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By Missy Lowery

Missy Lowery-finalIn recent years, we have seen significant and growing interest in nutraceuticals and natural products. As consumer demand for natural products continues to rise, there is increased focus on developing comprehensive scientific foundations to support the claims, benefits, and safety of these products in the marketplace. Additionally, greater dependence on natural products for pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements is sparking new basic scientific work on the chemistry of natural products.

The AAPS Nutraceuticals and Natural Products focus group brings together a broad base of basic researchers, clinical researchers, and manufacturers involved in the use of nutraceuticals, dietary supplements, and natural products in the health care and pharmaceutical industries. We are actively exploring workable solutions to advance the discovery, development, and manufacturing of nutraceuticals as well as the chemistry of natural products.

Today, 85% of U.S. adults have taken a dietary supplement, and the average user takes more than three a day. 73% of the general population say they have taken a supplement in the past 30 days, and that is up from 62% in 2009 (Natural Marketing Institute 2013 SORD Study). Health and nutrition is growing due to major trends such as “I want to maintain my independence as I age” and major economic considerations such as “I can’t afford to get sick.”

During the past year our focus group has addressed the use of natural products in Ebola vaccines and natural product application to other vaccines, the interaction of dietary supplements with pharmaceuticals, implications of the rise in functional medicine, the influence of epigenetics and nutrigenomics, the growing regulatory challenges of identifying natural ingredients, and more. Our topics are drawn from the headlines and from some of the toughest challenges facing regulatory and development professionals in our industry here and around the world. Our members come from global companies, entrepreneurial companies, major universities, and regulatory agencies. But they all share a common passion and entrepreneurial spirit that is the hallmark of a growing health and nutrition industry.

Our goals are to continue the development of strong programming and educational webinars and to link closely with other AAPS sections on delivery, regulatory, development, and testing of nutraceuticals. We have a creative, scientific group dedicated to exploring the issues that really matter—to the industry, to academia, and to the consumer. Please join us for the Nutraceuticals and Natural Products focus group annual town hall meeting on Monday, October 26. With a growing market going through growing challenges, we promise engaging involvement and the unexpected. If you are interested in joining our focus group, please visit the AAPS website or email me directly.

Missy Lowery is the senior marketing manager, Americas, at Capsugel and the incoming chair of the AAPS Nutraceuticals and Natural Products focus group.