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Prebiotic science: Stacking up the evidence for health benefits

Prebiotic science Stacking up the evidence for health benefits.jpg
Interest in prebiotics is exploding, along with a better understanding of their beneficial health effects, including immune modulation and positive metabolic impacts. Other benefits have been shown on sleep, stress and mood.

As consumer and industry interest in prebiotics continues to explode, so does the supportive research. But where does the evidence sit, and what opportunities might present from where it is heading?

Growing public and industry interest in gut health—and how the microbiome can be modified in beneficial ways—has resulted in a rise in demand for prebiotics and an ever-increasing rate of research to validate their benefits to human health.

The Global Prebiotic Association (GPA) forecasts that as shoppers become more aware of the term prebiotic, there will be significant growth in both understanding of and demand for ingredients that feed and stabilize our gut bacteria.

The science backing prebiotics has grown rapidly since the concept and term was first coined by Glenn Gibson and Mercel Roberfroid in 1995. Since then, there has been an explosion in the science behind prebiotic compounds, linking them to a multitude of health effects.

Multiple studies have also suggested a role for the microbiome—and in particular for prebiotic compounds—in our defense against infections.

Alongside the effects of immune responses, the metabolic effects of prebiotic compounds have been investigated in several meta-analyses in recent years.

Emerging research has even linked prebiotics to improved sleep, stress resilience, and our emotional responses.

To read this article in its entirety, check out the Digestive health: Market growth backed by science – digital magazine.

Nathan Gray is an industry analyst and consultant with more than a decade of experience in the food and nutrition space, and more than 15 years in media and science communication. An experienced communicator and strategic connector, he is an expert in food technology, nutrition science and wellness trends and works alongside Trust Transparency Center and the Global Prebiotic Association (GPA).

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