Isoflavones are a class of organic compounds related to flavonoids that act as phytoestrogens. They are commonly sourced from soybeans, red clover, chickpeas, green peas, and alfalfa. They find applications in manufacturing cosmetics and various skin care products such as moisturizers and face creams. Isoflavones also find significant applications in the pharmaceutical industry as they are used on a large scale for curing various diseases.
The global isoflavones market is estimated to be valued at USD 1.2 billion in 2019 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 4.7% to reach USD 1.5 billion during the forecast period. Growth in this market is mainly driven by the increase in incidences of chronic diseases, the rise in the prevalence of cancer, technological advancements in the manufacturing of isoflavones, and the rapidly increasing geriatric population. However, stringent regulatory requirements and unfavorable drug price control policies across various countries are significant factors that are expected to restrain the growth of this market to a certain extent
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By application, the pharmaceutical segment is projected to account for the largest share during the forecast period.
Based on application, the isoflavones market is segmented into pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, cosmetics, and food & beverages. The pharmaceuticals segment accounted for the largest share, owing to its therapeutic and functional properties; isoflavones are used in the treatment for chronic and cardiovascular diseases.
North America to lead the market during the forecast period.
The North American region accounted for the largest share of the isoflavones market. Increasing cases of obesity in North America increase the focus on weight management techniques & attracting consumers toward healthy and natural food products with natural ingredients, thereby propelling the demand for isoflavones in the region.
Driver: Prevalence of menopausal issues
Women in their menopause stage experience various issues such as hot flashes, insomnia, and, in numerous cases, sexual dysfunction. Many women prefer supplements containing estrogen, which may significantly increase the risk of blood clots, stroke, or breast or uterine cancer. Thus, estrogen may not be an option for many women, depending on their health and family health history. Women are currently inclining toward supplements with naturally therapeutic ingredients to manage their menopause symptoms with fewer risks. In response to such changing preferences of women, supplement manufacturers have turned to natural alternatives. They have started utilizing soy isoflavones instead of estrogen, as it mimics the estrogen characteristics and provides estrogen effects that aid in reducing menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and fatigue.
Owing to the rising issues related to menopause and women’s inclination toward supplements with natural alternatives, the demand for isoflavones from the nutraceutical industry is projected to grow in the coming years
Restraint: Stringent regulatory requirements
Isoflavones come under the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) category; hence, manufacturers have to follow the rules and regulations imposed for all API products.
Pharmaceutical API manufacturers across the globe are witnessing a rise in the demand for APIs, which results in a positive outlook for the market. However, the increasing stringency of regulations is considered as a major restraint that may limit the growth prospects of the market. According to the report, “Fine chemicals stringent regulations prompt return of manufacturing to the west,” published by IHS Chemical Week in January 2015, the demand for APIs is expected to grow at a consistent rate, while the supply of APIs manufactured with international Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards and world-class documentation is not keeping pace with this demand.
Some of the recent advancements in drug development include the use of nanotechnology for the synthesis of APIs. The emergence of nanoparticle technologies for efficient delivery of APIs shows promising potential as a novel and efficient approach.
Nanobodies are similar to single-domain antibodies that can bind to specific antigens; however, they are much smaller in size than antibodies. Nanobodies are rapidly becoming an attractive technology platform for pharmaceutical development. Chitosan and Eudragit nanoparticles of Genistein, the predominant isoflavone found in soy products for cancer therapy, have been significantly evaluated for the treatment of chronic diseases in the past few years. The delivery of Genistein-loaded Chitosan and Eudragit S100 loaded polymeric nanoparticles has proven to be a feasible approach to treat cancer.
Similarly, bispecific antibodies, which can bind to two different epitopes either on the same or different target, are attracting the attention of market players. Such emerging technologies have the potential to create attractive opportunities for market players.
Challenge: Less efficiency compared to alternatives
Soy isoflavones can take several weeks or more to reach their maximal benefit. For example, as per Healthline Media (US), a 2015 review found that soy isoflavones take more than 13 weeks to reach just half of their maximum effect. Traditional hormones such as estrogen therapy, on the other hand, take about three weeks to show the same benefit. However, possible adverse effects such as heart attacks and strokes associated with conventional estrogen therapy are projected to enable pharmaceutical and nutraceutical manufacturers to opt for isoflavones derived from natural resources.
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Key Market Players
Cargill (Germany), BASF (Germany), DSM (Netherlands), Shanghai Freemen (US), and ADM (US)