Is there really any other class of supplements as exciting as probiotics (and prebiotics)? Nah, we don’t think so either!
Every now and then, it is helpful to recap what’s new in such a vastly growing category, as this will define how important the medical and nutrition disciplines believe probiotics are for human health and wellness – and encourage you, hopefully, to add them to your daily health regimen.
Danone, the originator of the yogurt probiotic category (Dannon brand) has announced it will allow researchers to delve into investigating any of its 1,800 strains of probiotics. And according to a Nutraingredientsusa.com report, this also includes access to Danone’s 193 lactic and bifidobacteria ferment strains residing at the National Collection of Cultures of Microorganisms, part of the Biological Resource Center of Institut Pasteur. Both lactic and bifidobacterial ferments may have specific mechanisms in health for a diversity of positive consumer uses. Opening up the ability to research these thousand-plus strains will further both product and potential drug developments.
On the opposite end of probiotic study news is very specific research developments. For example, researchers are currently seeking ways to utilize probiotics for the potential prevention of infant death via sepsis, according to a press release from DuPont. The company has announced it will provide a proprietary strain of Lactobacillus plantarum for a large clinical trial to hone in on the potential effects of probiotic gut supplementation in Bangladeshi infants with sepsis. This new study follows the compelling results of a previous clinical trial in rural India, the largest infant trial to date, that showed promise in reducing the risk of neonatal sepsis using the same combination of probiotic and prebiotic.
Another strain, Bifidobacteria longum 1714™ has recently been shown in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of healthy individuals to modulate social stress, enhance vitality and reduce mental fatigue. The authors write, “Furthermore, B. longum 1714™ modulated neural responses during social stress, which may be involved in the activation of brain coping centers to counter-regulate negative emotions.”
Meanwhile, the “good versus evil” battle continues in microbe land. One recent study sought to determine if it was possible that probiotics could potentially usurp H. pylori where it resides in the gut, and the determination remains unclear. H. pylori is often benign, but in some people can cause stomach ulcers and even stomach cancer; it tends to burrow in and colonize little glands in the stomach. This study’s objective is to find strains of probiotics that can evict the H. pylori and then take over the occupation of the glands for colonization, preventing risk of ulcer and cancer development.
Probiotics are being continually discovered to perform specific functions, and so are prebiotics. And products are being launched at a rapid clip that reflect all of the exciting new research. As one example, consumers in Europe who want to lose weight now have a prebiotic option. SlimBiome Medical, new from OptiBiotix Health Plc., is comprised of three active key ingredients supported by human clinical studies for weight management. Glucomannan and chromium are joined by a prebiotic fiber that the company asserts “enhances satiation and improves the diversity of the gut microbiome. Independent clinical studies show SlimBiome® reduces hunger, cravings for sweet and savory foods, and fat intake.”
In another focused study, researchers found that the envelope molecule (called capsular polysaccharide A or PSA) from Bacteroides fragilis (B. fragilis) may be useful against viral inflammatory diseases. PSA appears to promote protective, anti-inflammatory responses during a viral infection, according to the study authors. PSA from B. fragilis attracted the T and B cells that prevents the immune system from producing excessive harmful inflammatory responses triggered by the herpes simplex virus infection.
Lead author Ramakrishna Chandran, Ph.D. stated that, “It's possible that consumption of certain prebiotics, probiotics or synbiotics [their combination] may enhance your body's natural ability to suppress inflammatory diseases," Chandran said.
And now choices are available as to how you want to take your probiotics – a new technology from Ayanda (part of the Sirio Group) has received a patent reflecting its ability to preserve probiotics with oil as a delivery system, and allowing for reduction of dosages needed. Representatives from the company told industry media NutraingredientsUSA.com that it took more than 10 years to perfect this technology to ensure probiotic bacteria survival in a soft gel matrix with fish or other nutritive oils.
However, many people have difficulty swallowing soft gels, and also feel a sense of pill fatigue – you may be one such individual. A patented DryCap® system has allowed for the development of what’s called a liquid “micro-shot,” which allows for the instant, easy combination of fresh, alive lactic acid cultures with liquid ingredients in a refreshing, tasty “shot” gulp.
The micro-shot is still rather new in the supplement industry, and consumers like you are loving the convenience, considering the shot a “treat.”
There’s no doubt about it, research into probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics is by far and away richer, more abundant, and covers a vastly wider area than any other dietary supplement category.