Natural Products Insider

MAR-APR 2018

INSIDER is the leading information source for marketers, manufacturers and formulators of dietary supplements, healthy foods and cosmeceuticals. Since 1997, INSIDER has been serving the needs of the global nutrition industry.

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26 INSIDER March/April 2018 Some in the natural products industry believed the use of probiotics in foods and supplements was merely a fad, but it is clear now that this is not the case. Probiotics use has so far stood the test of time, and products that contain them will likely continue to grow in numbers and volume as consumers seek products that may benefi t their health. Dozens of different probiotic bacteria have been shown to support well-being. The most common bacteria groups are Lactobacillus and Bifi dobacterium, with many species within each group and many strains within each species. Probiotic supplements, often in capsule form, can contain many different bacteria species, and are often known as broad spectrum or multi-probiotics. Research into the health benefi ts of probiotics is relatively new and rapidly expanding. Digestive health: As reported in several issues of the Journal of the American Medical Association, digestion is the area where the most probiotics studies have been performed, with the strongest evidence to date occurring in conjunction with antibiotic-associated diarrhea. 1 The use of antibiotics to clear an infection, especially over a long period of time, can destroy many of the natural bacteria in the gut, leading to an imbalance in the gut fl ora, favoring "bad" bacteria and allowing them to thrive. Many studies have shown probiotic foods or supplements can help alleviate antibiotic-associated diarrhea by helping re-establish the benefi cial bacteria in the gut. 2 Additional evidence indicates probiotics may be benefi cial against infl ammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. 3 Weight loss: It has been shown that obese people have different gut bacteria than lean people. 4 Scientists believe gut bacteria are important in determining body fatness. In a study performed in 2013 and published in the Journal of Functional Foods, it was indicated that 210 individuals with central obesity taking the probiotic Lactobacillus gasseri lost on average 8.5 percent of their belly fat mass over 12 weeks. 5 When the probiotic was discontinued, the belly fat was gained back within four weeks. Further study is undoubtedly needed, but early indications of the positive effects of probiotics on weight management are encouraging. Skin health: According to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology in October 2014, early evidence reported probiotics can be useful in the treatment of skin disorders such as acne, rosacea, eczema and others. 6 Blood cholesterol: Several probiotics are believed to have some effect on the lowering of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, as reported in Nutrition Review in January 2014. 7 Blood pressure: In July 2014, the medical fi eld publication Hypertension reported early evidence showing probiotics may support modest reductions in blood pressure. 8 Immune health: According to Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy in January 2015, studies indicated several probiotic strains may be able to enhance immune function and lead to reduced risk of infections, including the common cold. 9 Depression and anxiety: The probiotic strains Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifi dobacterium longum have been indicative in early studies to help aid reduction of anxiety and depression in people with clinical depression. 10 These results were published in Current Opinion in Biotechnology in April 2015. More research is needed in all areas of the potential benefi ts of probiotics, and although some of the early results are encouraging, more work is needed to fully understand probiotics' effects on human physiology and health. To this point, some of the evidence is inconclusive. The encouraging research results on the potential health benefi ts of probiotics have been well-publicized and broadly shared on social media, to the delight of a consumer base hungry and thirsty for healthy, benefi cial food products and supplements. New product introductions and annual sales of probiotics have steadily grown over the past decade, and sales projections indicate this trend will continue into the foreseeable future. According to BCC Research, the global probiotics market totaled US$31.8 billion, $34.0 billion and $37.9 billion in 2014, 2015, and 2016, respectively, up from $764 million in 2005, with a projection to total more than $50 billion by 2020, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8 percent from 2015 to 2020. Few other food segments can claim such impressive growth numbers. As additional research money is funneled into probiotic health studies and their benefi ts are more fully understood, the increase in new probiotic product introductions and in sales of probiotic products and supplements could surpass even these aggressive market projections. Probiotics are here to stay, and now is the time for companies to conduct new product development to incorporate probiotics into the "tinkering process" that is part of all food technology and product development efforts. EAS ( independent consultant Steven DeMuri (sdemuri@, served at Campbell Soup Co. for more than two decades in numerous roles, most recently as vice president of quality assurance (QA) and regulatory affairs at the Campbell Fresh Divisions. Prior to Campbell's, he served in senior quality positions at Sierra Quality Canners and at Sacramento Foods. He began his career as an agricultural commodity grader and inspector-in-charge at the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service's processed products branch in Stockton, California. Supplements: Probiotics Probiotic Health Benefits in Natural Foods and Supplements by Steve DeMuri For a list of references, email

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