The COVID-19 pandemic brought millions of new consumers into the supplement market and many of them, understanding that a healthy microbiome is key to overall wellness, were drawn to the gut health market. According to Nutrition Business Journal, growth in the digestive health category more than tripled from 2% in 2019 to 6.5% in 2020, with the biggest piece of the market (probiotics) climbing by 7.3%—a significant leap from the 2.6% growth posted in 2019(1). In fact, consumer interest in the gut microbiome is so mainstream at this point that 11% of US consumers take probiotics to avoid over-the-counter digestive health medications(2).
This robust interest has led consumers to educate themselves on other gut health ingredients beyond probiotics, including prebiotics, “food” for probiotics, such as dietary fibers from grains, beans or leafy greens, and more recently, postbiotics. Consumer interest in postbiotics is rising and showing up in the sales data, up 91% in 2019 alone(3). Recently defined in a consensus statement by the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP), postbiotics are “a preparation of inanimate microorganisms and/or their components that confers a health benefit on the host.“(4) These ingredients are poised to disrupt the gut health market by offering an alternative means of delivering the health benefits of probiotics in product categories where they cannot survive, such as those requiring heat treatment or shelf stability. Differing from probiotics that must be kept alive to deliver their beneficial effects, postbiotics are not living and thus are inherently stable during manufacture and storage, delivering benefits regardless of the state of a consumer’s individual microbiome.
Brands seeking powerful postbiotic support are increasingly turning their attention to butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that provides fuel directly to gut cells, harnesses antioxidant power within the gut, promotes healthier gut barrier function, and supports a healthy gut immune response(5). The downside? Butyrate has posed a significant challenge for formulators due to its pungent smell.
In response, Blue California launched BeneAll, a unique and innovative ingredient that delivers butyrate along the GI tract to support a healthy gut—without negative attributes, including offending odor.
Butyrate and BeneAll
Butyrate is a major short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) resulting from the body’s fermentation of non-digestible dietary fibers (prebiotics). And, it’s the second most abundant SCFA found in the gut. As such, it plays an extensive role in maintaining gut balance, serving as a major energy source for gut epithelial cells and promoting a healthier gut barrier. Researchers have also explored butyrate’s impact on body-wide health, and their findings are encouraging: higher butyrate levels are associated with boosted cognitive functions like stress response, mood and sleep, support metabolic functions like body weight control and healthy blood sugar, maintain a healthy immune system and regulate inflammation(6).
Eating a high fiber diet and supplementing with certain prebiotic fibers is one way to support butyrate production. However, added fiber can produce negative side effects, including bloating and gas due in part to the reliance of butyrate-producing bacteria in the gut microbiome. Direct butyrate supplementation can bypass this. With this in mind many brands are tapping into the power of direct butyrate supplementation to ensure butyrate generation.
Blue California’s BeneAll is a unique butyrate-releaser that delivers butyrate along the GI tract without any of the negative odor associated with butyrate. Consumers will appreciate that it has no perceptible odor, and manufacturers will benefit from the fact that it’s formulation-friendly. It is shelf stable at room temperature, requiring no refrigeration, and it’s available as a flowable powder for dry mixing or rapid solutions, as well as prepackaged capsules.
BeneAll is powered by phenylalanine-butyramide (FBA), an innovative delivery system comprised of butyric acid and the amino acid phenylalanine (found naturally in plants, eggs, fish and cheese) at a 1:1 ratio. This feature eliminates the foul odor associated with butyric acid and yields a white, odorless powder produced at over 99% purity. In the body, BeneAll is resistant to breakdown in the mouth(7) and gastric conditions, and releases butyric acid along the gastrointestinal tract when exposed to increased pH, bile and pancreatic fluids. In fact, human studies confirm that no evidence of FBA was found in serum immediately after a single 2 mg dose, confirming that the whole molecule was not absorbed, but rather releases butyrate. Serum levels of butyric acid peaked 15 minutes after oral administration(8).
In the US, BeneAll is undergoing GRAS certification for use in food, beverages and supplements. Blue California is open to conducting human clinicals for further study, and BeneAll is available for sampling. Learn more at bluecal-ingredients.com.
1. 2021 Nutrition Business Journal Condition Specific Report
2. Schofield E. “The Future of Vitamins, Minerals & Supplements: 2020.” Mintel, January 2020.
3. Schofield E. “Postbiotics: An Ingredient to Watch for Gut Health.” Mintel, August 2019.
5. Blaak EE, Canfora EE, et al. “Short chain fatty acids in human gut and metabolic health.” Beneficial Microbes. 2020; 11(5): 411-455
6. Canani RB, et al. “Potential beneficial effects of butyrate in intestinal and extraintestinal diseases.” World J Gastroenterol. 2011; 17(12): 1519-1528.
7. Russo R, et al. “In vivo bioavailability and in vitro toxicological evaluation of the new butyric acid releaser N-(1-carbamoyl-2-phe- nyl-ethyl) butyramide.” Biomedicine & Pharmacology. 2021;137: 111385.
8. Communication by Canani lab, 2021