Biotics : an opportunity to differentiate in the immunity market

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This is an article created by our partner, Lesaffre and written by Clarisse Geraci (Wellness & Immune health product manager) and Antoine Vanhove (Product Manager).

Immunity has been a major consumer focus for years – but today, consumers consider it more important than ever following the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, there was a 20% increase in product launches with immune health claims¹ in 2021. However, this growth is structural, with 8%² of compound annual growth rate (CAGR 2017- 2019) in dietary supplements dedicated to immunity before the pandemic.

Certain ingredients have traditionally dominated the immune category, such as vitamins D, C, and B, and minerals like zinc. Still, consumers are looking for new ingredients clinically proven for their efficiency and impact in these particularly trying times. This is why we’re seeing a shift to more probiotics and prebiotics entering the market.

Probiotics: the new stars of immunity

The immunity market is adaptive to the changes of our constantly evolving world, and probiotics are an excellent example of an alternative to the staple immunity ingredients.

According to the 2020 Council for Responsible Nutrition report “Supplemental Security Income” (SSI), 82% of Americans know that probiotics may support their immune health. This report explains why probiotics now rank in the top 10 ingredients dedicated to immunity.³

Top 10 ingredients for immunity

Probiotics answer the growing demand for new products that benefit immunity, and their long-term growth is expected at a CAGR of 9% worldwide from 2021 to 2028.⁴

Supporting the body’s first line of defense

Secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) is the most abundant antibody of the immune system, catching toxins and infectious agents and inhibiting their interaction with the respiratory and intestinal epitheliums. Thanks to their action, sIgA is considered the body's first line of defense.

With age, sIgA level decreases and can lead to a higher sensitivity to common infections⁴. But other factors, like intensive training, long-term use of medication, and our modern lifestyle, which can leave us stressed, sleep-deprived, and fatigued, can also induce the weakening of our natural defenses.

Bacillus subtilis, registered in the Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures (CNCM) under the number I-2745, is suitable for immunity and is a rising star of the category thanks to its impact on sIgA.

A clinical study⁵ of Gnosis by Lesaffre’s patented Bacillus subtilis strain called LifeinU™ BSCU1 showed that supplementation with this strain provides a double-protective effect. First, it significantly increases the sIgA level in the respiratory tract by 45% and in the intestine by 87%. Secondly, it is associated with a 31% reduction of the relative risk to report an infectious episode⁵.

Further, the reduction in the frequency of common colds is a key effect sought by consumers, and consumption of this probiotic has been shown to reduce the number of days with an infectious episode by an average of 2.8.⁵

Prebiotics enter the game

More than ever before, prebiotics are gaining popularity when it comes to immunity choices. Accordingly, the global market of prebiotic-based products is projected to double in 10 years, reaching €15 billion in 2030 with a CAGR of 8%.⁸

Recently, there has been an explosion of supplement launches with prebiotic ingredients. Between 2017 and 2021, this growth of new prebiotic-based products occurred with a 25% CAGR.v Among those prebiotic-based products launched in 2021, 40% were positioned in the “immune health” subcategory.

2030

Diversifying microbiota

Mainly fibers found in food, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and yeasts, prebiotics constitute an energy source for bacteria, stimulating their contribution to health benefits.

Prebiotic supplementation stimulates the development of selective bacteria families and their metabolic activities. Through prebiotic fermentation, different bacteria produce various short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) known to take part in the immune response.⁷

Butyrate and propionate short-chain fatty acids, for example, may be involved in the proliferation and differentiation of immune cells. Moreover, acetate regulates the pH of the gut and protects against “bad bacteria.”

Gnosis by Lesaffre launched Lynside® Immunity Prebiotic as the first yeast cell wall ingredient patented for its prebiotic effect. This effect is demonstrated in different human enterotypes (microbiota profile) and supported by a study realized in a relevant dynamic in-vitro gut-model (the PolyFermS®).¹⁰,¹¹

The study, conducted in partnership with ETH Food Biotechnology’s lab (Zurich, Switzerland), tested two different enterotypes donors in the PolyfermS® with Lynside® Immunity Prebiotic, in low and high dosages.

The results showed that Lynside® Immunity Prebiotic induces an adaptive SCFA production depending on the enterotype’s donor and in a dose-responsive way. In other words, the higher the dose of Lynside® Immunity Prebiotic, the more SCFA produced, which equates to more immune benefits.  

Infinite innovation possibilities for biotics

Even though probiotics or prebiotics can be found in standalone products, an increasing number of brand owners are combining them due to their complementary actions.

Just considering the science supporting the effectiveness of Gnosis by Lesaffre’s ingredients, a simple blend combining LifeinU™ BSCU1 and Lynside® Immunity Prebiotic offers a double effect on immunity.

On one hand, LifeinU™ BSCU1 is shown to support immune health thanks to a high increase of IgA. Meanwhile, Lynside® Immunity Prebiotic plays on the microbiome diversity to promote the production of immune-supportive SCFA.

The world of biotics offers a wealth of new opportunities for the immunity market. Probiotics, prebiotics, or symbiotics… the possible combinations are infinite, and the potential of supplements and functional foods has yet to be fully realized.

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References :
  • 1. Innova database
  • 2&8. Innova probiotic report
  • 3. CRN’s 2020 Survey
  • 4. Probiotics Market by Ingredient, Function, Application, and End User: Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast 2021-2030
  • 5. Lefevre M, et al. Probiotic strain LifeinU™ BSCU1 stimulates immune system of elderly during common infectious disease period: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study. Immun  Ageing. 2015 Dec 3;12:24. Doi: 10.1186/s12979-015-0051-y.
  • 6. Blaak E.E., et al.  fatty acids in human gut and metabolic health. Benef Microbes. 2020 Sep 1;11(5):411-455. Doi: 10.3920/B2020.0057.
  • 7. Evolution of the prebiotic finished products market in the US & EU in value. Market Insights – Prebiotics Market Analysis. 2021.
  • 9. Poeker S.A., et al. Understanding the probiotic potential of different dietary fibers using an in-vitro continuous adult fermentation model (PolyFermS®). Scientific reports. 2018 Mar 12;8(1):4318. Doi:10.1038/s41598-018-22438.
  • 10. Rodriguez B. A yeast product, and a composition comprising it, for use as a prebiotic agent. Patent WO2020152229. 2020.

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