;4:3–7.

[8] Yarom, N., Ariyawardana, A., Hovan, A. et al. Systematic review of natural agents for the management of oral mucositis in cancer patients. Support Care Cancer 21, 3209–3221 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-013-1869-5

[9] Tsujimoto T, Yamamoto Y, Wasa M, Takenaka Y, Nakahara S, Takagi T, Tsugane M, Hayashi N, Maeda K, Inohara H, Uejima E, Ito T. L-glutamine decreases the severity of mucositis induced by chemoradiotherapy in patients with locally advanced head and neck cancer: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Oncol Rep. 2015 Jan;33(1):33-9. doi: 10.3892/or.2014.3564. Epub 2014 Oct 23. PMID: 25351453; PMCID: PMC4254677.

[10] de Sousa Melo A, de Lima Dantas JB, Medrado ARAP, Lima HR, Martins GB, Carrera M. Nutritional supplements in the management of oral mucositis in patients with head and neck cancer: Narrative literary review. Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2021 Jun;43:31-38. doi: 10.1016/j.clnesp.2021.03.030. Epub 2021 Apr 15. PMID: 34024533.

[11] Yu YT, Deng JL, Jin XR, Zhang ZZ, Zhang XH, Zhou X. Effects of 9 oral care solutions on the prevention of oral mucositis: a network meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Medicine (Baltimore). 2020 Apr;99(16):e19661. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000019661. PMID: 32311938; PMCID: PMC7220734

The article is written by Dr. Chitguppi and is published by Interlink Insight_Vol 20_Issue 2

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You need to know this!!!

What does this equation in the picture mean?

Let me elaborate it a little,

If any one of the elements out of S, E or A is replaced with ZERO, ultimately, P is going to be ZERO!! Simple math, isn’t it?

But what exactly this mysterious P, S, E and A stand for?

So, here you go…

P- Performance

S- Support

E- Efforts

A- Attitude

Makes scenes?

Perfect blend of support, effort and attitude results into the perfect performance. Absence or deficiency of any one of these elements leads to poor performance which aims at nothing but failure and eventually loss of interest.

When I speak about Support, what I exactly mean is- Money, Material and Emotional support. Who doesn’t need money? Although not every task has to be financially supported, big dreams need big pockets, at least at the individual level. And at organizational level, money (incentives) matters the most. A bad pay will never entertain the employee in the long run. Likewise, material support, such as proper guidance, effective mentorship by leader at work, efficient working goods and supply are also necessary to attain a better performance with desired outcomes.

Emotional support at right time sometimes plays very crucial role in the challenging working environment. Over here, leader has an important duty to play to boost the confidence of the team. Best leaders never let his team fight alone, instead, he joins in and shares the sense of responsibility with the entire team which make the things easier.

Now speaking about Efforts, it has two aspects- Individual efforts and organizational efforts. At individual level, we know what kind of efforts we are putting in, hence, certainly we are totally aware about what could be the possible outcomes. If the organization is giving its 100% to bang on the task, the results entirely depend on employees’ efforts and in that case, employees have no rights to blame the company for the task failure. Best outcome is a product of collaborative efforts of each employee and the concerned organization.

Last but not the least, is our Attitude to perform. We all are always ready to put everything which is needed to achieve our dream success. But the thing which describes our true potential and determines the quality of outcomes is our attitude. Nobody on this planet can rule over your attitude unless you willingly giveaway all the controls.

However, while working in an organization, being surrounded by people possessing different attitudes, leader plays a very important role in positively reshaping those scattered attitudes. Best leader resonates his positive attitude in his team members which makes the working environment productive and like-minded.

I personally follow this me-made equation for giving my best performance in whatever task I wish to succeed. I hope it would be helpful for my connections as well…

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Overview of Indian Botanicals

Global Botanical Extracts Market was valued at USD 4.57 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 8.51 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 8.7% from 2020 to 2027.

Indian herbal extract market is expected to reach over INR16,000 crore by  FY 2022.

Regulatory dynamics in Indian botanical sector:

Botanicals have been used in a number of formulations in India, including traditional medicines, Nutraceuticals, dietary supplements, etc. The regulatory framework for pharmaceuticals is well established and organized. However, the regulatory system for traditional medicines and other plant-based products is still evolving and not much organized. 

In India, Food and Drugs Administration, Food Safety and Standards (Health Supplements, Nutraceuticals, Food for special dietary use, food for special medical purpose, functional food, and novel food) regulations, 2016, Drugs and Cosmetic Act 1940, Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) and several allied bodies are responsible for the regulatory provisions for herbal health products and foods. 

As the regulatory framework is not very rigid, many constraints are faced by Indian herbal market right from formulations to sales and marketing of these products.

Japan and China mainly use the term health food, but with different regulatory processes. The general concept of health food is that the food contains nutrient as well as health benefits. Thus, some permitted health-related claims can be made. In Japan, health and nutrition claims handled separately, processing via different regulatory route while, in China, the claims are restricted to the pre-defined twenty-seven health claims.

Following excel sheet gives an overview of regulatory dynamics of botanicals in India as well as two Asia-pacific markets- China and Japan. 

Risk of food fraud in India and present traceability mechanisms:

According to the authentication solution providers’ association (ASPA) state of counterfeiting in India 2020 report, overall counterfeit incidents in India rose by 24% y-o-y between 2018 and 2019 especially for food and beverage items. 

FMCG sector is most vulnerable as counterfeit incidents in the sector increased by 63% between 2018 to 2019.   This counterfeiting includes adulteration, smuggling, trademark infringement, packaging and labelling fraud and manufacturing of products that purposefully closely imitates the appearance of an original product to mislead a consumer. 

Most counterfeited food and beverage items in India are – cumin seeds – made from stone powder and broom bits), mustard cooking oil and ghee. Illegally produced liquor. 

Moreover, in herbal sector, unauthenticated plant materials and issues arising due to substandard variety of plant material in health foods and medicines is one of the biggest matter of concerns in India. 

However, as the new advancements in research and technologies are taking place, traceability mechanisms for herbal material are evolving which might result in promising footprints in Indian botanical sector. 

Following excel sheet gives an overview of food fraud scenario in India and present traceability mechanisms employed.

Trend and promising ingredients in Indian botanicals:

One of the most promising trends in Indian botanicals are herbal immunity boosters. Owing to the increasing prevalence of lifestyle-diseases and the pandemic scenario, Cure-to-care shift can be seen in India. Increasing awareness about health concerns driving the growth of herbal health products in India. 

Following excel sheet gives an overview of some trends which can be seen in Indian botanical market along with some promising immune health boosting herbal ingredients which can gain high demand in coming years.

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Direction regarding Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA)

On 2nd August’21 Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), has published new Recommended Diary Allowances (RDA) values for vitamins, minerals and amino acids for compliance by food Businesses.

The regulations shall come into force from 1st July, 2023. Food businesses may comply RDA 2010 or RDA 2020 till that time.

For more information kindly refer below data.

View PDF

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The Ever-growing World of Nutraceutical

On one hand, the accelerating impact of COVID-19 is adversely affecting the entire economy, on the other hand, people are becoming much concerned about their immune health which is a blessing in disguise. Why I call it a blessing in disguise is because- the shifting perspective of consumers from treatment to preventive care causing increasing adaptiveness toward natural, chemical-free remedies. And being the area of natural formulations, Nutraceuticals, as a sector, is flourishing like never before during the pandemic. Thus, along with the pharmaceutical industry, the Nutraceutical sector can also evolve as an industry supporting nation’s economy in a much fruitful manner in the pandemic and the years ahead.

Nutra-ingredients and Nutra-excipients- Market scope 

As per the research, the global Nutra-ingredient market is set to encounter an astonishing growth of USD 167.3 million by 2026 with a CAGR of 4%. The market was accounted for USD 127 Million in 2019 and it is growing inevitably every year. The same goes for Nutra-excipients as well which are projected to reach USD 5.2 billion by 2026 growing at the CAGR of 8.1% from USD 3 billion in 2019.

This impressive growth in the Nutra-ingredients area is expected to be governed by probiotics as several innovative end products getting launched into the market nowadays are some or the other form of probiotics which are gaining much popularity among the population. Functional foods being always the topic of enthusiasm in the Nutra industry will generate sizable revenues in coming years.

Now talking about Nutra-excipients like fillers, diluents, coating agents, binders, disintegrants, flavouring agents, and many more, out of which binder segment is expected to gain much yield owing to the increasing formulations of natural-ingredient based tablets and capsules which require binding of powders, granules, and other ingredients.

Looking at the large population with increasing demand for natural supplements owing to the changing lifestyle and rising incidences of lifestyle diseases, the Asia Pacific region is poised to witness much growth in the Nutraceutical sector in coming years.

Growth boosters

The growth engine of the Nutra industry has many drivers which are efficiently traveling toward the prosperous future of Nutraceuticals. In the pandemic situation, rising awareness about immune health and preventive care is one of the highly distinguishable growth drivers of Nutraceuticals. Other than this, below discussed are four major growth boosters of nutraceuticals that will continue to drive this growth engine even after the pandemic.

  1. Life-style diseases- This growth driver will never disappoint the Nutra sector in terms of gaining revenues in recent times. Ever-growing incidences of heart-related diseases, diabetes, obesity, etc insisting consumers to opt for safe and natural nutraceuticals which not only prevent such diseases but also improve the quality of life. An aging population is also on the rise which is making a way for the entry of new nutraceuticals into the market.
  2. Changing preferences- Owing to the rising awareness about the nutritional benefits, safety, and therapeutic efficacies of Nutraceuticals, consumers are increasingly becoming adaptive toward chemical-free natural solutions to manage the diseases. Health consciousness coupled with increasing disposal income leading to a new lifestyle which is much oriented around the natural world of nutraceuticals than pharmaceuticals.

A high preference for a balanced diet and food fortification is trending nowadays which is further fuelling the growth of dietary supplements and functional foods.

  1. Escalating healthcare cost- Expensive pharmaceutical drugs and high charges of hospitals are some of the biggest factors which are forcing consumers to focus on their immune health to avoid the healthcare facilities which no more pocket-friendly.
  2. Innovations- With the increasing interventions of government to boost the research and development in the field of nutraceuticals, new technological innovations are taking place which are not only more efficacious than before but also are cost-effective. Excipients used nowadays mostly poses multifunctional properties which lower the cost of the end product. This ultimately generates high scope for innovative end results in the nutraceutical market.

The nutraceutical industry is all set to explore new market opportunities and support the economy of the country in a much constructive way. The only thing which the producer should keep in mind is- keeping an eye on evolving consumer needs and responding to them. Consumers have always loved experimenting and exploring innovations, producers should offer new experiences to consumers in order to gain attention and secure a sustainable position in the Nutraceuticals market.

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Regulatory reforms in Nutraceuticals and Nutrition World

Introduction: 

Nutraceuticals and nutrition foods, though popular in other parts of the world, was a new concept in India when FSSAI started functioning on 5th August, 2011. USA, Europe, Japan, China and other developed nations were the only consumer of Nutraceuticals and Health Supplements. It was used mostly by the health conscious consumers who are affluent also.
With passage of time, these products find acceptability among a larger chunk of the health conscious populations. Credit goes to the medical professionals and nutritionists who advocated consumption of nutraceuticals and nutrition products. FSSAI has also notified Health Supplements, Nutraceuticals, Food for Special Dietary Use, Food for Special Medical Purpose, Functional Food and Novel Food Regulations,2016. Since the regulations was new not only to the Food Business Operators (FBOs) but also to the Food Safety Officers (FSOs), enforcement of the regulations was effective from 1st January ,2018.
While implementing the regulations, a number of short comings have been noticed and need of the regulatory reforms has been discussed.

Recommended Daily Allowance for Indians (RDAI): 

As per Section 22(1)(a)(II), foods for special dietary uses or functional foods or nutraceuticals or health supplements may contain minerals or vitamins or proteins or metals or their compounds or amino acids ( in amounts not exceeding the Recommended Daily Allowance for Indians ) or enzymes ( within permissible limits ). RDA is different for different countries. USFDA have both minimum and maximum RDA whereas in India, we have no maximum and minimum limits.
Indian Council of Medical Research submitted a report of the expert group in 2010 to update the nutrient requirements and dietary allowance for Indians. FSSAI also adopted the RDAI recommendations of the National Institute of Nutrition – Indian Council of Medical Research (NIN-ICMR), Hyderabad.
Quantity of nutrients added to the articles of food shall not exceed the RDAI as specified by the ICMR and in case such standards are not specified, the standards laid down by international food standards body, namely Codex Alimentarius Commission, shall apply.
A nutraceutical which is not provided in these regulations, shall be manufactured or sold in India only on prior approval of the FSSAI which shall be accompanied by documented history of usage of at least fifteen years in India, or thirty years in the country of origin.

Need for Regulatory reforms

In the last few years, there have been tremendous growth of Health Supplements and Nutraceuticals business all over the world. A number of new ingredients / products have been found to be very effective on health related issues. Also, the present level of RDAI of ICMR appears to be insufficient to give desired effect.
NIN – ICMR conducted study to revise the RDAI. Meanwhile, they have submitted a report on Tolerable Upper Limit (TUL) for vitamins and minerals. FSSAI also issued a circular on TUL. However, Section 22(1)(a)(II) of the FSS Act, prohibits the use of more than one RDAI, TUL is of no help unless the FSS Act is suitably amended .
FSSAI also notified 400 botanical ingredients in Schedule IV of the regulations, which can be used as an ingredient in health supplements and nutraceuticals. For approval of any ingredient which is not specified in Schedule IV, application along with fees of Rs 50,000/ plus safety studies and regulatory status to be submitted to the FSSAI. Since some of the ingredients/products do not have documented history of use of 30 years in the country of origin, these are not allowed by the FSSAI. Even if these are available, FSSAI insists clinical trial of these products on Indian population which is time consuming and costly affair for the food business operators.
During the present COVID-19 Pandemic situation, a number of health supplements and nutrition products have been found to be effective immunity booster in overseas countries. But these products are not allowed by the FSSAI as these products have ingredients with higher RDAI. As per existing ICMR guidelines, RDAI for vitamin C is 40mg and zinc is 12 mg whereas most of these immunity booster contain 500/1000 mg vitamin C and 50 mg zinc.

Joint Parliamentary Standing Committee Report:
Department – related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare, presented 110th report on “Functioning of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India ” on 9th August, 2018 to the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.
As former Director, FSSAI, I was an invited member and submitted my suggestions, most of which were considered and included in the report. The committee learnt about Health Supplements and Nutraceuticals regulations of the FSSAI.
The committee recommended that FSSAI should systematically evaluate the performance of the FSS Act, it’s rules and regulations. Amendments required in the FSS Act were also recommended.

Proposed Amendments of the FSS Act
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, vide its public notice of September 23, 2020 invited comments and suggestions on the proposed FSS ( Amendment  ) Bill, 2020.
It has been suggested that under Section 22(1)(a)(II) of the FSS Act, “in amounts not exceeding the Recommended Daily Allowance for Indians” to be deleted and replaced with by TUL as now it is officially determined by NIN-ICMR too.
All derivatives, salts, chelates, esters and related forms of vitamins and minerals mentioned in Schedule I of the Health Supplements, Nutraceuticals regulations may be used. Methylcobalamin, L- Methylfolate shall be included under vitamins as well as in the respective Schedule I and Schedule VI.
There is an urgent need to amend the regulations, particularly to allow novel food/ingredient which will be manufactured under the Prime Minister’s “Make in India” programme. In a rapidly changing world, we should not wait for documented history of usage of at least fifteen years in India, or thirty years in the country of origin. This condition should be deleted.

Conclusion
Regulatory reforms is a continuous process. Procrastination in granting approval of novel food/ ingredient hampers the economy of the country. Scientific evolution should be encouraged to boost the Health Supplements and Nutraceuticals industry which offers enough scope not only for domestic markets but also export.

The article has been written by Mr. Pradip Chakraborty (Former Director of FSSAI) and published by Interlink Insight Vol 19 issue 2. 

About Author: Pradip Chakraborty, Former Director, FSSAI
Email: pradipchakraborty91@yahoo.com

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Need for Regulatory Globalization in Nutra

With escalating awareness about Preventive care and health consciousness, Nutraceutical market is growing at a rapid pace in today’s world. The market worth more than $382.5 billion this year and it is expected to reach the market value of $722.4 billion by the end of 2025. Looking at the annual growth rate, in my opinion, Nutra market surely willmake impressive business in upcoming years.

Although the market is expected to strike gold in near future, the regulatory landscape of this sector is emerging as a ‘holding back factor’ for market’s growth. The Nutra regulatory system seem to evolve very slowly compared to the growing number of products being placed into the market. Looking at therisk of fake and unregulated product, market today is asking for strict regulation measures in this field. Being in the grey area between diet and drugs, it is important to clearly identify their specificity in view of their possible use and utility in the pharmaceutical arena.

Drawbacks in Nutra Regulatory framework:

1. No legally globalized definition:
The word ‘Nutraceuticals’ is coined by Stephen DeFeliceand according to him, Nutraceutical is “food or part of a food that provides medical or health benefits, including the prevention and/or treatment of a disease”. This was the basic definition available for nutraceuticals but is every country following the same definition? Absolutely not! Canada refers to nutraceuticals as “natural health products” while the United States calls them “dietary supplements.” So, while setting up a Nutra-marketing campaign in any particular country, finding a right legal definition used in that country becomes a greatest concern to reaches the right audience and avoids confusion. CHART 1 is consisting of definitions of various nomenclatures of Nutraceuticals in some major countries.

2. No uniformity in Regulations:
The lack of shared legislations around the world creates a big confusion while marketing Nutraceutical products worldwide. Proper understanding about the regulations and active regulatory bodies is mandatory for effective marketing. For example, according to Dietary Supplement, Health and Education Act (DSHEA) in US, a dietary supplement should be “a product (other than tobacco) intended to supplement the diet that bears or contains one or more of the following dietary ingredients: vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs or other botanicals; a concentrate, metabolite, constituent, extract or combination of the ingredients listed above.” Likewise, in other countries, the formula requirements for the Nutraceutical product might be much different than stated above. Same goes for labelling requirements, they also should be properly studied for the respective country before marketing.

3. Unsubstantiated health claims:
Lack of safety, efficacy and scientific data are the main hurdles while obtaining health claim approval for Nutraceutical products. Nutraceuticals generally are tested only in invitro studies whose evidences are pretty unreliable to comment on thesafety of product. Nutraceuticals are lagging far behind in the field of In vivoresearch, which are obligatory to pass any health claim. Scarcity of regulations in this field to hold back the false claims is still worsening the condition of regulatory landscape.
So, while marketing any Nutraceutical, to protect the sales and credibility of the company, care has to be taken that it should not be marketed as a ‘drug’ (because drugs undergo heavy research and in vivo studies to achieve the health claim).

Country Nomenclature for Nutraceuticals Definition
US Dietary supplements A product (other than tobacco) intended to supplement the diet that bears or contains one or more of the following dietary ingredients: vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs or other botanicals; a concentrate, metabolite, constituent, extract or combination of the ingredients listed above
European Union food supplements Food product whose purpose is to supplement the normal diet and which consists of a concentrated source of nutrients or other substances with nutritional effects or physiological, single or in combination, marketed in dosed formulations, such as capsules, tablets, tablets or pills, designed to be taken in small individual quantities measured
India Foods for special dietary use or functional foods or nutraceuticals or health supplements Each Nomenclature has different definition in FSSAI

(Website: www.fssai.gov.in)

Canada Natural Health Products Substances such as probiotics, herbal remedies, vitamins and minerals, Homeopathic medicines, traditional medicines such as traditional Chinese medicines and other products like amino acids and essential fatty acids
Japan Foods for Specified Health foods containing ingredient with functions for health and officially approved to claim its physiological effects on the human body
             CHART 1

4. Lack of Good manufacturing practices:
According to Nutraceuticals World, recent FDA GMP inspections indicated that a good number of dietary supplement manufacturers are not fully compliant with GMPs. Noncompliance with the specifications for ingredients as well as for finished product were investigated. Common violation in this field is failure in verifying purity, identity, composition and strength standards of product batch. This is the major concern seen in the Nutraceutical sector for years.

Owing to all such regulatory deformities, full export potential of Nutraceutical sector cannot be achieved which could be a serious issue with respect to country’s economic status. Sanjaya Mariwala, founder-president of the Association of Herbal and Nutraceuticals Manufacturers of India said, “The governing ecosystem for nutraceuticals needs a serious rethink along with clarity on defining the scope of the sector and its product portfolio. The need of the hour is the creation of a comprehensive HSN [Harmonized System of Nomenclature] repository, with prompt resolution of grievances and export promotion initiatives by a centralised regulatory body, to give teeth to the sector.” He also added, “with limited attention being accorded, the sector’s full export potential cannot be achieved.”

Various countries do have some well-designed regulations for Nutraceuticals but lack of efficient implementation of these guidelines leading to fluctuating outcomes when compared with pharmaceutical sector.
Following are some of the suggestions if implemented can show some positive moves in regulatory framework of Nutraceutical:

  • Globalization of guidelines: By executing a well-planned analysis ofexisting regulations employed in various countries and selecting the best approaches can achieve uniformity in regulatory framework worldwide. 
  • Like Pharmacopeia, why not Nutracopeia? :An official publication containing a list of natural drugs with their effects, directions for use, tests, etc. can be generated to implement consistency in the regulatory field like pharmaceuticals. 
  •  Implementation of transparency by governing bodies
  • Risk assessment and verification technologies tied up with more solid inspections and stringent audits
  • Like for pharmaceuticals, well-developed laboratories for effective testing and evaluation can be generated to maintain the standards of Nutraceuticals. 
  • Internationalization of business to sustain the credibility of employed regulations. 
  • Executing regular surveys to assess the degree of improvement 

A restructuring of the entire regulatory framework of Nutraceuticals is necessary to put forth their different purposes and universal definition.Also, to assess their specific role in the prevention and treatment of pathological conditions whichcan be proven by sound scientific and clinical data. A clear and shared regulation system that clearly indicates requirements for quality, efficacy, mechanism of action, safety and a better control can lead to higher quality productswhich could benefit potential consumers as well as the industry.
On the door of 2021, we can clearly see the bright future of life sciences industry ahead, but only when abide by updated regulations. Many more regulations are obliged to come with hidden procedural challenges for compliance. Manufacturers have to be awake with their eyes wide open while launching and marketing products in the presence of new and varying regulations. Keeping track of changing regulatory system is the only way to be updated and profited.
The article has been written by Dr. Smarta-CMD Interlink and published by Saffron Media.

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Indian Advantage: Nutraceutical Industry

As the world was already combating different economic, religious and geographical issues, a virus swiftly crept in and helped us realize what matters. Health undoubtedly is the only wealth we have. With the second wave on the door, people are now fully aware what immunity exactly stands for. With World Health Organisation (WHO) recommending herbal ways to fuel our immunities, we are now adjusting the focus of our lenses toward Nutraceutical industry in a different and modern ways. Preventive care rather than curative care is now establishing all over world.

Understanding Nutraceutical in Global Terms:

Being relatively new entrant in the field of health, Nutraceuticals is always merged with different streams of knowledge such as Pharmaceuticals, Food or even Traditional Medicines (Ayurveda). The line between Nutraceuticals and these streams is so blurred that it is always difficult to differentiate. Let us take an example of Tryptophan; it is present in milk as a nutrient and when the dose exceeds its activity can be drug-like. It is used as pre-cursor of Serotonin to treat patients of insomnia.

Basically all over world, the definition of Nutraceutical is based on two aspects: first is its origin and second is its health benefit. Now let us see nomenclature of nutraceuticals in various countries. The United States describes them as “Dietary Supplements,” in Canada they’re notified as “Natural Health Products” and in Japan those are listed as “Foods for Special Health Use (FOSHU)”.

The Indian definition (as per the Food Safety and Security Act, 2006-FSSA) is as follows:

Foods which are specially processed or formulated to satisfy particular dietary requirements which exist because of a particular physical or physiological condition or specific diseases and disorders and which are presented as such, wherein the composition of these foodstuffs must differ significantly from the composition of ordinary foods of comparable nature, if such ordinary foods exist, and may contain one or more of the following ingredients, namely:

  1. plants or botanicals or their parts in the form of powder, concentrate or extract in water, ethyl alcohol or hydro alcoholic extract, single or in combination;
  2. minerals or vitamins or proteins or metals or their compounds or amino acids (in amounts not exceeding the Recommended Daily Allowance for Indians) or enzymes (within permissible limits);
  3. substances from animal origin;
  4. a dietary substance for use by human beings to supplement the diet by increasing the total dietary intake

In 2016, FSSAI has also differentiated definition of Nutraceutical from Health Supplements, Food for Special Dietary Use, Food for Special Medical Purpose, Functional Food and Novel Food under section 22.

Indian Nutraceutical Industry: Roots from Ayurveda, Stems of Nutraceuticals:

India has a rich heritage of herbal, Ayurvedic medicines and spices that can stand the country’s nutraceutical industry in a good way for expansion and progress. The herbal segment is likely to contribute 30 % of the dietary supplements market in India, expected to grow CAGR of 20 % from 2015 to 2023.

Source: Interlink Knowledge Cell  
Fig. 1.1 Ayurveda- Pharma-Nutra Coexistence

Today India’s Government is devoted in providing a critical thrust to Ayurveda, Nutraceuticals, Pharmaceuticals, and Homeopathy. Primarily driven by key players like Dabur, Himalaya and the Baidyanath group, the industry has also seen relatively new, increasingly dominant entrants such as Patanjali. They play a crucial role in popularising Ayurveda and giving the sector a boost.

The Ancient Ayurvedic practices, Pharmaceuticals, and Nutraceuticals co-existence has been the cornerstone of India’s wellness (Fig 1.1). The industry has a distinct opportunity to propel the global acceptance of this co-existence.

Market Size:

Global Nutraceuticals market is poised to grow by USD 180.38 bn during 2020-2024, progressing at a CAGR of almost 9% during the forecast period, according to Technavio report.

Before Pandemic, India’s Nutraceutical market was worth USD 5 bn in 2019 and held only a 2% share of the global Nutraceuticals market. According to the research, the consumption level of nutraceuticals in India was 37% in the pre-COVID-19 days; this consumption rate will surely rise in the coming months or years as there is an increasing demand for preventive measures and also consumers are adopting a ‘pathy-agnostic’ attitude.

Out of this dietary supplements comprise almost 63 % of market share amounting to USD 3.16 bn and remaining 37% of the market share equivalents to USD 1.82 bn is captured by functional foods and beverages as shown in figure 1.2.

Source: Assocham Report 2019
Fig. 1.2 Indian Nutraceutical Market Size in Rupees K Cr (2019)

During the COVID-19 period, India has taught the world importance of Ayurveda and other medicinal plants like Ashwagandha. India has shown the world evidence-based Nutraceuticals, which are modernizing through current evidence gathering methodologies.

Top Indications in India:

  1. Immunity Building: This area definitely will make a huge amount of money in 2021, as being all-equipped for any uncertainty like Covid-19 is what we have learnt this year. Looking at current situation of ‘Prevention is better than cure’, supplements like Amul’s ‘Haldi Dudh’, Dabur’s products like Chawanprash, Giloy Ghanvati, Amla juice, Giloy-Tulsi-Neem juice, Ashwagandha, have reported a strong growth and will continue to grow in upcoming years. According to reportlinker.com, Indian immunity boosting packaged products market is projected to reach USD 347 mn by FY 2026 owing to increasing consciousness and focus towards preventive health.

The Ingredients like Vit D, Vit. C, Zinc. Curcumin, Selenium and Probiotics have seen surge in market demand. Along with these, other ingredients like Asthaxanthin, Polyphenols from pomegranate, Glutathione and extracts of Indian spices like Ginger and Garlic and are also considered to be important ingredients to build immunity.

  1. Cognition: The Global Brain Health Supplements Market is anticipated to reach USD 5,813 mn by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 8.8% from 2017 to 2023. Nowadays, this segment is gaining popularity among many people due to rise in willingness to enhance brain functions, surge in number of self-directed consumers, and increased awareness among the students about brain health supplements. We can expect a good business in these area from the supplements containing ingredients like ginseng, Ginkgo biloba, curcumin, lion’s mane, Bacopa monnieri, acetyl-L-carnitine, alpha GPC, citicoline, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), huperzine A, etc. Looking at evolving mindsets and health consciousness in people, contribution of above discussed segments will have a substantial impact on growth of Indian Nutra industry.
  2. Stress Management: Stress a major culprit in everyone’s life, not only physical but also mental stress. Ashwagandha, widely known as Indian ginseng, which has been used in Ayurvedic medicines for centuries. Rhodiola, also known as Golden Root, is an adoptogenic herb and used for energy enhancement, to reduce stress and to deal with fatigue.
  3. Gut Health: Since our digestion is associated with overall health of human body, gut health is very important foundation in managing the various lifestyle diseases. Probiotics are the live beneficial bacteria which internally cover our digestive tract and aid digestion of food and absorption of nutrient. Probiotics build our immunity system and help synthesizing essential vitamins. Factors like excessive stress and overdose of some antibiotic can kill these good bacteria and compromises the gut health. To avoid all this, probiotics such as yogurt, kefir, idli, paneer and fermented soyabeans are rich sources of probiotics. Having this in our daily diet help fighting obesity symptoms, immunity problems and various cardiovascular diseases. Vit. Bs, Vit. C, and Vit. D are some essential vitamins in maintaining the gut health. As B vitamins are water soluble, they can’t be stored in body cells and need to supply externally. Vit. B1, B3, B6, biotin and Vit. B12 can be gained regularly with having a diet rich in fish, poultry, meat, and dairy products, as well as leafy greens and beans.
  4. Nutrients in Skin Health: Healthy skin reflects the status of our entire body, healthy skin-healthy body! If right nutrient is supplied, it will not only make your skin healthy but also it makes you look younger which further boosts our self-confidence. Discussed below are some dietary supplements essential in maintaining skin health.

Vitamins are highly essential for our body and unavoidable part of our daily diet. Variety of vitamins carry out variety of bodily functions. Our skin also requires sufficient quantity of vitamins to be healthier and younger. Vitamins C, E, A, K, and B complex are some skin benefiting vitamins should be there in our meal. L-ascorbic acid is a good source of Vit. C. It can penetrate our skin and serve the antioxidant properties and benefits of Vit. C. Vitamin A is required for the maintenance and repair of skin tissue so it should also be provided through diet.

What lies ahead?

With growing importance of naturally derived ingredients, scientific understanding of plant extracts and globally evolving regulations, a budding export market is opening up for Indian Nutraceuticals. Coupled with this, products innovated as per consumer preferences; creative packaging and innovative delivery systems have already started gaining market share.

India having heritage of Ayurveda, ethnopharmacological advantage, technological skills from pharmaceutical industry, rich availability of raw availability, increase in technology access like nanotechnology, reverse pharmacology knowledge have skills to bring quality and safe products to the world.

Looking at all these satisfactory reasons, it’s not wrong to state that the future of Indian Nutraceutical sector in upcoming years would be as Glorious as our Pharmaceutical sector. Let’s just simply rely on our royal heritage of herbal medicines to work efficiently in this field and see the magic happening.

The article is written by Dr. Smarta and is published by Pharma Times.

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Women’s nutrition in New Normal Era

“Communities and countries and ultimately the world are only as strong as the health of their women.” – Michelle Obama

I think, this single sentence is enough to portray woman’s stance as a family member and as a citizen of any country she is living in. There would not be deeper explanation of how important her health is. Women are keys in maintaining healthy families, access the health system more than men, both for themselves and on behalf of their children. Many become pregnant and give birth, then typically become their child’s primary caregiver, a role that greatly influences household health overall. No doubt, during all this, they undergo significant health events, they surely require Extra-pro-nutrients to fulfil their body demands. Every point in women’s lifespan asks for different nutrition and attitude toward it. No matter what her age is, it’s important to be aware of how one’s needs evolve.

With evolving world, woman is also evolving. While running behind kids and family, she is also fulfilling her financial and social responsibilities very efficiently. In the race of highlighting her identity, for ages, modern woman is facing many health issues which is the greatest concern for her as well as for the society.

Source: Interlink knowledge cell

Img. 1.1 Top 3 health issues which women should take care of

Stress a major culprit in everyone’s life, women are at the peak of it. Not only physical but also mental stress. With increasing demand of women in various industries, her stress is proportionally increasing. Women are more prone toward heart diseases and diabetes than men, which is the risk factor arising due sleep problems, anxiety, mood disturbances (due to hormonal changes), depression, etc. Being engaged in number of responsibilities, many women struggle with eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly, talking to friends or a mental health professional, and engaging in relaxation techniques and meditation. Due to this reason, it’s important to get accompanied with some nutrients while living in this competitive world.

Ashwagandha, widely known as Indian ginseng, which has been used in Ayurvedic medicines for centuries. If women take some powdered Ashwagandha accompanied with milk, it can help her with fighting both physical and mental stress. Same as Ashwagandha, Rhodiola is an adoptogenic herb, also known as Golden Root, is used for energy enhancement, to improve mood, and most critically, to reduce stress.

Along with all the above nutrients, women can focus on intaking a good amount of Vit. B complex rich food, magnesium supplements, and valerian root powder. All these are proven to help fighting with stressors and improve quality of life.

Heart disorder is one of the major concerns and women are most susceptible to it. Increased blood cholesterol, diabetes, and hypertension are the underlying disorders arise with it. Thyroid is also one of the major reasons stimulating heart disorders in women. To fight with this, women should have EPA, DHA and flavonoids rich foods, which are great antioxidants. A higher intake of folate, polyphenols rich diet, ascorbate, tocopherol, minerals (selenium, magnesium) which are capable of scavenging free radicals and reducing bad cholesterol, can improve overall cardiovascular health.

Anaemia and women make an unbreakable bond if proper nutrients are not supplied. Menstruating and loosing plenty amount of iron every month, women are majorly vulnerable to iron deficiency anaemia. Adolescent girls, women at childbearing age and pregnant women are always at the high risk. Having a diet containing a good amount of iron along with a source of Vit. C which increases absorption of iron can help preventing anaemia at all the stages of women’s life. Beans, lenticles, dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, fortified breakfast cereals, baked potatoes, chicken, etc are some of the easily available natural sources of iron which can maintain levels of iron balanced in women’s body.

Nutrition for girls in childhood and early teenage

Calcium in early teenage: It’s true that calcium is the nutrient which is important for women in all ages, but it’s still more important for girls during adolescence and early adulthood as this is the age when their bones absorb maximum amount of calcium. RDA for girls in age of 9 to 18 is 1300 mg a day which can be fulfilled by having low-fat dairy products such as Milk, yogurt, cheese and vegetables like broccoli, kale, cabbage, etc. Consuming adequate amounts of calcium along with vitamin D can encourage healthy bone growth and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures later in life.

Nutrition for women in 20-30s and pregnancy

20-30s is the whole roller-coaster in any woman’s life where major changes are happening including the most important i.e., Pregnancy. Having a life (or lives) in their bellies and making a whole human out of it is not an easy task to handle. Lots of hormonal changes, mood swings and variety of body changes happen during this phase, no doubt her body and mind will demand for more and advanced nutrition. Even if she is not pregnant, 20-30s is the phase which requires proper attention in terms of nutrition to avoid future health problems

Folate & other essential vitamins: A very important nutrient which is must in these years as it is responsible for DNA replication and it helps reduce the risk of neural tube defects in the foetus. Most doctors recommend women take a supplement containing folic acid or folate before trying to get pregnant to help reduce the risk of these complications. spina bifida and anencephaly in foetus are some neuronal defects associated with folate deficiency.  Many of our foods, particularly cereals, are fortified with folic & leafy vegetables are best source of folate. RDA of folate during pregnancy is 600 mcg.

Omega 3s and choline: Omega 3s, healthy oils, especially EPA and DHA,  have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, the number one killer of women. They help building healthy brain and nerve cells and also can help prevent preterm births. They are also highly anti-inflammatory and are found in foods like fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds.  Taking omega-3s regularly can improve symptoms of depression and anxiety and can even make skin look better by reducing acne and wrinkles. The recommended total amount of omega-3s per day for women is 1.1 grams per day which can be fulfilled by diet and recommended supplements. Increased risk of neural tube defects in foetus is one of the major consequences of low choline uptake by pregnant women. It’s easy to get enough choline from our diet as eggs, milk, peanuts are excellent source of Choline.

Nutrition for women in their 40s and beyond:

Managing decreasing hormone levels as well as maintaining bone health, heart diseases and autoimmune diseases are some of the biggest concerns for women at this phase.

After menopause, estrogen production declines and bone breakdown accelerates, increasing the risk of developing osteoporosis. Women between the ages of 40 and 70 need 1200 mg of calcium and 600 IU of Vitamin D a day. Because the skin becomes less efficient at converting sunlight to vitamin D as we age, low levels of vitamin D have been linked to multiple diseases from breast cancer to diabetes and high blood pressure. Vitamin D is also critically important for helping maintain bone health.

Curcumin, an active component of turmeric, known to have many anti-inflammatory benefits. Women at this stage require supplements to support brain and joint health, curcumin can help with it. Alzheimer’s disease, one of the biggest enemies at this age can be prevented with this magical phytochemical. Curcumin is especially powerful for menopause because it is a phytoestrogen, meaning it can act as an estrogen in the body. This can help alleviate common menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes, mood swings, and sleep disorders, by slowing the decrease in estrogen. RDA of curcumin in this age is 1.4mg per pound of body weight.

women’s control over resources and their ability to make decisions, is crucial. Combining nutrition-specific interventions with measures for empowerment of women is essential. Improvement in health services of women, prevention of early age marriage and conception, completion of secondary education, enhancement in purchasing power of women, reduction of work drudgery and elimination of domestic violence deserve special attention. A range of programme platforms dealing with health, education and empowerment of women could be strategically used for effectively reaching out women’s health and helping them to build a better and healthier society.

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