SIRIO Europe (Ayanda)- the European nutraceutical and pharmaceutical contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) and member of SIRIO Group– forecasts a winter surge in requests from nutra brands for new ‘dual benefit’ mood-enhancing formulations as a result of COVID-19 measures.
The company said the normal winter increase in demand for mood-enhancing formulations is being significantly accelerated by the ongoing effects of European and North American lockdowns and national restrictions. But rather than purchasing these as stand-alone products, consumers are looking for nutraceuticals that also provide physical health benefits – including enhanced immunity, heart function or metabolism.
Brands are increasingly differentiating by marketing products with health benefits for ‘body and mind’ with ingredients that combine holistic wellness as well as mood-enhancing properties. For example, combination products containing plant-based extracts, that may increase the body's ability to resist the damaging effects of stress and promote normal physiological functioning in combination with omega-3 oils and vitamins.
One product class increasingly promoted as offering ‘dual benefits’ are probiotic formulations – often in combination with omega-3 and or another ingredient – as research has established a strong relationship between mood and the gut-brain axis, in addition to its traditional dietary tract benefits.
Adaptogens are another group of ingredients undergoing a renaissance based upon emerging hard evidence on wellbeing. Recent studies have shown turmeric, widely used for its anti-inflammatory properties, can also positively enhance mood.
SIRIO identified saffron as one ‘trendy’ ingredient that is attracting a lot of interest, due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of its two extracts crocin and safranal. Several recent studies pointed to improvements in mood and depression, even in a comparative trial versus an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor).
Usually, these plant extracts are offered as powders. However, by suspending these adaptogens in essential oils, brands can develop complex formulations that cover a larger range of ‘body and mind’ benefits.