The advantages of probiotics for gut health have been known for ages and dates back to ancient Greek and Roman medicine. But recent advances in understanding the relationship between gut health and overall health has turned a niche market into a growing sector. According to Zion Market Research, the global probiotics market will likely generate revenue of approximately $65.87 billion by the last quarter of 2024. Why? Because increasing interest in the advantages of probiotics is compelling companies to innovate with probiotics and nutritional enhancements.
And where there’s innovation, there’s growth.
Advantages of Probiotics
Gut microbiota is composed of various species of bacteria. As the person goes through life, there is an alteration in the composition of a person’s gut microbiota through changes in diet, lifestyle and overall health status. Each person has a distinct microbiota as unique as their fingerprint. The composition also may vary across the digestive tract. The microorganisms in the gut each play a specific role crucial in balancing the metabolism, fortifying the immune system, and reinforcing the gut-brain axis.
Dysbiosis is the imbalance of microorganisms. Experts say it causes a variety of diseases like obesity, diabetes, irritable bowel diseases, and autoimmune diseases. Additionally, more studies are confirming that the diversity and balance of our gut bacteria are crucial to health. In essence, restoring the balance of gut bacteria involves two actions: feeding the good bacteria and increasing their population.
Taking probiotic supplements can help. Not only does it increase the number of probiotics for gut health, but it also brings additional health benefits. Some of the advantages of probiotics include treating constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome. Probiotics also help improve immunity, increase heart strength and support brain health.
Probiotics for Gut Health: Innovation and Evolution
With increased awareness, consumers are investing more in their well-being now. This renewed interest in health unlocks prospects for the probiotics industry. A number of innovations are brewing in the market.
- Synbiotics are prebiotic supplements that contain probiotic strains. Probiokid by Institut Rosell-Lallemand and Seed Daily Synbiotic are some of the available synbiotic brands in the market.
- Psychobiotics is an emerging branch in probiotics that aims to tap on health-beneficial bacteria to enhance the gut-brain axis. Individuals with depression, mood disorders, and anxiety were observed to show improvements when given doses of psychobiotics within a defined timeframe. Lallemand Health Solutions is one of the pioneers in the field of psychobiotics. The company’s pioneering study about the brain-gut axis is captured in their ProBio’Stick Formulation
- Plant-based yogurt variants usually fall short compared to their dairy counterparts when it comes to flavor and texture. Yofix, an innovative startup, took on this challenge by crafting a vegan yogurt that is delicious, flavorful and nutritious. Besides being dairy-free, Yofix produces its product with an all-natural ingredient, no waste, and low ecological footprint. Chobani and Danone Foods have also launched their own line of non-dairy and plant-based yogurt variants. Health-conscious consumers can incorporate probiotics for gut health without compromising their diet regimen.
- Freshness, fun, and variety are the least likely words that we can use when talking about probiotics. KeVita – a California-based startup – means to change that. Founded in 2009, KeVita offers three yogurt uplifting probiotic drinks to choose from. Their line-up includes the Sparkling Probiotic Drink, Master Brew Kombucha, and Apple Cider Vinegar.
Prebiotics v.s. Probiotics for Gut Health
While probiotics play a significant role in promoting good gut microbiota, it is the prebiotics that feeds the good and desirable bacteria. Prebiotics come from foods like onions, yams, asparagus, garlic, chicory root, apple skins, and bananas. A helpful metaphor to help understand the difference between a probiotic and a prebiotic is the garden in your backyard. While you can add seeds (i.e., probiotics) if you do not have water and fertilizer (prebiotic fibers) to the ground the seed will not flourish.
Therefore, probiotics will not flourish without the prebiotics which stimulates the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Probiotics: Gut Microbiota Good Guys and Allies
Probiotics for gut health cannot be anymore relegated as a mere fad or trendy nutrition buzzword. From digestion to the conversion of energy, to the quality of our sleep and our mood swings – all of these functions goes back to gut health. With up to six pounds worth of microorganisms in the gut, a strong community of good bacteria is waiting to be tapped as the body’s allies. Potency, CFU (colony-forming units), strains and purity all play an important role when it comes to selecting probiotics.
For more on the importance of gut health, check out this Bold Business interview with world renowned subject-matter expert Dr. Steven Gundry.
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