Innovative Health Supplement Delivery Mechanisms

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Innovative Health Supplement Delivery Mechanisms

Key Takeaways

  • Supplement delivery in the form of gummies has been a trend that's been gaining momentum over the past couple of years.
  • There are companies that market transdermal patches that purportedly treat hearing loss. For example, this company claims to have created a patch that's capable of spreading active ingredients directly through the skin to treat tinnitus and deafness.
  • Liposomes have been used as a drug delivery vehicle for the administration of pharmaceutical drugs and vitamins. Liposomal vitamins do not use tablets, powders, or capsules to deliver nutrients. Instead, the vitamins are encapsulated within "pockets of fat cells called liposomes."

Introduction

Pharmaceutical and health companies are constantly searching for novel methods to make supplementation simpler and more efficient. However, one of the limitations of novel delivery methods for supplements is that in the United States, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 imposes a very narrow definition of items that can be called a dietary supplement; according to the Act, a dietary supplement is a supplement that's administered orally, swallowed, and then "absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract;" as such, product in the form of inhalables, vapes, sprays, and transdermal patches may not have a home inside of dietary supplements based on its ruling. This research report contains 2-3 examples for each of the following health supplement industry niches: tooth/gum decay, hearing loss, nerve pain, and weight loss.

1) Weight Loss

Gummies

  • Gummies, as a delivery method, have traditionally been associated with supplements for children.
  • However, the number of products in gummy form has increased significantly over the past 36 months. For example, on Amazon's Prime Day, Goli's Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) gummies were the 2nd-most purchased product, with over 128,000 bottles sold, behind Apple's Airpods.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar has several health benefits, including management (e.g. weight loss).
  • One of the reasons for Goli's success is that ACV, in gummy form, helps to directly combat an issue with the traditional method of ACV consumption. ACV has a strong, unpleasant order with a taste that's generally described as acidic. The gummy format helps to mask the ACV smell and at the same time, provides a pleasant and sweet taste.
  • Goli has leaned heavily into this in its marketing. For example, the slogans/catchphrases, "Taste the Apple, Not the Vinegar," and "We're yummy!" are used in its marketing. The gummies are also in red, almost identical to a red apple.

Sublingual Drops

  • Sublingual administration involves placing the product under the tongue for it to dissolve and absorb into the user's blood through the tissue.
  • One company that offers this type of delivery is PhenRxm; its product employs a sublingual liquid delivery system, claiming to aid consumers with weight loss through appetite suppression.

2) Hearing Loss

Transdermal Patch

  • There are companies that market transdermal patches that purportedly treat hearing loss. For example, this company claims to have created a patch that's capable of spreading active ingredients directly through the skin to treat tinnitus and deafness.
  • Tinnitus is described commonly as ringing in the ears; people suffering from tinnitus generally have some degree of hearing loss.
  • Transdermal drug delivery is becoming increasingly popular as it allows for "a controlled release of medication."
  • Transdermal administration of medication can be superior as an alternative as it avoids "first-pass metabolism and drug deactivation by liver enzymes." However, there are disadvantages as well; for example, transdermal application of medications may cause skin irritation in some patients.

Liposomal Delivery

  • One is able to treat hearing loss related to exposure to loud noise through the supplementation of vitamins such as vitamin C.
  • Liposomal vitamins do not use tablets, powders, or capsules to deliver nutrients. Instead, the vitamins are encapsulated within "pockets of fat cells called liposomes." Liposomes have been used as a drug delivery vehicle for the administration of pharmaceutical drugs and vitamins.
  • There are several companies (e.g. NutriFlair) selling liposomal vitamin C in the market. Vitamin C, in the liposomal form, is considered ideal and even superior to tablet form; the reason for this is that vitamin C (ascorbic acid), especially in high doses, can cause high levels of acidity in the stomach, causing nausea in individuals that have a sensitive stomach.
  • Liposomal delivery is gentler on the stomach as the liposomes are easily absorbed into the individual's cells, with only tiny amounts going through the digestive system.

3) Nerve Pain

Tincture

  • Tinctures are made using a "solution of a medical substance in an alcoholic solvent."
  • The Herbal Toad markets tinctures containing medicinal herbs that purportedly relieve nerve pain; its tincture drops are able to be used under the tongue, diluted in water, or placed in hot water to be consumed as tea.

Sprays

  • Delivery of health supplements orally isn't always ideal as it may not be "absorbed properly due to gastrointestinal acid, enzymatic activity," and/or interference with food, drinks, or other types of medications.
  • Sprays are an alternative way to deliver health supplements to the body.
  • Nerve Pain Away claims to be a homeopathic topical solution spray that provides temporary relief from nerve pain; the main ingredient of the proprietary blend is extracted from the Hypericum Perforatum plant, a plant that's been recognized for its "temporary pain relief properties."

Balms

  • Circle Labs offer cannabidiol (CBD) products in the form of balms for the relief of nerve pain.
  • Circle Labs' balms reduce the discomfort brought on by nerve pain by inhibiting the production of Substance P; Substance P is an inflammatory agent that controls inflammation and pain.
  • Its method of delivery allows for penetration and relief in a matter of minutes.

4) Tooth Decay

Sprays

  • For individuals with advanced dental decay, methods of delivery that involve the usage of the teeth may pose a challenge. These individuals may opt to receive supplementation via an alternative delivery format. For example, there are sprays on the market that purportedly are able to relieve symptoms of toothache, ulcer, and dental decay.
  • This is one such product; its main ingredients include lithospermum erythrorhizon (a plant used as Chinese herbal medicine), honeysuckle, purified water, etc.

Liquid Vitamins/Liquid Drops

  • Liquid vitamins take less time "to break down and be absorbed" compared to traditional forms such as tablets.
  • However, one disadvantage is that liquid supplements generally have a shorter shelf life when compared to other forms of supplements, such as tablets.
  • Liquid vitamins are generally marketed towards young children older adults.
  • There are companies that market liquid drops that purportedly relieve toothaches brought on by ailments such as tooth decay.

Research Strategy

For this research on innovative health supplement delivery mechanisms for the assigned niches, we utilized the most recent and reputable resources that are publicly available such as WebMD, Healthline, VitaminC.co.uk, and more. We have supplemented each example with a company that utilizes the delivery method that we had identified.

Research proposal:

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