What women want: Lallemand launches probiotics for female health

By Lynda Searby

- Last updated on GMT

Lallemand is targeting women suffering from conditions like bacterial vaginosis, vulvovaginal candidiasis and urinary tract infections (UTI)
Lallemand is targeting women suffering from conditions like bacterial vaginosis, vulvovaginal candidiasis and urinary tract infections (UTI)

Related tags Gut flora Urinary tract infection Bacteria

The absence of any EU-approved health claims for probiotics hasn’t deterred Lallemand Health Solutions from launching a suite of probiotics addressing women’s health issues.

The Canadian firm says it has screened its bank of probiotic strains and selected some mainly from the Lactobacilli ​and Bifidobacteria ​families, whose properties and modes of action are particularly relevant to support different aspects of women’s health.

“We have one of the largest portfolios of probiotic strains, and we want to offer distributors a wide area of potential applications. In the same way we developed an oral health range earlier this year, we have now developed a women’s health offer, based on scientific data and the documentation of our strains,”​ Bérengère Feuz, Lallemand group marketing manager, told NutraIngredients.

Three health areas are being targeted: Feminine health, everyday health and age-specific health.

Target areas

With its feminine health offering, Lallemand is focusing on the role of the vaginal microflora. It says common infections such as bacterial vaginosis, vulvovaginal candidiasis and urinary tract infections (UTI) are linked to unbalanced microflora.

“Specific ​Lactobacillus species from Lallemand Health Solutions’ portfolio can help prevent the recurrence of these infections. Contrary to antimicrobial treatments, probiotics have no side effects, don’t eliminate other beneficial bacteria and do not favour antibiotic resistance,”​ said the company in a statement.

‘Everyday health’ relates to those aspects of health that are impacted by hormone fluctuations during the menstrual cycle. Lallemand’s everyday health strains target gastrointestinal discomfort, lower immunity and mood disorder.

For the age-specific health range, Lallemand says it has selected probiotic strains that address the issues encountered by women of child-bearing age, pregnant or undergoing the menopause.

These strains can be formulated into formats such as oral or vaginal capsules, orodispersible sticks or sachets of soluble powders.

Sufficient science?

Whilst the strains are backed by clinical data, Feuz admitted the science supporting the role of probiotics in women’s health is at an earlier stage than probiotic gut health research.

“Concerning the science linking probiotics to women's health, I wouldn’t say it is as advanced as for gut health, but the modes of action of probiotics, in particular their capacity to balance local microflora and maintain a protective shield, can be transferred from one area to the other. What we need now is probably more clinical trials for specific issues,”​ she said.

Despite a growing catalogue of clinical data for probiotics, none of the health claim dossiers submitted by the probiotics industry have received a positive opinion from the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority).

This means that although Lallemand’s women’s health portfolio is being launched globally, in one of its key markets, products containing the strains will be unable to carry claims. Asked how companies would be able to communicate the benefits of the new probiotic solutions for women's health without direct claims, Feuz said marketing strategies within Europe would be, “decided case-by-case by our partners”​.

“Formulations will be done case-by-case, and the marketing approach in each country will be designed by our customers, depending on the local market and regulatory environment."

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