According to a recent market research released by Windrose Partners, an advisory firm for the healthcare industry based in Boston, MA, new product launches in the heart health category of the food, drink and dietary supplements market, were estimated to have tripled in the last five years and are currently 1.5 percent of all new launches. According to the report, heart health ingredients showed an impressive revenue growth in the wholesale market reaching $563 million in 2008 and are predicted to exceed $1 billion by 2012, marking a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20 percent.1

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, according to the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) with about 50 percent more women succumbing to the disease than men. The American Heart Association’s (AHA’s) 2006 statistical data estimates that 81,100,000 people have one or more types of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The CDC data shows that 631, 636 deaths in the same year were due to heart disease, representing 26 percent of the country’s deaths that year. Since the majority of heart disease is preventable by modifications in diet, lifestyle and nutrition, keeping the heart in good shape is a top health concern for most Americans. 2-3

Market drivers for heart health supplements
While one may assume that baby boomers are a prime target for heart health supplements, younger adults are turning to heart supplements particularly as we see a rise in diseases that directly affect heart health such as obesity, diabetes and other chronic ailments become more prevalent among the younger generation.4

Herbal SupplementsWhen compared to prescription drugs, doctors’ visits and hospital charges, consumers are finding nutraceuticals an extremely cost effective way to sustain and promote heart health. In many cases, the choice to use nutritional supplements is not only driven by cost factors, credibility and safety of ingredients but because physicians and healthcare professionals have recommended them. A poll conducted by the Council for Responsible Nutrition showed that 59 percent of physicians and healthcare professionals prescribed heart health supplements to their patients.5

Designing heart health supplements that stand out in the marketplace!
The International Food Information Council (IFIC) has conducted regular surveys over the past decade showing “significantly” increased consumer awareness of health benefits associated with specific food components.6 Consumers are showing keen interest in keeping up with new research on heart health ingredients and are proactively seeking supplements not only to promote heart health but also to combat specific heart conditions. According to SPINS (a market-research firm based Schaumburg, Ill.) between October 2009 and October 2010, shoppers purchased $227 million worth of supplements targeting hypertension, atherosclerosis and high cholesterol in natural food stores (excluding the whole foods market). 7 Baseline ingredients may include ingredients that have the potential to perform one or more of the following functions:

  • Promote healthy cholesterol
  • Promote healthy blood pressure
  • Promote vascular health
  • Promote heart muscle functions

To help retailers make wise decisions when formulating heart health supplements, we’ve listed a few well-researched ingredients that one could include in a product that promotes heart health:

Resveratrol is one of the hottest ingredient for supporting heart health, according to Datamonitor, a global business provider of information and market analysis.8 It is an antioxidant found in grapes, mulberries, peanuts and knotweed (polygonum cuspidatum). A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition has compiled over a decade of research and identified specific ways in which resveratrol reduces the risk for cardiovascular disease. The heart protective effects of resveratrol include anti-atherogenic, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. The study suggests that resveratrol may also prevent lipid oxidation, platelet aggregation, arterial vasodilation and modulate the levels of lipids and lipoproteins. As a powerful antioxidant, resveratrol may help reduce oxidative stress and strengthen the antioxidant defense system.9

Heart health supplement

 Since resveratrol has no significant toxic effects even at higher concentrations, it holds great promise as a key nutrient for supporting heart health. 
Omega-3 fatty acids - In the April 2011 issue of Circulation, the American Heart Association emphasized the importance of omega-3 fatty acids for the first time by recommending omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)/docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) intake for elevated triglyceride levels in conjunction with other important lifestyle changes. According to the AHA, about 31 percent of the population has borderline high triglyceride levels. EPA and DHA help reduce blood pressure in hypertensive individuals, lower triglyercides, help improve insulin resistance, and help reduce arrhythmias, as well as protect the brain and eyes. 10

Retailers should note that fish oil used in the nutraceutical manufacturing of fish oil supplements must be free of heavy metals and dioxins. Supplements manufacturers should be able to prove the authenticity of the fish oil and its purity.

Fiber - The U.S. Federal and Drugs Administration (FDA) allows dietary supplement manufacturers to make heart health claims on products that contain at least 1.7 grams per serving of psyllium husk soluble fiber or 0.75 grams of oat or barley soluble fiber as beta-glucans. Manufacturers may state that a regular consumption of these fibers “may reduce risk of heart disease”.11 Dietary fiber intake has been inversely associated with the risk of coronary heart disease, according to a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.12

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) - This vitamin-like substance is naturally present in cell mitochondria and helps in the production of energy. Concentrated levels of CoQ10 are found in organs such as the heart and liver—organs that require the most energy for its functions. Research suggests that CoQ10 supplementation may help lower blood pressure. As an antioxidant, it may help support arterial health by curbing blood-clot formation. Drugs that treat high cholesterol generally deplete the body’s CoQ10 levels. According to a 2007 study published in the American Journal of Cardiology, CoQ10 supplementation can restore these levels, as well as promote heart health.13

Vitamin D - In the last 15 years, research studies have shown that Vitamin D’s role goes far beyond the control of calcium metabolism. An August 2010 issue of the Cardiovascular Therapeutics linked Vitamin D deficiency to an increased prevalence of hypertension, myocardial infarction, stroke, diabetes, peripheral vascular disease and other conditions. Scientists believe that Vitamin D may be able to modify vascular health, and thus may play a preventive role in cardiovascular disease. 14

Phytosterols such as beta sitosterol, are natural plant fats that may help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Phytosterols are believed to help reduce cholesterol absorption thereby lowering the level of “bad” cholesterol called low-density lipoprotein (LDL). When purified, phytosterols are insoluble and biologically inactive. In order to ensure that phytosterols in supplements retain their bio-active compounds, they must be emulsified or dissolved in fat. The FDA has approved heart health claims for phystosterols. 15

All types of teas support cardiovascular health through a variety of mechanisms. Flavonoids in tea may directly improve vascular health and circulation according to a study published in Lipidology.16 The Journal of Nutrition published findings from studies that showed five servings of black tea per day reduced low-density lipoprotein (LDL) by over 11 percent and total cholesterol by 6.5 percent in adults that were mildly hypercholesterolemic. The main component, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), present abundantly in green tea, was found to have heart health-protective benefits. 17

In addition to the above, there are other nutrients, herbs and botanicals each having unique and diverse functions for supporting heart health. These include folic acid, cocoa, vitamins such as B3, B6, B12, antioxidants from fruit extracts such as pomegranate and blueberries, policosanol, garlic, guggulipid, chromium, magnesium, soy protein, arginine, hawthorn, grape seed extract and more.

Enhance your brand by introducing high-quality heart health supplements to your produce line!
Heart health supplements can be manufactured in a variety of delivery forms such as tablets, capsules, softgels, powders and teas. Since bio-availability is of utmost importance, a high-quality nutraceutical manufacturer will help you design a heart health supplement in a convenient delivery form with a high rate of dissolution and absorption. A GMP-certified nutraceutical manufacturer with customizable manufacturing solutions can help you easily get your product into the market at the most competitive pricing!


  1. Circulation, Journal of the American Heart Association, 2011 Update
  2. US heart health product launches have tripled in five years:
  3. Heart Disease Facts:
  4. Getting Heavier, Younger: Trajectories of Obesity over the Life Course, Int J Obes (Lond). 2010 April; 34(4): 614–623.
  5. Physicians and nurses use and recommend dietary supplements: report of a survey, Nutr J. 2009; 8: 29. Published online 2009 July 1. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-8-29.PMCID: PMC2714854
  6. International Food Information Council. 2009. 2009 IFIC Functional Foods/Foods for Health Consumer Trending Survey. IFIC webinar presented by E. Rahavi. Slides retrieved March 24th 2011:
  7. 5 SPINSscan Natural, Total US, 52 weeks ending December 26, 2009 and year ago, SPINS defined herbal category.
  8. Heart Disease Facts:
  9. Anti-atherogenic effects of resveratrol: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 64, 660-668 (July 2010) | doi:10.1038/ejcn.2010.77).
  10. Circulation. 2011 Apr 18. DOI 10.1161/CIR.0b013e3182160726
  11. FDA/CFSAN A Food Labeling Guide: Appendix C Health Claims, April 2008
  12. Dietary fiber intake and reduced risk of coronary heart disease in US men and women: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey I Epidemiologic Follow-up Study, Arch Intern Med. 2003 Sep 8;163(16):1897-904. PMID: 12963562)
  13. Effect of Coenzyme Q10 on Myopathic Symptoms in Patients Treated With Statins, American Journal of Cardiology Vol. 99, Issue 10, Pages 1409-1412.
  14. Vitamin D and cardiovascular prevention. Cardiovasc Ther. 2010 Aug;28(4):e5-12. Epub 2010 Jun 11. PMID: 20553279.
  15. Phytosterols, cholesterol absorption and healthy diets, Lipids. 2007 Feb;42(1):41-5. Epub 2007 Jan 9. PMID: 17393209.
  16. Evidence that the antioxidant flavonoids in tea and cocoa are beneficial for cardiovascular health, Lipidology, February 2002 - Volume 13 - Issue 1 - p 41–49.
  17. Black Tea Consumption Reduces Total and LDL Cholesterol in Mildly Hypercholesterolemic Adults, J. Nutr. 133:3298S-3302S, October 2003.