Supplement clinical research is more important than ever, particularly as the FTC has now mandated that all health claims associated with supplement products must be validated through scientific research (read: clinical trials!) With the recent push for clinical research across supplement brands of all sizes, there are a few trends that stand out in the research methods being used, the kinds of products being created, and the technologies that brands are choosing to implement. We provide an overview of six of the biggest supplement clinical trial trends we have noticed emerging in recent years.
This approach to supplements involves tailoring supplement interventions to an individual's unique nutritional needs, which can be determined by analyzing their biomarkers or genetic profile. Some supplement brands obtain basic information about customers’ wellness concerns and use this to tailor a supplement regime that will work for them. By using personalized nutrition, researchers can design more targeted interventions that may be more effective than a one-size-fits-all approach.
This approach can be seen in brands such as care/of, which offer customized vitamin and supplement routines for customers after they respond to a simple quiz detailing their health and wellness concerns. Previously on the blog, we took a closer look at personalized supplements using care/of as a case study to determine the health benefits offered by this trend.
Biomarkers for Measuring Progress
Biomarkers are used in supplement clinical trials to assess the impact of supplements on specific health outcomes. For example, researchers may use biomarkers such as blood glucose levels or lipid profiles to assess the effectiveness of supplements on diabetes or cardiovascular disease. By using biomarkers, researchers can get a more accurate picture of how supplements are affecting the body.
Focus on preventative health
There is an increasing focus on supplement clinical trials that are designed to prevent chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. This approach is based on the idea that supplements can be used as part of a preventative health strategy, in addition to lifestyle changes such as exercise and healthy eating.
This shift toward prevention over treatment has also been seen in women’s health, particularly in supplement brands that target PMS symptoms through hormonal balancing symptoms taken throughout the entire cycle. This is also evident in supplements aimed at skin health from within, which tend to be formulated with gut-loving probiotics that may reduce inflammation in the skin before breakouts even start.
Many supplement clinical trials are conducted in collaboration with industry partners. This collaboration can provide access to funding, expertise, and resources that may not be available to academic researchers. However, it is important to ensure that industry collaborations are transparent and that the research is conducted with integrity.
This is also seen in brands’ collaboration with influencers and other brands on social media, which has led to unique products being formulated and researched through a joint effort between two brands.
Incorporating New Biotechnologies
Advances in technology, such as wearable devices and mobile apps, are being used in supplement clinical trials to monitor participant behavior and collect data remotely. These technologies can provide more accurate and detailed data than traditional methods and can help researchers to understand how supplements are affecting the body in real-world settings.
Similarly to biomarkers, wearable technologies offer brands the chance to up their research game and gather real-time, robust scientific data on their products’ performance.
Interest in Natural Products
There is a growing interest in the use of natural products, such as herbal supplements, in supplement clinical trials. These products are often perceived as having fewer side effects than synthetic supplements and may be seen as a more "natural" alternative. However, it is important to note that natural products can still have side effects and may interact with other medications, so it is important to conduct thorough research before releasing them and to create realistic product claims that don’t overstate the supplements’ effects.
Overall, supplement clinical research is seeing big shifts that mirror the latest health and wellness trends. A new focus on personalized medicine, natural products, and research that involves biotechnologies and robust measures of participants’ progress while using supplements have all contributed to the current state of supplement clinical trials. Brands of all sizes should conduct clinical trials on their supplements in order to provide the safest and most effective products to their customers and should consider implementing some of these trends into their formulation and research.
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