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:
- 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;
- 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);
- substances from animal origin;
- 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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.