SUBSCRIBE

Breaking News on Supplements, Health & Nutrition - Europe US edition | APAC edition

News > Research

Read more breaking news

 

 

Link to causality: Industry needs to up prebiotic & probiotic efforts

By Will Chu , 10-Nov-2016
Last updated on 10-Nov-2016 at 13:54 GMT2016-11-10T13:54:03Z

Clinical trials investigating the effects of prebiotics and probiotics on the microbiome have to move from an association to causation if the market is to evolve in the long-term.

Taking part in the Future Food Tech conference in London last week, Colette Shortt, global regulatory director at Johnson & Johnson, said that while this shift could take time, current research had to move away from association studies to more the double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial to really prove efficacy.

“There are a range of products, from Faecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT) to standard food products that modulate the microbiome,” she explained.

“With the example of FMT, this has happened quite rapidly. I think it does show that there are real effects but the studies need to be done. However, there are a lot of opportunities there, particularly in ordinary and medical foods.”

Also taking part in the session was Rob Beudeker, vice president of innovation, Human Nutrition and Health at DSM. He echoed her comments adding that current studies generate much data but little in the way of causality and eventual health benefits.

“It’s an extremely complex issue,” he added. “It’s not only the microbiome; it’s the individual’s genes, and their behaviour. There are a lot of aspects that need to be taken into account.”

Beudeker made reference to DSM’s research in the prebiotic abilities of riboflavin and its multifaceted role in the human intestine. 

“We have recently been able to demonstrate the abilities of riboflavin as an electron acceptor as used by microorganisms contained in faecal bacteria.”

“Just changing the dosage of riboflavin, you can change the composition of the microbiome in the colon. We now need to make that link between those results and the health benefits.”

A business model for the microbiome

'It may be that they are moving from an IP-based business to an emphasis on know-how, how things work together and getting the right people in place.' ©iStock

Scott Parkinson, head of Gastro-Intestinal Health & Microbiome, at Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences, attempted to move away from the science side and highlighted an incompatible business model as restrictive in prebiotic and probiotic research.

“A research-heavy industry like pharmaceuticals is based on large investments upfront and through the clinical trial process. Strong returns are almost guaranteed through their intellectual property (IP) rights on the final product.”

“I don’t know if this business model works for the microbiome. I think if you’re thinking about breaking patents, there are a lot of risks for the business in going down this route. I think for a lot of companies, it may be that they are moving from an IP-based business to an emphasis on know-how, how things work together and getting the right people in place.”

He described the different levels of expertise required in the success of a product and going down a specific health route.

“Marketing is one level,” he commented. “If you’re looking to market a product and you want to find some evidence to support a health claim. That’s one kind of expertise that needs considering.”

“You also need the right people to obtain the right preliminary findings and to get the product through the process to demonstrate the effects in clinical trials. Here individuals specialising in the regulatory process is another consideration.”

‘EFSA opinions not insurmountable’

Current European regulation for prebiotics and probiotics focus very much on cause and effect. To complicate matters the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has been criticised for not being clear enough in its scientific gudelines and requirements in the area.

“The area in Europe is less clear as there are no therapeutic guidelines,” said Shortt. “To date we have not seen any probiotic-related claims coming through. I imagine we will quite soon particularly with prebiotics.”

“I think there is a need to integrate the clinical programmes with the regulatory strategy. In the past studies were done without a regulatory end point in mind. I think to include this now in the development phase is very important because of the added complexity of experimenting with live bacteria.”

“If you evaluate the opinions given by EFSA, particular for general health claims, they’re not insurmountable.”

Related products

Probiota Insights: Is a probiotic EFSA claim possible?

Probiota Insights: Is a probiotic EFSA claim possible?

We've seen hundreds of rejections in the past 10 years. But industry remains bullish...

Probiota Insights: What have the last five years taught us about probiotics?

Probiota Insights: What have the last five years taught us about probiotics?

There has been a revolution in technology. But what do we now know about...

Can prebiotics rival drugs for exercise-induced asthma?

Can prebiotics rival drugs for exercise-induced asthma?

Dr Neil Williams

Lecturer in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition, Nottingham Trent University

All mouth and some action: Oral probiotics still in infancy but promise is there

All mouth and some action: Oral probiotics still in infancy but promise is there

Dr Mette Kristine Keller

Assistant Professor , University of Copenhagen

Making a deposit: Faecal biobanks have ‘great potential’

Making a deposit: Faecal biobanks have ‘great potential’

Dr Tom Van de Wiele

Associate Professor, Ghent University

VIDEO: Meet Ms Ugene, the state-of-the-art Singapore robot testing TCM and food products

VIDEO: Meet Ms Ugene, the state-of-the-art Singapore robot testing TCM and food products

No errors, no mood swings, no sick leave, and she can process three sets...

Probiota Insights: Does the prebiotic definition need reworking?

Probiota Insights: Does the prebiotic definition need reworking?

Professor Bob Rastall

University of Reading

 ketone research attracts  elite sportspeople teams

'20 to 30 elite sportspeople/teams' involved in ketone research

Kieran Clarke

Professor of physiological biochemistry, University of Oxford

Overcoming the taboo of vaginal health – the next frontier of probiotics

Overcoming the taboo of vaginal health – the next frontier of probiotics

A paradigm shift is needed to force delicate women’s health issues like vaginal infections...

FiE 2015: Our best bits

FiE 2015: Our best bits

Our teams of journalists were out in force at Food Ingredients Europe (FiE) last...

New tech on EFSA’s horizon: Crowdsourcing and cyber assistants

New tech on EFSA’s horizon: Crowdsourcing and cyber assistants

New technology like crowdsourcing and artificial intelligence computers is the future of risk assessment,...

EFSA’s Bernhard Url: Science should reserve one private room for open debate

EFSA’s Bernhard Url: Science should reserve one private room for open debate

Since taking the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) throne last summer, Dr Bernhard Url has become...

Seadragon sets out to breathe fire into Kiwi fish oil

Seadragon sets out to breathe fire into Kiwi fish oil

The town of Nelson will welcome New Zealand's first omega-3 fish oil processing plant...

The taste test: How do you make a probiotic drink taste good?

The taste test: How do you make a probiotic drink taste good?

Probiotic fruit drinks face different challenges to their dairy counterparts - but both face...

African probiotic project reaching 10,000 infants a day

African probiotic project reaching 10,000 infants a day

Professor Gregor Reid

Chair , University of Western Ontario & Human Microbiology and...

Germvangelist set to shake Probiota with holistic shout

Germvangelist set to shake Probiota with holistic shout

Jason Tetro

Researcher, author, The Germ Guy

Creepy proteins will be hot

New proteins are creeping on trend

Alternative proteins are a “hot area” of interest and products such as sandwich spreads...

Dairy ingredients giant on Indonesia: ‘A lot of opportunities here’

Dairy ingredients giant on Indonesia: ‘A lot of opportunities here’

Jake Riddle

General manager, Kerry Asia Pacific

Live Supplier Webinars

Polyphenols tipped to become the way to innovate in Sports Nutrition
Fytexia
Alpha & Omega in Sports Nutrition – Using Omega 3’s and A-GPC to improve performance and recovery.
KD Pharma
Orally bioavailable standardized botanical derivatives in sport nutrition: special focus on recovery in post-intense physical activities
Indena
Collagen in motion: move freely and keep your injuries in check
Leading manufacturer of gelatine and collagen peptides
Life’s too short for slow proteins. Whey proteins hydrolysates: Fast delivery for enhanced performance
Arla Foods Ingredients
What it Takes to Compete and Win in Today’s Sports Nutrition Market
Capsugel
Sports Nutrition Snapshot: Key regional drivers and delivery format innovations
William Reed Business Media
Gutsy performance: How can microbiome modulation help athletes and weekend warriors
William Reed Business Media
Pushing the boundaries: Where’s the line between ‘cutting edge nutrition’ and doping
William Reed Business Media

On demand Supplier Webinars

High-amylose maize starch may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes: what does this qualified health claim mean?
Ingredion
Balancing Innovation and Risk in Sports Nutrition Ingredients
NSF-International
Explaining bio-hacking: is there a marketing opportunity for food companies?
William Reed Business Media
Personalized Nutrition – how an industry can take part in shaping the future of Nutrition
BASF Nutrition & Health
Find out Nutritional and ingredient lifecycle solutions and strategies!
Roquette
Is the time rIpe for I-nutrition?
William Reed Business Media
The Advantage of Outsourcing Fermentation-based Manufacturing Processes
Evonik Health Care
All supplier webinars