The Smart Pill, for example, is a newer non-invasive method of measuring gastrointestinal function using a disposable capsule, and is about the size of a multivitamin tablet, explained Dr Rai, who is a presenter at the Probiota Americas event in San Diego, June 3-5 and a member of the event’s Scientific Committee. “This pill travels through the GI tract and takes a variety of measurements through the different regions of the GI tract to monitor transit time, gastric emptying, motility, and changes in pH,” she said.
“These are the types of technologies that our scientific communities to be further evaluating and validating to help us further understand how digestive health ingredients, such as probiotics, prebiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, and digestive enzymes, support a digestive health benefit.
At the San Diego event, Dr Rai will also allude to biomarkers currently being used in clinical studies with respect to measuring digestive health outcomes and how scientists are using these to assess efficacy of ingredients positioned for digestive health support. “The scientific community needs to further understand and align on what is most relevant in terms of functional digestive health outcomes not only as they relate to different dietary interventions but also how to best measure them”, said Dr Rai.
“And the additional point of clarification that needs to be addressed is the characteristics of the target population involved in clinical studies. In other words should they always be healthy, is occasional digestive health discomfort acceptable, and what do we mean by healthy” added Dr. Rai
This is where Dr Rai sees great potential for emerging technologies such as the Smart Pill. “This is real-time data about what’s happening in the GI tract in response to an intervention, and can be tested under a variety of physiological states However, we still need to ensure that we can meaningfully and accurately communicate the data to consumers, without causing confusion.”
Moving the research needle
Dr Rai’s presentation at Probiota Americas event in San Diego, June 3-5 will challenge attendees to identify and discuss how scientists from across the spectrum can take existing and emerging digestive health ingredients, including probiotics, to the next level. More specifically, her presentation will:
• Encourage discussions around the gaps and opportunities surrounding the commercialization of science on emerging ingredients in the gut health space, viz. the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well as digestive enzymes.
• Explore what’s needed to move the needle on the research agendas, including biomarkers of relevance to the category and the regulatory environments, as well as consumer insights – is it a “push or pull” approach?
• Highlight some emerging methodologies to test their efficacy with respect to gut health, e.g. non-invasive molecular methods that profile exfoliated epithelial cells as markers of intestinal function.For more information and to register, please click here: http://www.probiotaamericas.com/
Speakers from UCLA, Bayer Healthcare, Nestlé Health Sciences, McMaster University, The University of Massachusetts, and more will join Dr Rai 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: http://www.probiotaamericas.com/
Editor's note: This article has been amended from the original due to the Smart Pill being described as the Smart Probe and other inaccuracies. We apologize for the errors.