Predicting the health and wellness trends for the new year doesn’t involve Thorne looking into a crystal ball or consulting a seer. Actually, it’s you, our loyal readers and customers, who provide us with many of these answers by what you are reading, purchasing, and requesting. And certainly, Thorne’s research and development, medical, and marketing teams keep up with the cutting edge in science and innovation so we can bring the best of it to you. And, in some cases, we are the ones leading the way.

Here is our top 10 list of what we see trending in 2020 and beyond. Read the list for an overview and then come back and take a deeper dive by exploring the linked articles.

1. Nootropics to maintain mental sharpness

A year ago, if you said the word “nootropic” to a random person on the street, then they might respond with “new what?” But not now – nootropic is a highly-searched term on Google and is a hip concept with a younger fan base. It used to be that “cognitive support” implied supplements for the elderly to benefit failing memory.

Although supplements and activities to enhance mental edge are still being sought by grandparents and aging baby boomers, they are increasingly being used by Gen-Z-ers and millennials. Nootropics appeal to students who are cramming for exams and young, upwardly mobile professionals in high-powered jobs looking for the mental edge to boost creativity and productivity in a competitive environment.

The nutritional supplement industry is replete with natural nootropics or “stacked” formulas that contain a selected combination of nootropics – no need to seek a prescription medication.

And increasingly, individuals are looking for activities that keep their minds sharp and banish brain fog – things like mental calisthenics and “brain games.” Calorie restriction is associated with healthy aging, but new research indicates it also benefits brain function.

2. The “biggest buzz” product category of the year – Hemp 

Interest in hemp and CBD products increased by leaps and bounds in 2019, and don’t look for it to slow down anytime soon. Although the initial focus was on isolating and providing the highest potency CBD possible, research is emerging that combining various hemp constituents with “phytocannabinoids” from other plants might provide the most benefit.*

Called the “entourage effect,” it probably provides the most comprehensive support for the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).* Other constituents that work synergistically with hemp include hops and other plant extracts that contain a substance called beta-caryophyllene (BCP).* Look for increasing interest in, and research on, hemp and non-hemp phytocannabinoids in 2020.

3. Aging healthfully

Healthy aging means just what it says – maintaining good health as you age. What is trending now is more of an awareness of what healthy aging really means, and that it’s never too early to start thinking about it; i.e., it doesn’t start when you’re 70.

Healthy aging means being able to do the things you want to do – from having enough energy, to being pain free, and to being mentally sharp. And it involves staying healthy internally – from your organs and tissues, right down to the cellular level. The new decade will bring more focus on biological aging and less focus on chronological aging.

What's Your Actual Age? Chronological vs. Biological Age explores what biological age means, what factors influence your biological age, and ways to measure biological age, including DNA methylation and telomere length.

Six Things You Can Do To Age Better discusses several pearls for aging well, including exercise, sleep, maintaining strong bones, supporting good vision, nourishing the mind, and maintaining healthy relationships.

Although these might seem obvious, the article details specific activities and supplements to achieve these goals. Antioxidants are important for protecting your cells from damage, including damage from aging.* One that is gaining a lot of attention these days is glutathione. Sometimes called the “master antioxidant,” it is both made in your body and available as a supplement.

Gone is the focus on merely changing the way you look externally with a face lift and wrinkle creams (not that some of those can’t help, but it certainly isn’t the focus in 2020). Maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails starts by feeding your body with the proper nutrients – hence, the now well-used phrase, “beauty from the inside out.” Biotin is a good place to start – but there are also other supplements to support skin health from the inside out.*

4. Self-help tools and guidance

The Internet brings access to mountains of information about health – some accurate, some complete nonsense. To support individuals who are taking more control over their own health, while still providing guidance from reliable sources, more companies are offering tools to help consumers make wise choices.

This trend is likely to continue as more healthcare moves to the home with easy access to tools like at-home health tests. While labs typically only provide test results, Thorne’s home tests provide additional insights and practitioner-designed dietary and lifestyle suggestions – to be used by the individual or by their healthcare professional to guide treatment options.

Quizzes are also becoming very popular. I get two quizzes a day in my email inbox and love getting the brain gears moving by taking these little quizzes first thing in the morning.

Quizzes can also be used to guide supplement choices. Knowing that one size does not fit all, Thorne provides choices in most of our product categories. But how many times have you decided you want to take a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement and, when confronted with a dozen or so choices, you didn’t know which one would be best for you?

Or, if you’re a healthcare professional, do you have trouble choosing which probiotic is best for a particular patient? One of our most frequently asked questions is, “Which fill in the blank is best for me?” Explore these Thorne quizzes and expect more quizzes in 2020.

5. Health effects of technology

Although technology makes our lives easier, many of us spend the majority of our day exposed to a blue light screen – computer, cell phone, or TV. As more research exposes the underbelly of a techno-society, a burgeoning movement is afoot to take technology vacations.

What some techies call “dopamine fasting” takes it to the next level by avoiding anything that increases the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine. This could include avoiding eating your favorite food, not drinking alcohol, and, if taken to an extreme, avoiding socializing with friends.

Silent retreats are now mainstream, with travel websites offering a variety of retreats that offer meditation, yoga, and healthy meals – all in a relaxing setting – and you can’t talk for days.

Thorne’s Take 5 Magazine has recently highlighted several of these issues to enlighten you on some of the health effects of blue screen light and share several “technology detox” experiences. We also provide the monthly “Extracts” blogs that contain cutting edge, up-to-date summaries of recent research that might affect your life, including recent studies on the effect of blue screens on aging and weight gain.

6. Everything microbiome

As recently as just two years ago, the word “microbiome” was a new one to many people. Now it’s nearly a household word, thanks to a growing body of research on the wide-ranging health effects of the gut microbiome – and we can expect to see much more research in the future.

Learn basic microbiome 101 or specifics on the microbiome and gut health or the microbiome and childbirth – all three brought to you in partnership with Mayo Clinic. You can also read about the interaction of the microbiome with pre- and probiotics or how a disordered microbiome contributes to fatty liver.

Along with extensive research, expect expansion of gut microbiome testing and analysis, like the cutting edge Gutbio™ test offered by Onegevity Health. Gutbio is an at-home test designed to help individuals manage their gut health.

The test examines the body's unique gut microbiome and offers artificial intelligence-driven personalized interventions for diet, exercise, and supplementation. Or, way out on the cutting edge is Performbio™ – an at-home microbiome, blood, and saliva test for high-performers, biohackers, executives, and athletes seeking next-level performance and optimal recovery.

7. Maintaining a strong immune system

A recent survey of 11,000 consumers regarding supplement purchasing found that 63 percent of respondents elected immune support ahead of digestive, cardiovascular, bone, and joint support; one in five listed immune support as their number one reason for purchasing a health product.

This interest in, and need for, immune support increases in certain specific situations – in the wintertime, when traveling (how many times have you gotten sick after a plane trip?), or when stress is high.

You can read here about the ideal supplements to pack while traveling – including products for immune support.* In the wintertime, kids are particularly susceptible to the bugs going around their school classroom or daycare facility. But there are some simple measures you can take to help keep them healthy.* 

With the increased awareness of the downside of increased antibiotic resistance, expect more research and interest in ways to stay healthy and maintain a strong immune system. And look for a unique new immune support product from Thorne later this year.*

8. Chronic stress awareness

Stress is not just the acute feeling you get from an adrenal rush after avoiding a catastrophe, like almost getting hit by a car. Trending now is an increased awareness of chronic stress – how to identify it, what health effects result from it, and how to mitigate it with healthful solutions.

Possible adrenal hormone imbalances associated with stress can be identified with Thorne’s simple at-home Stress Test, which looks at saliva levels of cortisol over a 24-hour period, as well as another adrenal hormone DHEA. Because stress is associated with many different scenarios and manifests in a number of ways, a blanket supplement recommendation is difficult to make. You can take our quiz – which stress support supplement is best for me? to help guide your choices.

Because of the pervasive nature of stress – 7 of 10 adults experience enough daily stress to disrupt their sleep at night – much has been written on the topic, including by our Take 5 authors. You can read about top stress-relief products, the effect of stress on weight gain, how to decrease stress at work, decreasing stress when trying to conceive, and more.

9. Weight management/best diets

A top 10 list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning weight management and trending diets. This topic is always trendy – same problem, different diets. But, while fad diets come and go, there is really nothing new under the sun. The Atkins diet morphed into the keto diet, the hunter-gatherer diet morphed into the paleo diet, and the candida diet morphed into the Low FODMAP diet.

A recent Take 5 article summarizes several currently popular diets. Within this article you can link to articles on each of the specific diets if you want to take a deeper dive. Since short-term diets don’t typically work, the goal is to encourage individuals to find an eating plan that works best for the long-term – becoming part of an ongoing healthy lifestyle. But first you need to figure out how to conquer those pesky food cravings.

10. Sustainability

The concept of sustainability will really take off in the decade of the 20’s. From lab grown meats to a circular, waste-eliminating economy, the goal is to decrease the world’s carbon footprint. Thorne has always been ecologically responsible and has the philosophy that the environment should never be compromised for the sake of business.

Starting with raw material selection, we sometimes make the decision to discontinue using a particular botanical species. If we learn a botanical ingredient is becoming endangered or that over-sourcing is diminishing the quality of an existing supply, then we will discontinue the ingredient’s use in our product line and search for an alternative ingredient with a similar mechanism of action – but only after assuring the new ingredient has a quality profile that meets our standards.

To make a game-changing impact on reducing our carbon footprint, Thorne is introducing a new technology to deliver supplements. We are launching Effusio™ by Thorne – a revolutionary line of dissolvable supplement discs.

Effusio products reimagine the way supplements can be delivered and packaged – eliminating a reliance on plastic with packaging that is biodegradable and fully compostable! Read more about this amazing technology and look for more in the coming months.