Probiotics and prebiotics. In the world of digestive health, both probiotics and prebiotics spearhead the industry. Probiotics are live bacteria that are good for the digestive system.1 Historically, the word “bacteria” because it stirs up images of sickness and disease. But probiotics are bacteria that improve and restore the gut flora. Prebiotics, on the other hand, lend a helping hand.
“I think of prebiotics as ‘fertilizer’ for the healthy bacteria in your microbiome,” stated Kimmo Lucas, CEO, Top Health Ingredients Inc. “They’re essentially feeding the beneficial bacteria that help build and support a healthy, functioning gut.”
Dr. Vinti Goel, director of scientific and regulatory affairs, BioNeutra North America Inc., stated, “remarkable research on the gut-brain axis suggests the gut is our second brain, so to speak, controlling much of our body including the immune system—our disease-fighting unit. The gut also plays a key role in our mood by producing Serotonin—the chemical responsible for positive mood. With millions of North Americans suffering some kind of digestive disorder, the interest in prebiotics is mounting.”
Manufacturers and brands in the digestive health space are increasingly pushing the envelope in terms of ingredient advancement, delivery technology, formulation, expertise and more. The category has also widened as demand for products spans beyond a single probiotic strain or fiber source into combination products, as well as those containing digestive enzymes and various forms of prebiotics.
Some manufacturers are attempting to find more effective products by combining various sources into one. One such company taking strides in that respect is Taiyo Intl. They offer a prebiotic called Sunfiber that is a soluble fiber low in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAPs). Certain consumers looking to decrease their FODMAPs intake hope to improve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms such as gas, bloating and abdominal pain.
“Another new product for us is our SunCran Naturelle, which combines Sunfiber with organic cranberry juice to form a vibrant red powder to help promote gut and urinary tract health,” said Derek Timm, technical sales director, Taiyo. “This dual-action product is an interesting concept because Sunfiber has prebiotic benefits in the gut. This is important because the gut bacteria are the source of bacteria that cause urinary tract infections. SunCran Naturelle also causes the urine to have anti-adhesion activity due to the proanthocyanins (PACs) in cranberry binding to pathogenic E. coli.
This article was excerpted from INSIDER’s Digestive Health digital magazine.