Functional foods and dietary supplements with ingredients aimed at bolstering the immune system and optimizing brain functioning will be some of the key trends affecting the nutrition sector in 2010, according to research to be published in Nutrition Business Journal.

Immunity-support ingredients: Amid fears of the spreading H1N1 flu virus, immune-boosting ingredients in nutritional supplements and added to foods will become even more popular. They include: antioxidants, beta-glucans - a fiber-type of sugar compound present in oats, barley and yeast that enhances the functioning of the immune system - and botanicals like elderberry and echinacea.

Brain-boosters: Baby-boomers, children thought to have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and their stressed-out parents will all be likely marketing targets for new cognitive health products, according to the forecast. Omega-3, long thought to be linked to improved cerebral functioning will be a key component of cognitive-related products, whether for mood or mental clarity. New branded ingredients will be emerging while global food giants like Nestle will be focusing more on cognitive health research.

Prebiotics to help probiotics: Based on a raft of studies showing that probiotics - live microorganisms that fight off bad bacteria and are found in yogurts and fermented milk drinks - work better in combination with prebiotics fiber, which help good bacteria grow and flourish, the combo will be added to many nutritional supplements. And because they have fiber in them, they'll also be getting more attention.

Baobab: Expected to be the next superfruit, the fruit from the African tree should soon overcome regulatory hurdles in the European Union and the United States. Baoabab tree extract also contains high amounts of riboflavin, niacin, vitamins C, A, D and will likely turn up more in dietary supplements and functional formulations. The extract already has been used in many personal care products because of its supermoisturizing properties.

Hemp: With medical marijuana being spared by the Obama administration, hemp, a derivative of the cannabis plant, also stands to benefit. Hemp has many health benefits not only because of its high protein content, but also its high amounts of essential amino acids and essential fatty acids (omega-3). It will be formulated into more preparations like water-soluble hemp-protein concentrations. It's also considered a brain food and stimulates memory function.

Resveratrol: In light of recent media attention about the virtues of resveratrol (for heart health, as a fat-burner and a cancer-fighter), the phytonutrient that's found in the skin of grapes is likely to see major growth in the next year. Already, US sales of resveratrol dietary supplements reached $30 million in 2008 and total production volumes increased 100 percent.

A full report will be published in the January edition of Nutrition Business Journal.

 

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