Probiotics are gaining awareness worldwide and have become a high-demand ingredient for functional foods and beverages. However, there remain many myths and misconceptions around their benefits and their suitability for use in food and beverage applications. Here, we take a look at three of the most common misunderstandings.
Myth 1 – Probiotics only benefit digestive health
Although it’s commonly known that probiotics may help support digestive health, many are unaware that 70 percent of the body’s immune cells are in the digestive tract and are acted upon by certain probiotic strains. Probiotic strains such as GanedenBC30 (Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086) have been shown to support immune health. In addition to clinical work showing digestive and immune support, Ganeden has also conducted research showing that GanedenBC30 enhances the body’s ability to efficiently utilise protein, making the probiotic an excellent ingredient for use in sports nutrition and meal replacement products.
One key point to remember is that the benefits of probiotic ingredients are strain specific, so formulators must look at the clinical studies supporting the exact strain being considered to determine which benefits to claim, and ensure inclusion rates through the end of shelf life to support these claims. For example, the Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086 strain has 25 published and peer-reviewed studies demonstrating its efficacy and supports a variety of health claims.
Myth 2 – Some foods and beverages are naturally probiotic
It is a misconception that fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, miso and natto are good sources of probiotics, and that dairy products like yogurts have enough good bacteria to reap probiotic benefits. The pasteurisation process used in the production of some fermented foods will destroy almost all living bacteria and even raw, non-pasteurised fermented foods may not be ‘probiotic’. Additionally, fermented dairy products, may contain only a small fraction of the live and active cultures that were added at the time of manufacture, depending on storage conditions, cultures used, and other manufacturing processes.
Manufacturers that want to promote the probiotic benefits of their foods or beverages must fortify those products with high-quality, science-backed probiotic strains. It is important to work with ingredient suppliers that provide well researched strains, R&D support and perform product testing to help ensure that consumers are getting the probiotic benefits they are expecting.
Myth 3 – Probiotics can only be added to refrigerated products
Most probiotic strains are unable to withstand traditional food and beverage manufacturing processes, so formulation with probiotics in products outside of the refrigerated dairy category was almost impossible in the past. However, Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086 is a strain that can survive most manufacturing processes without requiring special technologies or changes to production methods - making it one of the few probiotic strains that can be used in foods and beverages beyond dairy.
GaendenBC30’s inherent stability comes from a protective spore that enables the organism to survive harsh manufacturing processes and the journey through the digestive system, as well as longer a shelf life. This allows manufacturers to add probiotics to functional foods and beverages, increasing product range and sales.
With proper research and the selection of appropriate strains, formulating probiotics into functional foods and beverages can increase consumer demand at higher purchase prices.
Michael Bush is President and CEO of Ganeden.