Researchers and physicians all over the world have just recently started to explore the full impact that the digestive system, or gut, has on the rest of the body, including brain function. Exciting new research regarding the health significance of the microbiota—the collective term for the trillions of microorganisms that live symbiotically within our bodies—has been unveiled with surprising frequency over the last decade, serving to pique the interest of health professionals and laypeople alike.
This increase in digestive health awareness is rising in parallel with the ever-increasing prevalence of food intolerances, food allergies and digestive distress issues among the general population.
A Gut State of Emergency
The National Digestive Disease Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC) reports that 60-70 million people are affected by digestive disorders that require ongoing medical intervention.
Also check out these related links:
One of the most prevalent concerns is Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), which collectively affects over 16 million Americans (as of the last reported data in 1998). IBD is a painful gastrointestinal disorder that is characterized by a cluster of symptoms such as abdominal pain, gas, bloating, altered elimination, food intolerance and immune system dysfunction. Along with chronic pain, IBD may also cause reduced nutrient absorption within the small intestine.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is another common digestive problem that is said to affect 20% of the population (as of the last reported data in 2004). GERD occurs when stomach acid and food refluxes back into the esophagus—ouch!
Given the dramatic rise in digestive and food sensitivity issues, many consumers are looking for novel ways to ease digestive troubles while promoting optimal nutrient absorption.
Digestive Support Trends to Leverage
From reducing uncomfortable gas and bloating to supporting optimal nutrient absorption, there are never-ending opportunities to serve this category.
Probiotics and Prebiotics
Probiotics are, without a doubt, the most well-known digestive health supplement on shelves today. Conventional grocery marketing campaigns and daytime talk shows have propelled the benefits of probiotic consumption into the mainstream, yet there is still room to grow!
According to a new report, the global probiotic market is poised to grow from $62.6 billion in 2014 to $96 billion by the year 2020.
When formulating new products, consider adding prebiotics, which are essentially food for probiotic growth! Fermented by gut microbes, prebiotics promote a healthy balance between good and bad bacteria. Soluble fiber prebiotics, such as inulin, are relatively low-cost and easy to include in functional food products. An additional benefit of prebiotics is that they often carry multiple health support claims.
Fermented Whole-Food Products
Fermented foods are the newest heavy-hitter in digestive-friendly superfood nutrition!
The process of fermentation facilitates numerous digestive and nutritional benefits:
- “Pre-digestion” of complex foods that may otherwise cause gastrointestinal distress, breaking them down into more readily absorbable components.
- Naturally reduces carbohydrate content.
- Improves nutrient levels, and their bioaccessibility.
- Improves phytonutrient content and absorption.
- Reduces anti-nutrients, such as phytic acid and lectins.
FermaPro®, our proprietary fermentation process, encourages the growth of particular microorganisms only to the point that achieves the desired effects. Fermentation is then interrupted to stabilize the ingredients before drying. Once dried, we can add targeted pre- and probiotics to ensure maximum delivery of any desired serving-specific probiotic benefits.
Using the FermaPro® process, we can ferment almost any dry material such as grains, grasses, seeds, botanicals, vegetables and fruits, using a variety of health-promoting bacterial or yeast cultures.
For more information about the health benefits of fermentation, download our FermaPro® White Paper.
Sour Stomach and Heartburn
Occasional heartburn is one of the most common digestive complaints reported, and is said to affect about one-third of the adult population each year.
Comforteze® is a unique ingredient (Coming soon to RFI!) that quickly and effectively neutralizes excess acid. Whether it’s sour stomach, heartburn, acid indigestion or simple overindulgence in food or drink, Comforteze® delivers rapid digestive comfort!
Gas, Bloating and Cramping
Gas, bloating and cramping affects nearly every human being at least a few times per year. Whether these symptoms are caused by food sensitivities, insufficient digestive function or psychological stress, there are supportive ingredients that can help ease the pain.
Benegut®, another new ingredient at RFI, has been clinically demonstrated to soothe the muscles that cause bloating and cramping. Made from the edible leaves of Perilla frutescens (L.), this ingredient has a long history of traditional use in Japan and is easily incorporated into dietary supplement applications.
Consumers Know That Gut Health = Overall Health
And the door is wide open for innovative product development! At RFI, we are setting a new bar for digestive support product development and we want to help you deliver the highest quality digestive health solutions possible.
Go to Market Faster with RFI
With our Blueprints for Health® service, you can streamline the entire product launch process from concept to shelf, saving both time and money. Give us a call at 800-962-7662 or email: info@RFIingredients.com to learn more about our quick-to-market, concierge solutions.