World Digestive Health Day Highlights Dietary Solutions to IBD

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29 May 2017 --- With Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) affecting more than 2.5 million people in Europe and one in four in the US, consumers are increasingly interested in food and ingredients that support a healthy digestive system. This year's World Digestive Health Day (WDHD), organized by the World Gastroenterology Organisation (WGO) and the WGO Foundation, draws attention to IBD and the various therapies currently being developed to treat these diseases, including dietary supplements to improve the microbiome in the gut.

With two-thirds of people saying that digestive health is important to them, it is clear that consumers are becoming more familiar with the gut microbiome and its influence on the body. Suppliers have been responding to this consumer interest with product launches aimed at tackling indigestion and improving overall gut health. According to data provided by Innova Market Insights, food and beverage launches featuring digestive health claims have seen a CAGR of +21% between 2012 and 2016.  

NutritionInsight currently features an overview of some key products marketed as containing probiotics, highlighting that probiotics continue to be applied outside their more common domain of dairy. One notable development is that indulgent products, such as snacks and confectionery, are receiving a health boost via the incorporation of probiotics, resulting in better-for-you appeal.

Of particular importance within the digestive health market are fibers and prebiotics, with global product launches containing these ingredients rising 15.7% (fibers) and 13.9% (prebiotics) between 2012 and 2016.

According to Anke Sentko, Vice President Regulatory Affairs and Nutrition Communication at Beneo, fibers are the preferred nutrients for beneficial gut bacteria and therefore encourage positive modulation of the microbiota composition to take place. In doing so, short-chain fatty acids and other metabolites are formed in the colon that can help to maintain regularity and nourish the cells of the gut wall to support health and decrease the risk for inflammatory processes.

A healthy microbiota is supported by a balanced diet that is rich in fermentable dietary fiber, but it can be difficult for some consumers to adjust their diets accordingly. Further support to encourage a healthy microbiota can be found by simply including prebiotic fibers, such as Beneo’s chicory root fibers, inulin and oligofructose, in the daily diet through fiber-enriched foodstuffs, as well as fruits and vegetables that contain inulin and oligofructose naturally, Sentko says.

On 31 May (4pm CEST/10am EDT), Innova Market Insights will be hosting a live webinar on the latest developments in the market for gut-health related products. To register for this event see here.

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