HEALTH

GNC develops Longevity Factors supplements line

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH — GNC on Thursday announced the launch of its GNC Longevity Factors, GNC’s first and only complete line of nutritional supplements marketed for aging well. The line features supplements that support health and bioavailability enhancement technology to improve the absorption of a key antioxidant important for healthy cell aging.

 

"We created the GNC Longevity Factors line specifically to empower adults — including baby boomers — to proactively take control of their health as they age and, ultimately, help them feel as young as they envision themselves," stated Beth Kaplan, president and chief merchandising and marketing officer of GNC. "This is a unique line of seven nutritional supplements that support very specific aspects of aging. These breakthrough formulas are based on the most recent advances in the science of healthy aging."

 

 

The line features high-potency formulas with polyphenols, such as resveratrol, that work to protect cells from damage, along with clinically researched ingredients to support heart, eye and brain health; memory; strength; and agility. In developing GNC Longevity Factors, GNC collaborated with Joseph Maroon, a neurosurgeon, nutrition expert and author.

 

 

Maroon garnered national attention this year when he finished his third Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, at the ripe young age of 70 years, and beat his prior time by more than 20 minutes. "The GNC Longevity Factors line enables individuals to take the proactive steps necessary to affect positive change in their bodies," Maroon said. "Specifically, many of the products can positively activate genes, located in every cell of our body, to support overall health. The line is a wonderful tool in helping us age well and live healthier lives."

 

 

The GNC Longevity Factors line includes:

  • Healthy Aging Program: A complete daily pack with six elements that support healthy aging, including a premium multivitamin, triple-strength fish oil, memory formula and 500-mg resveratrol for cell-aging defense;
  • Heart Health: Maintains healthy cholesterol, blood pressure and circulation, and supports overall heart health. The product includes phytosterols, which have been shown to help block cholesterol absorption;
  • Cellular Antioxidant Defense: Fights premature cell aging with a high-potency blend of antioxidants, including 500 mg of resveratrol, polyphenols and vitamin D-3 to protect cells and DNA against free radicals and defy cell aging;
  • Energy Enhancer: This caffeine-free, clinically studied energy formula contains antioxidants and an amino acid complex that supports natural energy levels. The product features polyphenols, which can help combat the free radicals associated with cell-aging;
  • Eye Health: Features a blend of carotenoids, including lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene, to support healthy vision;
  • Strength & Agility: A formula with more protein and fiber to maintain muscle tone; and
  • Memory Formula: Keeps memory healthy with turmeric acid and high-potency huperzine.

 

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Arctic Ease takes the chill out of cold therapy

BY Michael Johnsen

PHOENIXVILLE, Pa. Arctic Ease on Thursday announced the launch of its Arctic Ease cryotherapy pads and wraps. The cold therapy products can be used at room temperature, conform to the body and adhere directly to the skin, the company said.

"The wraps and pads conform to the affected area, allow a full range of motion and provide a cooling therapy that is simple, convenient and incredibly effective," stated Carol Forden, president and CEO of Arctic Ease.

 

The products are available at Acme Markets, Chester County Running Store, Elite Runners and Walkers, and Vertical Runner, in addition to e-commerce merchants Amazon.com, Walgreens.com, Drugstore.com, RiteAid.com and CVS.com.

 

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Coalition urges Congress to repeal pending FSA change, calls policy ‘unwarranted’

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — A coalition of six associations, including the Consumer Healthcare Products Association and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, on Thursday called on Congress to repeal the requirement that prevents consumers from using their flexible spending accounts to purchase over-the-counter medicines without a prescription as of Jan. 1.

 

“This new restriction will eliminate a tool that 35 million Americans have come to depend on to cost-effectively purchase medicines they need, when they need them,” stated Scott Melville, CHPA president and CEO. “Meaningful healthcare reform is about increasing access and cutting costs,” he added. “Removing OTCs from FSA eligibility is counter to that philosophy and forces consumers to obtain a prescription to use money from their [FSAs] to purchase the OTC medicines they depend on as a first line of defense for their families’ healthcare needs.”

 

 

“As the face of neighborhood health care, pharmacies are in the business of providing remedies in an accessible, consumer-friendly way,” said Steve Anderson, NACDS president and CEO. “These new rules inject consumer confusion and logistical burdens that disrupt efficient patient care, at the exact time when patients are feeling their worst.”

 

 

In 2009, among individuals younger than 65 years with private health insurance, 20.4% had flexible spending accounts, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up from 16.7% in 2007. Many industry pundits have surmised that increases in FSA utilization over the years can be traced to the inclusion of OTC medicines as eligible FSA expenses in 2003 and the increased availability of FSA debit cards that eliminated the need for a paper-receipt substantiation and reimbursement protocol for consumers.

 

 

The message being driven by the broad retail/supplier coalition resonates with another grassroots advocacy organization — Save Flexible Spending Plans — which also recently called on Congress to eliminate the new FSA requirement. “It was never a good idea to fund health reform on the backs of hardworking Americans who use flexible spending accounts to manage and contain health costs,” stated Joe Jackson, chairman of Save Flexible Spending Plans and CEO of WageWorks, a benefits provider based in San Mateo, Calif. “To improve and fix the health-reform law, Congress should quickly repeal the requirement starting Jan. 1, 2011, that a doctor’s prescription is needed for consumers to use their flex accounts to purchase over-the-counter medications, including Claritin, Zyrtec and Tylenol. This provision will not only drive up healthcare costs, but it [also] is an utter waste of consumers’ and physicians’ limited time.”

 

 

FSAs, which are offered by 85% of large employers, make everyday medical expenses more affordable. The availability of OTC medicines through an employer-sponsored FSA provides valuable cost-savings to consumers, increases worker productivity and encourages smart healthcare decisions by both employers and employees — all of which are consistent with the goals of healthcare reform, the coalition asserted.

 

 

Beyond the cost impact to consumers, the new rules represent a logistical quagmire for retailers who have made substantial investments into updating their point-of-sale systems. Once OTCs were determined eligible expenses under FSAs in 2003, retailers updated their POS systems so that consumers could readily use their FSA debit cards in the purchase of healthcare items at the pharmacy counter.

 

 

“The rules recently proposed by the Department of the Treasury go one step further and no longer allow consumers to purchase OTCs with their FSA debit and credit cards beginning on Jan. 15,” the letter to Congress read. “We believe that this policy is unwarranted, and retailers, pharmacies, pharmacists and manufacturers need more than two weeks to evaluate this policy. … Additionally, the short time frame for implementation does not adequately accommodate the major consumer-education and retail-systems modifications required to ensure effective implementation of the policy.”

 

 

In addition to CHPA and NACDS, the coalition includes the National Grocers Association, the Food Marketing Institute, the American Pharmacists Association and the National Community Pharmacists Association. All told, the coalition represents 39,000 pharmacies, 27,000 retail food stores, 62,000 pharmacists and the makers of OTC medicines

 

 

The coalition letter is available here.

 

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