New Hope Network is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Despite rumblings, probiotics are still the gods of the gut

The massive ad campaign behind Activia yogurt continues to buoy the entire digestive health category.  Probiotics are the big beneficiaries, but there are a host of other ingredients whose demand curves are trending up, too.

You can thank Jamie Lee Curtis’ bowels for the digestive health category’s solid performance.

The actress’ Dannon Activia yogurt commercials—and subsequent parodies—have introduced everyone from high-schoolers to grannies to the importance of digestive health, says Danielle Harrison, scientific and regulatory affairs manager at National Enzyme Co. Activia has brought probiotics to the forefront of consumers’ minds, but old-school ingredients like aloe, fiber and enzymes, along with new gut-health formulations, are also benefiting from the Jamie Lee Jolt.

“While the category is still dominated by probiotics, we’re seeing double-digit growth in nonprobiotic ingredients,” says Dan Murray, vice president of business development at Xsto Solutions, which distributes PepZin GI, a Japanese chelated zinc and L-carnosine (zinc carnosine) ingredient that supports the structure and function of the mucosal lining in the stomach and digestive system. PepZin GI is backed by 14 clinical studies, and an open-label trial of the ingredient’s effect on elderly people taking prescription pain relievers is underway.

The digestion functional ingredient category took longer to develop than predicted, Murray says, because of the “plethora of over-the-counter products that are very cheaply priced.” But conventional antacids don’t address underlying digestive conditions and problems that health-conscious people are looking to solve, Harrison adds; hence the growing desire for digestive health ingredients.

Legal issues multiply for probiotics

Dannon blazed the way for widespread consumer acceptance of the value of live cultures in food as disgestive aids.  Others have followed, including Cleveland-based Ganeden Biotech, which recently sold to Schiff Nutrition the rights to use its BC30 strain in supplements to concentrate on widening the ingredient’s uptake in foods. "If you look at the size of the food market worldwide versus the supplement market worldwide in probiotics, there's a big difference," Mike Bush, vice president of business development for Ganeden, said at the time of the deal’s closure earlier in 2011. "You have a brand like [Dannon's] Activia that's outselling most of the probiotic supplement products combined." The bigger market aside, another benefit for the food route is taking your ingredient through a GRAS affirmation.  This gets around the whole issue of whether a NDI notification might be needed.  The recent FDA guidance on the subject of NDIs stood the whole probiotics category on its head, and as of this writing seemed to leave some probiotic ingredients in legal limbo.  Those ingredients like BC30 that have GRAS status are in a more secure position.

The miracle herb

Aloe vera, dubbed the miracle herb years ago, is poised to pull off a Hail Mary yet again. The first aloe vera symposium in six years will take place Oct. 14 at SupplySide West, presented by the International Aloe Science Council. Look for presentations on recent scientific studies, along with global market data on aloe sales.

This is key because much of the human research conducted on aloe vera’s digestive effects dates back to the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s. “These are all university studies and not clinical trials. Clinical trials are few and not widely circulated,” says Pill Pine, vice president of Improve USA, which produces aloe vera gels, liquids and powders. Improve USA’s DaltonMax 700 Aloe Powder contains large polysaccharides with an average molecular weight of more than 1 million Dalton. University studies found that polysaccharides this size and larger activate the macrophage that direct human immune system activity.

Other research shows that aloe mucopolysaccharides have antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal effects. Two studies conducted in the last decade show that an aloe extract worked better than conventional laxatives on constipated rats, and that aloe combats inflammatory bowel disease in vitro.

Pine says while most people are familiar with aloe vera’s topical qualities, “the segment of the market where people are consuming aloe is doing extremely well.”

Enzymes go high-tech

National Enzyme Co. has been in business for nearly eight decades, and the company’s BioCore line is the culmination of all that experience and research, Harrison says. The newest entrant to that line, BioCore AR, capitalizes on the $10 billion annual antacid market. “It’s like a Tums plus,” Harrison says. “It takes the concept of Tums or Rolaids and supplements it with the enzymes the body needs to further digestion.”

BioCore AR is a chewable tablet that combines calcium carbonate with a protease, lipase and carbohydrase enzyme blend. The calcium carbonate fights heartburn by reducing gastric acid, but also raises the pH, which prevents the digestive system from breaking down proteins and some fats. Bio Core AR’s enzymes function over a wide range of pH levels, Harrison says, and compensate for the enzymatic activity lost through acid neutralization. In-house in vitro studies verify the effectiveness of the enzymes when combined with calcium carbonate, she says.


Condition Specific Directory




Oliggo-Fiber inulin

Known as the “invisible fiber,” inulin can be incorporated into almost any food or beverage without affecting taste or texture.  It is recognized as a prebiotic ingredient that supports the natural, healthful bacteria in the lower GI tract.  Research also indicates that inulin may enhance dietary calcium absorption, particularly among preteens and postmenopausal women.

866 456 8872

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA


Comvita New Zealand Ltd

Manuka Honey

Manuka Honey is gaining worldwide recognition for its unique health properties.  The most popular of these properties is its ability to support healthy digestive function– being a rich source of tannins, flavonoids and phenolic acids. Comvita® honey has a guaranteed UMF® (Unique Manuka Factor) rating and has been verified by an independent testing laboratory.

+64 7 5331426

New Zealand


Ganeden Biotech, Inc.


An easy to use, kosher, non-GMO, self-affirmed GRAS probiotic ingredient.  It’s the only probiotic to survive mixing, shearing, and baking; does not require refrigeration; survives gastric acidity, and can be formulated into products to have up to a two-year shelf life.  GanedenBC30 helps support digestive and immune health.


Mayfield Heights, Ohio, USA


Gum Technology Corporation

Fenugreek, Stabilizer ST-101


Heartland Flax

Flax Seed


Improve USA, Inc.

Aloe vera gel products

The Aloe vera gel products are processed from the inner fillet and have been shown to aid in gastrointestinal disorders. Studies have shown the natural soothing effects of the aloe aid in calming the effects of an irritable bowel.


DeSoto, Texas, USA


National Enzyme Co.


The BioCore line of superior digestive-enzyme products is all that is needed to create the world's best digestive solutions.  Biocore AR, BioCore Optimum, BioCore Carbo, BioCore Lipo, BioCore Pro, BioCore Kids, BioCore Dairy, BioCore Dairy Ultra, BioCore DPPiv, BioCore Edge, BioCore Optimum Complete.


Forsyth, Missouri, USA


National Starch Food Innovation

Hi-maize resistant starch, Hi-maize whole grain corn flour, Nutriose Soluble Fiber


NP Nutra



Nutraceuticals International

Baozene® Baobab Fruit 70%

Naturally occurring nutrients, such as 70 percent fiber; high amounts of vitamins A, B, C; potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium; and 10 percent polyphenols. Water soluble. Applications: tablets, food bars, capsules, ice cream, soft drinks, yogurt, smoothies, jams, cereal, cosmetics.


Elmwood Park, New Jersey, USA


Nutraceutix, Inc.

Probiotic caplets, tablets and capsules


Nutrition 21



Roquette America Inc.



Sabinsa Corporation


A synbiotic, proprietary composition comprising of beneficial human intestinal microorganism (LactoSpore®, Bacillus coagulans) and dietary fiber (Fenumannan®, Galactomannan) for promoting gastrointestinal health. LactoSpore® a probiotic which is shelf stable, GRAS affirmed producing only L (+) lactic acid, is combined with prebiotic Fenumannans® which is a soluble fiber fraction from the dietary fiber component of Fenugreek seeds.


East Wndsor, New Jersey, USA


Scientific Food Solutions



UAS Laboratories, Inc.

DDS® Probiotic Blend 003

A synergistic combination of Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS® 1 superstrain, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium lactis and FOS at a potency of 10 billion CFU/g.  The probiotics are human isolates, are acid and bile resistant, non-dairy, gluten-free, soy-free, corn-free, preservative-free and non-GMO.


DDS® Probiotic Blend 002

Specially formulated for children containing 20 percent Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS®-1 and 80 percent Bifidobacterium lactis and FOS (5 billion CFU/gram).  Blend 002 helps maintain digestive health and healthy immune function.  The probiotics are human isolates, are acid and bile resistant, non-dairy, gluten-free, soy-free, corn-free, preservative-free and non-GMO.


Eden Prairie, Minnesota, USA


XSTO Solutions, LLC

PepZIn GI®

PepZin GI® from Hamari Chemicals is a proprietary complex of Zinc and L-Carnosine for digestive health. More than a dozen human trials and fifty published studies show PepZin GI supports the mucosal lining, the natural defense mechanism of the digestive tract. Studies demonstrate PepZin GI works holistically to reduce occasional heartburn.


Morristown New Jersey, USA

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.