With as many as 70 million Americans affected by impaired digestion ranging from chronic constipation to inflammatory bowel disease, it’s no surprise that the digestive health market is booming (1). As science continues to unveil the expansive role the gut plays in overall health, including immunity, depression, and even sleep problems, the quest for optimizing digestive health will continue to expand at a fast clip.
The global digestive health products market is expected to grow from $31 billion in 2017 to $59 billion by 2025 (2). Over the past few years, compelling science has pushed the vital role prebiotics play in promoting good gut health into the mainstream. With consumer awareness already primed by the robust probiotic market, the landscape is fertile for quick adoption of prebiotics in foods, beverages and supplements.
The global prebiotics market is expected to generate around $7.91 billion by 2025 (3), indicating that there is significant demand for innovative, convenient food, beverage and dietary supplement SKUs with digestive health advantages.
Consumers clamor for innovation
A whopping 70 percent of consumers are proactive about their digestive health and 37 percent are aware of the importance of the gut microbiome in overall health. Data from the Natural Marketing Institute shows that a third of the population would be more likely to purchase a food/beverage product if they thought it would help balance their digestive system and 1 out of 4 would be more likely to buy a food/beverage product if it optimized their gut health. Most dietary supplement users have a high awareness of prebiotics and as with probiotics and fiber, they are willing to purchase and use them regularly (4,5). Clearly the market is well poised for innovative SKUs offering prebiotics throughout the grocery store.
The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics, (ISAPP) defines prebiotics as “a substrate that is selectively utilized by host microorganisms, conferring a health benefit” (6). Prebiotics are acted on and utilized by bacteria in the gut. Commonly available prebiotics are inulin, fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) and an emerging star, xylo-oligosaccharide (XOS), which has demonstrated benefits over other types of prebiotics. The physiological benefit of a prebiotic can vary depending on the type of prebiotic and the groups of beneficial bacteria it is utilized by (i.e. Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, etc.). In other words, different prebiotic types stimulate different genera of bacteria in the gut.
Selectivity key to prebiotic benefits
Prebiotics promote the growth of a variety of gut bacteria, working together much like a lock and key. The structure and chemistry of a specific prebiotic (the key) “fits” with certain friendly bacteria (the lock), working in concert to yield a variety of health benefits. Some prebiotics act as a food source for many types of bacteria and may ultimately enhance the growth of less desirable microorganisms. One prebiotic though, XOS, is proving to work as a highly specific key, that with the help of enzymes, can selectively ‘unlock’ the growth of certain groups of beneficial bacteria, with no effect on other less desirable microorganisms (7,8), thus promoting a more balanced gut microbiome.
Other prebiotic types, such as inulin and galacto-oligosaccharides, are more readily utilized by many species of both friendly and unfriendly bacteria. Prebiotics like inulin and galacto-oligosaccharides do not selectively support the growth of beneficial bacteria and may enhance growth of undesirable bacteria species as well, which can ultimately result in intestinal dysbiosis (9,10).
The XOS95® advantage
One clinically studied form of XOS that offers unique selectivity and lower usage requirements is XOS95® made by Prenexus Health in Arizona. XOS95 is a prebiotic ingredient that offers many health and formulation advantages. Derived naturally from non-GMO and organic sugarcane grown in California, XOS95 Prebiotic has been shown to support the growth of beneficial bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. The prebiotic’s unique molecular structure allows this symbiosis while providing little to no support for the growth of certain unfriendly microbes. Additionally, these specific groups of friendly bacteria are able to utilize XOS as a nutrient, allowing them to increase short chain fatty acid production and ultimately improve overall gut health (10).
Most prebiotics require significant daily dosages of 5 to 40 grams which can be challenging for many people to consume, as it can cause gas, bloating and GI irritation, so a prebiotic that is effective at low levels is highly desirable (11). With an effective level of only 1 gram daily, XOS95 has significant therapeutic benefit, isn’t associated with gastrointestinal irritation often observed with higher-intake prebiotics.
XOS health benefits
Research has demonstrated that XOS are readily utilized by friendly gut bacterial to increase short chain fatty acid (SCFA) production. Increased production of SCFA may decrease intestinal pH to create an environment favorable to friendly bacterial species in the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium groups and improve overall digestive and intestinal health. XOS intake also appears to modulate the glycemic response and promote satiety, support healthy weight management, modulate systemic inflammation, improve certain aspects of the lipid profile and in conjunction with Bifidobacterium animalis, subsp. lactis has been shown to modulate markers of immune function in healthy adults (12-19).
Combine science demonstrating almost daily the myriad benefits of a healthy digestive system along with today’s consumer desire for longevity and health, and you’ve got a market ready for the next generation of digestive health support, prebiotics. Smart manufacturers will opt for versatile, safe and effective and label-friendly ingredients to enhance their product offerings. XOS95 checks all the boxes.
This content paid for and provided by Prenexus Health.
Note: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and contributor(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher and editors of WholeFoods Magazine.
The products and the information provided have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
- National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Opportunities and Challenges in Digestive Diseases Research: Recommendations of the National Commission on Digestive Diseases.Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health; 2009. NIH Publication 08–6514.
- Digestive Health Products Market by Ingredients (Dairy Products, Bakery Products and Cereals, Non-alcoholic Beverages), Product Type, Sales Channel, Region Global Industry Analysis, Market Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast 2018 to 2025. https://www.fiormarkets.com/report/digestive-health-products-market-by-ingredients-dairy-products-385973.html February 20, 2020. Accessed May 24, 2020,
- Prebiotics Market Size, and Forecast By Ingredients (Inulin, FOS, MOS, GOS), By Application (Animal Feed, Dietary Supplements and, Food and Beverages), And Trend Analysis, 2014 – 2025. https://www.hexaresearch.com/research-report/prebiotics-industry Accessed May 24, 2020.
- Trust Transparency Center. Sep 30, 2019. 2019 2nd annual Trust Transparency Center Single Ingredient Trade Association Consumer Survey. https://trusttransparency.com/ Accessed May 15, 2020.
- Natural Marketing Insights. https://nmisolutions.com Accessed May 24, 2020.
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