Research Supported Probiotic Ingredients Put the Focus on Wellness
Consumer interest in the role of nutrition in overall health is expanding, with 68% of people globally now stating they believe there is a connection between their digestive health and overall good health. Research into digestive health is answering the call, too, with a myriad of studies that highlight the gut microbiome—the environment of “good” bacteria that works to keep us healthy—as the critical link between digestive health and immunity. This growing recognition has further sparked searches for research supported probiotic ingredients in everyday food and beverages.
Given recent global events, consumer demand for health-supporting foods is heightened. For example, trends show that since April, 2020, 36% of consumers in the U.S. and 30% of those in the U.K. have made healthy eating a much higher priority. Searches for gut-friendly foods and beverages are on the rise these days as well. From lactose-free milks to alternative dairy, fermented foods, and other sources of prebiotics and probiotics, consumers are interested in maintaining the digestive health that supports their overall well-being.
So What’s the Gut Microbiome?
The gut microbiome is made up of the microbes in the digestive tract that are crucial for health. In particular, the gut microbiome affects your body in a number of ways, including:
- Supporting digestive health. Certain bacteria digest fiber, producing short-chain fatty acids, which are important for gut health.
- Helping control your immune system. The gut microbiome also controls how your immune system works. By communicating with immune cells, the gut microbiome can help manage how your body responds to a threat.
Since the gut microbiome plays such an important role in keeping us healthy, it’s critical to keep it functioning optimally. Life events like illness and aging can negatively impact gut health, as can everyday occurrences like stressors, medications or diet.
Making a Healthy Connection
While the traditional catalysts of good health—adequate rest, exercise and nutrition—are as valid as ever, consumers are looking a bit deeper for ways to stay healthy. During the time period since April 2020, interest in digestive health grew, with 13% of consumers worldwide more conscious about their digestive health. Clearly, consumers are making the connection between digestive and immune health, and this interest is translating into proactive behaviors. Consumers are reaching beyond food sources and are seeking benefits from other sources, like foods and beverages fortified with research supported probiotic ingredients to help protect their digestive and immune health. One recent survey reported that more than 8 out of 10 global consumers say that a product’s impact on their health and wellness has influenced their selections.
The Role of Probiotics
Research shows that some probiotics may help promote healthy gut bacteria and defend against pathogens, helping to facilitate both digestive health and immunity. But not all probiotics are the same. It’s important to note that benefits offered by probiotics are strain-specific, meaning that safety and clinical data from one strain cannot be used to support the safety and efficacy of another strain. What’s most important is that the probiotic must be safe and efficacious. One of the best ways to ensure this is by choosing foods and beverages that include research supported probiotic ingredients.
Research: The Most Important Ingredient
While it’s clear that not just any probiotic will do, it’s also apparent that consumers are sometimes not so clear on the best probiotics to meet their desire for overall wellness. In fact, the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAAP) has warned that consumers do not fully understand the important distinctions between different probiotic strains, and recommends that consumers search for products formulated with research supported probiotic ingredients.
When it comes to helping consumers integrate probiotics into their daily diets, understanding where the consumer is on their journey is key. In a world of competing claims, it can be difficult for consumers to compare ingredients and choose the products best suited to their needs. In fact, recent statistics show that half of global consumers say they want more information about health in general, while 49% want more information about the nutritional benefits of products.
It’s recommended that consumers look for brands that that provide information about benefits on the label, ensuring that the probiotic strain is identified, and consulting resources like published research. As consumers seek more guidance on the health credentials of a product, or the effectiveness of its ingredients, manufacturers are being increasingly challenged to provide this information. Because the safety and efficacy of research supported ingredients like BC30™ (Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086), Kerry’s branded probiotic, has been validated, manufacturers are better positioned to provide consumers with the benefits they seek. In addition, BC30 is suitable for formulation into a wide variety of everyday food and beverage products consumers want to incorporate into their daily routines, from breakfast to snacktime to dinner—and beyond.
Learn more. Download the white paper, The Era of the Microbiome: Why The Gut is a Growing Focus For Wellness to discover how formulating with a hardy, research supported probiotic ingredient can help meet consumer demand for products with digestive- and immune-health benefits.