Regulators cannot keep up with consumer demand for mental health supplements


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Clinical pharmacologist and pharmaco-nutritionist Dr. Paul Clayton said many companies have formulated products but the legislation has paralyzed sales in various markets. However, he cited Singapore and Lithuania as exemplary in public health policies. Singapore has adopted innovative policies, while Lithuania has banned smoking in many areas.

“You can see the positive impact of the policy on public health. PUnfortunately, politicians are largely scientifically illiterate. We could find a way to convince them to take public health more seriously. One way is to approach them through medics. Physicians have a disproportionate influence on policy making, at least in the early stages. Improving public health is very cost effective,” said dr Clayton, Fellow at the UK Institute for Food, Brain and Behaviour.

Other speakers were Dr. Lesley Braun, Director at Blackmores Institute; Professor Emeritus Peter Howe from the University of Newcastle, Australia; Ewa Hudson, Director of Insights at Lumina Intelligence; Gillian Fish, Founder and CEO of The 6AM Agency; Angus Brown, co-founder and CEO of Ārepa; Ramesh Krish Kumar, co-founder and CEO of Asmara; and Kirsten Taylor, director of the New Zealand Sleep and Wellness Centre.

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Taylor shared that demand for vitamins and SleepDrops has increased during the past year during the pandemic, showing consumers are prioritizing health. In terms of communications, however, Fish encouraged companies to look at consumer behavior and triggers, such as the causes of insomnia. After that, consumers should be provided with relevant knowledge.

“A massive amount of relevant content that is effective is key because this is where the battle between brands is won.”added fish.

Demand for mental wellness supplements has also been underpinned by Brown, whose company has seen sales explode during the pandemic. According to him, consumers were looking for two benefits, spirit and happiness.

Due to the growing demand, Dr. Braun presents a compendium on stress, physiological effects and the latest findings for pharmacists. In addition, she highlighted trending adaptogens like ashwagandha, CoQ10 and ginseng to relieve stressors.

“When you work with adaptogens, you understand which are fast-acting and long-term builders. Ashwaganda for example. Research shows you get a same-day response.” she said.

For Hudson, psychobiotics are the eighth growing probiotic supplements in APAC for 2021. She defined psychobiotics as probiotics that support the gut-brain axis, such as: B. Mood and cognitive health. The most important market for the dietary supplement was China, followed by Australia and India.

“Consumers are increasingly taking probiotics as a treatment and definitely beyond digestion and immunity. The big picture is that it was zero four years ago, but in APAC today it’s up 35,000% in ratings.”said Hudson.

Prof. Howe discussed resveratrol, a polyphenol that may improve circulatory function. After conducting several clinical researches, he found that it is most effective in improving blood flow. Resveratrol also showed an impact on mood, he said.

Speaking on Asian ingredients in the panel discussion, Kumar highlighted the trend of reviving local sources as dietary supplements such as saffron and holy basil. However, the challenge lies in the dosage forms, as consumers prefer to incorporate them into beverages or food.

Supporting Supplements

At the end of the event, Dr. Clayton facilitated educating the public about scientific truth and stopping the use of “toxic” products as public health deteriorated.

“I think this is a call for arms. We need to change this regulatory system. We all know that it has been co-opted by big pharmaceutical companies. They have their boots pressed to our throats, making it impossible for us to speak freely.

“We pointed our guns in the wrong direction. We must focus solely on the food webs. And that ranges from sustainability and production to the manufacture and supply of less toxic products in retail. This is an incredibly turbulent and very interesting time. We see the rise of the East. Perhaps food will take its rightful place in public health.”he said.


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