NBTY director of nutrition research: Probiotic stakeholders need to come together to fill the gaps

By Stephen DANIELLS

- Last updated on GMT

NBTY director of nutrition research: Probiotic stakeholders need to come together to fill the gaps

Related tags Health care Probiotic

There are significant gaps in the science supporting probiotics, and industry and academia must come together to contribute to the understanding of probiotics, says Dr Susan Mitmesser, Director of Nutrition Research at NBTY Inc.

Probiotics are a considerable growth area, with 22% retail value (constant/real) growth in 2014 from 2013 in the US as more people became aware of the digestive benefits of probiotics due to positive reports in mass media outlets.

Despite an ever expanding body of science supporting the potential health benefits of the ‘friendly bugs’, consumer understanding of their benefits is limited, said Dr Mitmesser, who is a presenter at the Probiota Americas event in San Diego, June 3-5​. She is also chair of the event’s Scientific Committee.

“Consumers definitely don’t see probiotics doing anything other than aiding digestive health,”​ she said.

“I think the yogurt industry has done a good job on educating the consumer that probiotics can help with regularity.”

SH Mitmesser
Susan Mitmesser, PhD

Market data shows that pro/prebiotic yogurt and naturally healthy sour milk products such as kefir still accounted for 70% share of total probiotics sales in the US in 2014.

“How can we better educate consumers about the potential benefits regarding inflammation or immunity, for example?” ​she asked.

Deepening consumer education and understanding is a challenge, because there remain significant knowledge gaps for many health benefits, she said. “The clinical evidence needed to support robust health benefits that will convince consumers to buy is lacking; both inconsistent and incomplete.

“If this remains the case, sales of probiotic supplements and the benefits they can bring will struggle to reach their full potential.

“I see my presentation at Probiota Americas being a call to action for all of the people involved, for all stakeholders, to come together. What can we all do to contribute to the understanding of probiotics?”

Be mindful of the pieces of the puzzle

Probiota Americas

Speakers from UCLA, Bayer Healthcare, Nestlé Health Sciences, McMaster University, The University of Massachusetts, and more will join Dr Mitmesser to present cutting edge research and business insights at the Probiota Americas event in San Diego, June 3-5​. For more information about the event and to register, please click here

Bridging the gaps between academia and industry are vital to moving the sector forward, she said. “For example, academia may not think about the implications of manufacturing in large quantities, or the challenges of distribution. If it’s very sensitive bacteria then it may not be possible to distribute it.

“We have to be mindful of all the pieces of the puzzle when it comes to probiotics.”

Probiota Americas

Dr Mitmesser presentation at Probiota Americas event in San Diego, June 3-5 ​will challenge attendees to look at where the sector is now and where it needs to be in the future, including:
• The current gaps – what does the dietary supplement industry need to make a claim and where is the science incomplete.
• The future need – what new claims will we need evidence to support next – including beneficial impact on the gut/brain axis.
• The way forward – creating a framework for constructive, consistent clinical research that brings the industry, academia and regulator together.

For more information and to register, please click here: http://www.probiotaamericas.com/

Probiota Americas big

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