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A retailer's guide to the forgotten organ

A retailer's guide to the forgotten organ
Here's why the microbiome should be top of mind for you and your customers.

Once viewed with disdain as transmitters of infections, the bacteria living in and on us have earned a better reputation over the past decade. Science has revealed the instrumental role that our so-called “microbiome” plays in supporting human health. To support and protect beneficial microbes, the natural products industry has rolled out everything from condition-specific probiotic and prebiotic supplements to shampoos and mouthwashes aimed at preserving the healthy bugs.

In 2018 alone, U.S. consumers are projected to spend about $2.4 billion on probiotic supplements, up from $425 million in 2008, according to Nutrition Business Journal. Include functional foods and beverages (which constitute about 80 percent of sales) and the global probiotics market is expected to reach $64 billion by 2022. Meanwhile, sales of prebiotics—indigestible fibers which serve as food for good bacteria—are also soaring.

Here’s what you need to know to help your customers support their microbiome.

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