2019 is shaping up to become an interesting year for the supplement industry.
The health and wellness industry continues to thrive in the United Kingdom, growing from 22.6 billion euro in 2013, to 26 billion at the end of 2018.
2019 is already shaping up to continue with similar growth — with as much as 15 billion euro in revenue earnings expected in the UK from nutritional supplements alone.
With any growing industry, there are trends that come and go.
Here are our top 6 supplement trends for 2019 to be aware of.
1. Microdosing Caffeine
It’s not caffeine use that’s trending for 2019 — it’s the dose in which we take caffeine.
A normal cup of coffee contains around 100 mg of caffeine. The average coffee users consume about 3 cups of coffee per day on average — for a grand total of 300 mg per day of caffeine. This dose is generally taken all within an hour or two of each other, delivering a massive kick of caffeine right at the start of the day. Over the rest of the day, the effects of the caffeine wear off, and by about 1 or 2, we begin to feel the fatigue setting in.
This is where microdosing comes in. The concept involves taking very small amounts of caffeine (about 0.3 mg per kg of body weight) every hour. For the average 75 kg person, that works out to about 22.5 mg of caffeine every hour.
Since the half-life of caffeine is about 6 hours, the small doses of caffeine begin to build on each other to produce subtle cognitive enhancement without causing the drop in energy levels in the afternoon.
Users are reporting that this new practice is giving them substantial boosts in energy levels starting around the second or third dose, which lasts the rest of the day. They’re also reporting fewer side-effects than the traditional massive caffeine dosing we’re used to producing.
At this point, there’s no hard evidence to support this theory, but as the practice becomes more popular it’s likely we’ll start seeing some research published later this year or early 2020.
2. Dopamine Diet
The world we live in today is immensely different than any of our previous generations. We’re constantly bombarded by stimulation as everything we do tries to collect our attention.
Our world is saturated in advertising, we’re glued to our phones, and the bulk of the workforce now works primarily through a computer screen.
The part of the brain responsible for controlling attention spans is called the reward centre in the brain. This region of the brain, primarily active in the ventral tegmental area deep within the brain, uses dopamine to trigger a release of oxytocin in the brain — giving us a brief hit of euphoria.
The brain loves this feeling of euphoria and will work hard to get another dose. The whole point of this system is to condition our brains to do things that benefit us — such as eating, finding safety, and having sex.
The reward centre is also highly involved with our ability to concentrate because if dopamine doesn’t activate the reward system while we’re doing something, higher brain regions will shift focus to something that will. This is why it’s so hard to concentrate on tasks we find boring.
To put this into context, people with ADHD — characterised by an inability to concentrate on one task at a time — have been shown to have lower dopamine levels in the brain .
With lowered dopamine levels, the brain needs stronger levels of stimulation to activate the reward system and give us that hit of euphoria. People with ADHD need to fidget and shift focus a lot more often in order to activate this response.
With so much stimulation around us, our reward systems are becoming harder and harder to stimulate. Have you ever noticed that as soon as you’re left alone, or the television show your watching ends, you whip your phone out to mindlessly browse Instagram or Twitter? This is your brain desperately seeking a source of stimulation.
The dopamine diet seeks to fix this problem by lowering the threshold it takes dopamine to activate the reward centre.
The diet basically involves spending one, two, or three full days completely void of stimulation — no television, phones, social media, or fun of any kind (seriously). At the same time, foods and supplements that boost dopamine levels are also used.
The entire point of the dopamine diet is to lower the threshold it takes to activate the reward centre. That way once the diet is over, we can go back to work or school with a newfound attention span we didn’t have before.
3. CBD Oils
CBD (cannabidiol) is the primary non-psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa/indica). For the last 80 years, all aspects of the plant were outlawed because of the psychoactive effects inherent to the plant. It wasn’t until about 10 years ago that researchers first started focusing on the non-psychoactive constituents of the plant.
They were onto something huge, but nobody could start cashing in on it until a few years ago when regulators decided to change the way we view this compound.
Now, going into 2019, the CBD industry is huge —, especially in the United States. The industry is expected to hit $20 billion in revenue by 2020. That’s an incredibly huge number when you consider the fact that we’re literally talking about just one out of thousands of different supplements currently available.
CBD is renowned for its long-list of medical benefits, and lack of side-effects and negative interactions with common medications.
Some of the suggested benefits of CBD include:
There are a few ways to consume CBD, but the most common by far is in the form of a CBD oil. It involves taking an extract of the hemp plant (non-psychoactive cannabis), and dissolving it into an oil. You can then take a few drops of the oil directly under the tongue, or mix it in with a smoothie to hide the flavor.
5. 5-LOX Inhibitors
Anti-inflammatories are incredibly useful. There are so many medical conditions that can be directly linked back to an underlying inflammatory reaction in the body.
Even things like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and anxiety have been linked to inflammation as an underlying cause.
Chronic pain and a number of chronic digestive system dysfunctions are well-known to have inflammatory causes as a driving factor as well.
Anti-inflammatories have always been one of the most popular classes of supplements due to their widespread health benefits.
All of these supplements work by inhibiting an enzyme known as COX — which is responsible for producing inflammatory messengers that cause inflammation. Aspirin, Paracetamol, and Ibuprofen all work by blocking this enzyme as well. The inflammatory messengers made by the COX enzyme cause general inflammation and pain.
But there’s another culprit that nobody’s talking about — until now.
The COX enzyme has a twin brother known as 5-LOX which is tasked with producing a different class of inflammatory messengers. These messengers are primarily involved in the inflammation driving things like osteoarthritis, allergies, and inflammatory bowel diseases .
This explains cases where Aspirin or other COX inhibitors fail to produce any real results.
People experiencing allergies, arthritis, gastrointestinal disorders, and a number of other symptoms of inflammation are now turning to 5-LOX inhibiting supplements — with promising results.
Some examples of 5-LOX inhibitor supplements :
Frankincense (Boswellia serrata)
Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)
Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum)
Patchouly (Pogostemon cablin)
Juniper berry (Juniperus communis)
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
As more research comes out on the benefits of 5-LOX inhibitors, and their role as a supplement category, you can expect to see a lot more of a focus on this over the next couple of months.
Where to Go From Here
Focus Supplements strives to stay ahead of the curve, following the scientific research as it’s published rather than waiting for the market trends to come and go.
If you want to stay ahead of the curve and start using trending supplements before the world media blows it out of proportion, subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of our homepage here to stay up to date with current supplement news, and to receive monthly promotions and savings directly to your inbox.
Swanson, J. M., Flodman, P., Kennedy, J., Spence, M. A., Moyzis, R., Schuck, S., … & Posner, M. (2000). Dopamine genes and ADHD. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 24(1), 21-25.
Martel-Pelletier, J., Lajeunesse, D., Reboul, P., & Pelletier, J. P. (2003). Therapeutic role of dual inhibitors of 5-LOX and COX, selective and non-selective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Annals of the rheumatic diseases, 62(6), 501-509.
Baylac, S., & Racine, P. (2003). Inhibition of 5-lipoxygenase by essential oils and other natural fragrant extracts. International Journal of Aromatherapy, 13(2-3), 138-142.