The company’s ‘improve your digestion’ platform can be seen as an attempt to expand the industry’s use of gut health ingredients beyond probiotics and steer customers towards ingredients that perform specific and scientifically-substantiated functions.
“We believe we need to talk more about different digestive health functions. The same solution doesn’t apply when you’ve got a gluten intolerance as when you want to maintain a healthy microbial flora,” Ruedi Duss, global marketing manager at DSM Nutritional Products, told NutraIngredients.
“Our aim is to explain to customers that there are ways to differentiate using different gut health benefits.”
Through the platform, the company is offering a “comprehensive portfolio” of ingredients that offer benefits in three areas of digestive health: microbial flora, digestion and gut wall.
These include the enzymes Tolerase L, which helps lactose intolerance sufferers digest dairy, and Tolerase G, which enables those with a gluten intolerance to digest residual gluten; OatWell dietary fibres from oat beta-glucan, which have benefits for healthy gut, bowel function and intestinal immunity; and vitamins A, B2, C, D, E, biotin, niacin, nutritional lipids and DSM’s Fabuless oil-in-water emulsion.
From probiotics to prebiotics
To date, probiotics – a space in which DSM isn’t currently active in Europe – have been the most popular gut health ingredient. These feature in DSM’s portfolio of digestive health ingredients, through its US i-Health division, which produces Culturelle supplements.
More of a focus for DSM, however, is the prebiotics sphere; Duss hinted that DSM is currently investigating how certain prebiotics can influence the microbial flora.
“The right balance of microbiota plays a relevant role in digestive health. Probiotics is where it all started. The whole story is out there even though products aren’t allowed to carry probiotic claims in the EU [under the EU nutrition and health claims regulation [NHCR].
“DSM has Culturelle supplements on the market in the US, but we will be looking at other options for maintaining healthy intestinal flora. There is science that we have developed that, although not ready yet, will show evidence in microbiota for prebiotics,” he noted.
Enzymes respond to gluten-free trend
Duss was less guarded when it came to discussing Tolerase L and Tolerase G – DSM’s enzymes for processing lactose and gluten.
Whilst he said that Tolerase G would not be suitable for coeliacs, he suggested it could be used in products targeting the growing number of consumers who claim to be sensitive to gluten or have made a lifestyle choice to avoid foods containing gluten.
“We are about to start explaining to our customers how such an enzyme can improve a potential health problem. We know we are at the start of the education curve but already we have created a lot of interest.”
While Tolerase L is commercially available in the EU, as yet Tolerase G is only approved for use in the US. Duss confirmed that DSM is working towards obtaining EU approval for Tolerase G.