Synbiotics: The best of both worlds (Part 2) – Innovations and NPD opportunities

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06 Oct 2017 --- Synbiotics – dietary supplements or functional food ingredients that contain both prebiotics and probiotics – are seeing a lot of innovations and new products take hold within their specialized space. Today, in the second part of a special report, NutritionInsight looks at these changes with some insights from companies that are producing synbiotics.

New products could give advantages in synbiotics marketplace
There is still potential in NPD with synbiotics, according to Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights, who hosted the recent webinar Thriving on Gut Feeling. In the competitive gut health space, synbiotics offer an interesting platform for innovation.

Sabinsa has attained a competitive edge over other synbiotics available in the market with a unique product called LactoWise, according to Shaheen Majeed, President Worldwide, Sabinsa.

“It is a proprietary synbiotic, a blend of shelf-stable probiotic LactoSpore plus a natural prebiotic called Fenumannan, a soluble fiber fraction from Fenugreek seed made by an enzymatic process,” Majeed explains.

Fennumannan contains 40 to 45 percent total carbohydrate content and is 95 to 98 percent water soluble. It increases the growth rate of LactoSpore 50 percent more than glucose as a food source and increases spore formation three times more than glucose, Majeed says.

“Fennumannan causes LactoSpore to bloom and multiply in the gastrointestinal tract within 45 hours of incubation compared to ordinary glucose as a carbon source, which only produced noticeable spores after 135 hours,” Majeed reports. “This is an important health benefit to colonize the gut with healthy, lactic acid-producing bacteria in record time.”

Majeed summarizes: “Together, they confer even greater health benefits on the digestive and gastrointestinal tract through proper lactose digestion, better absorption of nutrients, and stronger immune system defense.”

Elsewhere, some probiotic strains and some fibers have shown certain digestive health benefits, according to Charlotte Beyerholm, Global Marketing Manager, Chr. Hansen. “By combining certain probiotic strains with fiber we might be able to demonstrate a synbiotic effect, meaning that the fiber serves as the ‘lunch pack’ for the probiotic strains and thereby enhances growth,” says Beyerholm.

Beyerholm explains that Chr. Hansen has performed in vitro tests demonstrating the strong growth capabilities of Chr. Hansen’s probiotic strain named BB-12 on Actilight FOS, and also demonstrated the BB-12 and LA-5 Chr. Hansen probiotic strains’ positive effects on Orafti inulin.

New ingredients on the rise for Sabinsa
A few studies highlight the importance of choice of the prebiotic for the overall probiotic growth and its functionality, because only specific combinations are found to be effective in enhancing probiotic survival and growth, Majeed points out.

“While Sabinsa focused on its single strain of B. coagulans MTCC 5856 (LactoSpore) for its health benefits and has been engaged in several clinical trials, a team of scientists went to explore a new concept – creating unique tailor-made combinations of LactoSpore with prebiotic, providing nutritional requirements, specifically for spore-forming B. coagulans MTCC 5856,” Majeed explains.

This meant that scientists at Sabinsa screened several fruits and plant-based fibers to find a suitable prebiotic. Extensive research led the company to cranberry seed powder, as an effective prebiotic for the growth of LactoSpore, and thus it created Lactocran.

“This unique combination of the cranberry seed powder and LactoSpore, FDA no question GRAS ingredient, provides a first-of-its-kind tailor-made synbiotic formulation,” asserts Majeed. “With longer shelf-life stability at room temperature of both cranberry seed powder and LactoSpore, this product has a shelf life of three years at room temperature.”

“Overall, the application of the cranberry seed powder as a prebiotic for B. coagulans was deemed to be novel and opened up some new avenues for the use of synbiotic combinations containing B. coagulans MTCC 5856 and cranberry seed powder from Fruit d’Or,” Majeed adds.

Looking at the synbiotics space, it is impossible not to feel that there is more potential for innovation. The ways in which gut health products use these ingredients in the future remain to be seen, but there is certainly scope for further investigation and use.

By Paul Creasy

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