Gut health links to immunity

Is it official? Can we finally talk about gut health in polite company?

"Oh yes, I think we can," asserts Nena Dockery, technical services manager at enzyme supplier NEC, makers of the Biocore line. "It is an area that has traditionally been somewhat taboo, but increasingly more straightforward commercials for high-fibre products and those to treat excess gas have gone a long way toward opening up the digestive tract to discussion. And I think we are beginning to understand that the health of the entire body in many ways is a reflection of the health of the digestive tract."

Certainly companies such as Dannon and Yakult have done a leviathan job in bringing the digestive- (and immunity-) health conditions to the fore, which have led to digestive health consistently topping the lists of fastest-growing categories. But no doubt there is room for growth in the sector.

"Consumers in the US are becoming aware of the link between digestive and immune health, but there is a long way to go before the link is common knowledge," says Mike Bush, vice president of business development at Ganeden Biotech, supplier of BC30 brand probiotic.

The line between gut or digestive health and immune function is a blurry one. Particularly in the probiotics sector, it seems that increasing the beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract can lead to improvements in immunity. Manufacturers looking to source ingredients for products aimed at either the gut or immunity might want to check out both sections in this issue.

"Probiotics improve not only your digestive system but also your immune system. PHD \[probiotic water\] is a better way to get probiotics because it's light and refreshing, and also at a higher dose than yoghurt and with more strains, and also with 4g of prebiotic fibre to enhance the efficacy of probiotics," says Dave Tabaczynski, founder of PHD.

As research demonstrates how prebiotic fibres — inulin, FOS, GOS, resistant starch — enhance the activity of probiotics, every probiotic formulation should incorporate its prebiotic lunch box.

Functional Ingredients
Digestive enzymes

"While the knowledge of probiotics drove a large amount of the growth in the digestive-health segment, we've seen that products like FiberAid, which employs prebiotic food that positively stimulates probiotic bacteria in the gut, also contribute greatly to the expansion of this market," says Kevin Owen, PhD, NAFTA head of technical marketing and scientific affairs at Lonza.

And let us not forget enzymes — the original digestive-health ingredient — which have been used for decades to treat specific digestive disorders. "It is the responsibility of reputable enzyme manufacturers and distributors to do our part in educating not only consumers but also health-care practitioners, whose understanding of the benefits of many nutritional supplements is lacking," says Dockery.

Gut health includes diarrhoea — an excellent use for probiotics — as well as Crohn's disease, acid reflux and heartburn, upset stomach, and celiac disease. Celiac disease is responsible for the rise in gluten-free foods, but the outsized rise in gluten-free products has to be attributable to more than just an explosion of celiacs — likely the nouveau term 'gluten free' has hip connotations regardless of whether it affects all consumers' health or not.

Advantage Partners

Naturally occurring water-soluble polysaccharide that has positive influence on the microflora of the gut, delivering prebiotic benefits. Can increase the production of short-chain fatty acids that lower colon pH, creating an environment favouring development of benefical bacteria. Reduces ammonia in the gut and provides gastrointestinal health without the typical gas and bloating.
[email protected]
+1 800 365 8324
Basel, Switzerland

Proprietary composition comprising a GRAS-affirmed probiotic and a dietary fibre from a food source to support gastrointestinal health. Supports a healthy immune system and helps restore the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Stable at room temperature. Shelf life of two years.
[email protected]
+1 732 777 1111
Piscataway, New Jersey, USA

Other Suppliers

Digestion-resistant maltodextrin. Helps support or maintain intestinal regularity, and clinical studies have shown that it may support intestinal health.
[email protected]
+1 800 637 5843
Decatur, Illinois, USA

Alfred L. Wolff
Quick Fibre
Water-soluble acacia dietary fibre. High fibre content has a positive influence on the colonic flora (prebiotic effect) and digestion.
[email protected]
+49 40 37676 124
Hamburg, Germany

Cargill Health & Nutrition
Oliggo-Fiber inulin
Known as the 'invisible fibre.' Can incorporate into almost any food or beverage without affecting taste or texture. Research indicates that inulin may enhance dietary-calcium absorption, particularly among preteens and postmenopausal women. Recognized as a prebiotic ingredient that supports natural, healthful bacteria in the lower GI tract.
[email protected]
+1 866 456 8872
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Fenchem Biotek
In-fibre inulin
Organic, Kosher and Halal inulin derived from Jerusalem artichoke. Widely used in foodstuffs, especially dairy and baked goods.
[email protected]
+1 909 627 5268
Chino, CA, USA

FrieslandCampina Domo
Vivinal GOS
Galacto oligosaccharides. Prebiotic ingredient derived from dairy. Reported to have good tolerance in humans versus other prebiotics. Closely resembles the oligosaccharides present in human milk. Provides key benefits for digestive health, mineral adsorption and immunity support.
[email protected]
+1 773 569 8599
Zwolle, Netherlands

Gum Technology
Natural gum used to bind moisture, reduce staling, provide freeze/thaw stability, add texture and increase fibre content. Studies have shown that fenugreek fiber reduces LDL and increases HDL cholesterol. Bioactive plant component frees amino acids to stimulate insulin secretion, which can limit glucose elevation.
Can replace gluten functionality in baked goods. Adding to gluten-free flour provides a replacement for the protein strands created in gluten development. This allows the bread to trap gases from expanding yeasts, and the cell structure of the original bread is recreated.
[email protected]
+1 800 369 4867
Tucson, Arizona, USA

Improve USA
A unique Aloe vera dehydrated 200x powder from the inner fillet of the Aloe vera leaf. Retains all the natural components found in the fresh, unprocessed leaf. Rich in long-chain polysaccharides. This fraction contains greater than 50 per cent polysaccharides with a molecular weight greater than 1 million dalton.
[email protected]
+1 972 230 9155
DeSoto, Texas, USA

All-natural, marine-based immune modulator that contributes to raising the mucosal immune defenses of the body by increasing circulating and secretory IgA levels. Promotes the synthesis of key cytokines involved in maintaining a healthy intestinal barrier. Helps in the maintenance of optimal TH1/TH2 balance.
[email protected]
+1 418 652 9598
Rimouski, Quebec, Canada

Institut Rosell-Lallemand
Lacidofil, LP299V, Protecflor, S.boulardii, Probio'Stick
Full line of ready-to-market probiotics covering digestive health, such as protection against AAD and traveler's diarrhoea; reduction of the recurrence of C. difficile infections, reduction of abdominal bloating; alleviation of IBS symptoms, and reduction of gastro-intestinal symptoms related to stress.
[email protected]
+33 5 62 74 55 55
Blagnac, France

Maypro Industries
Bifidobacterium b-longum, one of the most stable and researched probiotics in the world. Clinically shown to improve regularity of the immune system and intestinal environment, reduce the incidence of occasional diarrhoea, and provide protection against gastrointestinal discomforts.
[email protected]
+1 914 251 0701
Purchase, New York, USA

Montana Bentonite
Calcium bentonite
All-natural colloidal chelated mineral clay. Toxin absorbent.
[email protected]
+1 406 494 5004
Butte, Montana, USA

National Enzyme Company
Product line of superior digestive enzyme formulations that target all areas of digestion: carbohydrate, protein and fats. Also products geared toward specific gastrointestinal and digestive applications.
[email protected]
+1 800 825 8545
Forsyth, Missouri, USA

Researcher and manufacturer of naturally beneficial probiotic strains since 1983. Total process control, from growing the organisms through production of the final delivery forms.
[email protected]
+1 425 883 9518
Redmond, Washington, USA

UAS Laboratories
DDS Acidophilus
Keeps your body in check by maintaining optimum levels of good bacteria, and increasing the strength of your body's natural defenses.
[email protected]
+1 952 935 1707
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

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