Opportunites for Probiotics in Weight Management

September 23, 2010

Probiotics could be an emerging player in the weight-management market, according to market researcher Euromonitor International. While probiotics are still very fixated on digestive and immune health, new research is exploring the effects of probiotics on weight. 'As the evidence that obesity may have a microbial component continues to mount, the potential for probiotics as a key functional ingredient in weight management-positioned food and beverage products may emerge to be substantial,' says Ewa Hudson, head of Euromonitor...s health and wellness research.

Probiotics could be an emerging player in the weight-management market, according to market researcher Euromonitor International. While probiotics are still very fixated on digestive and immune health, new research is exploring the effects of probiotics on weight.

'As the evidence that obesity may have a microbial component continues to mount, the potential for probiotics as a key functional ingredient in weight management-positioned food and beverage products may emerge to be substantial,' says Ewa Hudson, head of Euromonitor...s health and wellness research.

She points to a few studies that have explored a weight-probiotic link. In 2006, a Stanford University study found that when patients who had undergone weight-loss surgery were given a probiotic supplement to treat an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut, those supplemented patients ended up losing more weight. 'The researchers concluded that the amount of calories absorbed from the diet is influenced by the makeup of gut flora,' says Hudson.

In June, she says, the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a Japanese study that showed that overweight adults who drank milk containing Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 lost body fat.

While the mechanisms of probiotics on weight loss are 'unclear,' says Hudson, she says that some researchers have proposed that certain probiotic strains may act by reducing fat absorption in the upper intestine. Also, she notes, a 2010-presented study by ingredients firm Christian Hansen posited that the company...s Lactobacillus casei W8 probiotic may increase production of a satiety-inducing gut hormone GLP-1.

Hudson says that as the probiotics market expands, the weight-management category could be a target. She noted probiotics... growing popularity, worldwide, saying that global consumption rose from 26,539 tons in 2004 to 44,661 tons in 2009, 'surpassing another blockbuster ingredient, namely, omega-3, by more than three times.'