Editor's Spotlight: Startup Focus

Why I spent my life savings on getting the over 50’s active

By Nikki Cutler

- Last updated on GMT

iStock / monkeybusinessimages
iStock / monkeybusinessimages
A retired health researcher who put his life savings and pension into creating supplements for the over 50’s has expanded his range and signed contracts to distribute overseas.

After his Prime Fifty brand entered UK retail three years ago as a four-strong musculo-skeletal health range targeting bone, joints, muscle and fatigue, retired health researcher Dr Max Gowland has just added three new products for the brain, vision and heart/blood.

I put a huge amount of money and an even larger amount of proper research time into creating the brand about three years ago​,”​ he told Nutraingredients. “I’ve been selling these products for three years now and I’m just starting to pay myself back.

“It was done with tremendous passion to keep the over fifties happy and healthy.”

Prime Fifty range
Prime Fifty range

The amino acid chemistry PhD holder previously worked as Global R&D Director for Reckitt Benckiser, a producer of health, hygiene and home products, and then as managing director at a major sports nutrition brand.

“I have worked in research and development all my life, but it was when I worked in sports nutrition, that I became shocked and indeed horrified at the effect lack of exercise and poor nutrition can have on our health as we age.

 “There are other supplements on the market that offer the consumer 'one size fits all' multivitamins but they aren’t targeted for the wants and needs of the over 50’s​, who represent over 35% of the UK population.”

What consumers want

“I went right back to scratch and interviewed over 1000 over 50s and found the single most important aspect of their lives they wanted to hold on to most was: mobility, independence and just staying active.

“Staying active as you get older is probably the most important thing you can do to have a long and healthy life but as people grow older they become deficient in many vitamins and minerals that they need for optimal health.

We also tend not to absorb vitamins and minerals very well with the ageing gut...The speed at which we make vitamin D in our skin from sunlight also slows down, making this particular vitamin extremely important to supplement with, especially as we age.

"What’s more, as we get older our metabolism gets slower, we also become a bit more sedentary so we get more tired – it’s a bit of a vicious cycle so we have to break out of that.”

Dr Max Gowland
Dr Max Gowland

To combat deficiencies, the musculo-skeletal supplements provide the vitamins and minerals needed to fight fatigue, support bone health, maintain joint health and also manage age related loss of muscle (sarcopenia). Gowland's blend is created to enhance extra absorption using glycinates and gluconates, BioPerine and special grades of folate such as L Methyl Folate to overcome genetic SNPs in some people which make their folate utilisation poorer than normal.

The supplements devoted to brain, heart and vision health include a high quality omega-3 oil, iron, folic acid/L methyl folate, B vitamins, lutein, alpha lipoic acid, vitamin K2, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and calcium to name just a few. 

“60% of our brain is fat but a lot of that fat is DHA and that’s why omega 3 fish oil is good for our brain and also our vision. Also, people may not realise that calcium is needed for the electrical impulses across the synapses in the brain.”

Protein – get your 18 eggs worth

The range also includes a micronutrient, fibre and omega 3 rich protein powder which Gowland describes as the ‘Royles Royce of protein powders’. It contains lactase to aid the digestion and L-Leucine, which is an essential amino acid that contributes to overall muscle health. It also contains vitamin D, potassium, magnesium and calcium, which contribute to normal muscle function. 

Gowland, who spent his 60th​ birthday running the infamous Tough Mudder race, explains why the over-50’s need to take on extra protein, “As we age, the rate at which we lose muscle is significantly faster than our speed of muscle replenishment. This means that we tend to lose muscle mass and strength overall as we age.

“The old-fashioned RDA is around 60g a day. The new science is telling us we need 100-110 grams, which is four chicken breasts or 18 eggs which is a lot of food to eat! If you don’t get enough then you will start to lose muscle so this shake makes it easier to do that.”

The products are hitting the spot in major retailers, Amazon, some Pharmacies, and the TV shopping channel QVC. Three distributors in other countries have also signed contracts that will see the products on sale overseas next year.

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