Through a partnership with French company Olygose, California-based AIDP will start supplying into the US market two plant-based galacto-oligosaccharide (GOS) ingredients, AlphaGOS, a gut health ingredient, and another branded as CravingZ’Gone that is meant to promote satiety for weight management. Both are different dosages of an ingredient based on the same raw material, the leftovers from pea protein extraction.
Crystal Webber, RD, AIDP’s new director of sales, said the amount of development Olygose has put into the products was a big selling point, and the ingredient’s plant source makes it unique.
“Olygose was started in 2009 and has a rich technical and scientific base. They developed AlphaGOS using a clean-label water extraction from pea whey. AlphaGOS has the same neutral, mildly sweet characteristics expected of saccharide-based functional fibers, but AlphaGOS is also non-GMO, gluten free, allergen free, and lactose free. GOS are widely used as prebiotics, but in the form of beta-GOS primarily sourced from dairy,” Webber told NutraIngredients-USA.
Among the research that Olygose has done on the ingredient was a 2015 study on the fiber’s satiety-promoting benefits. The researchers concluded that the soluble fibers may help promote satiety and decrease inflammation in obese people. The researchers also had this to say about the fiber’s microbiome altering effects:
“Analysis of the microbiota revealed that the alpha-GOS interventions led to significant increases in bifidobacteria levels, compared with the control group,” they said.
Purified fibers vs whole plant sources
Purified fibers always run up against the call from some researchers and dietitians that what’s really needed to promote consumers’ gut health is just to get them to eat more whole plant foods. Getting a sufficient amount of whole plant food particles into the distal gut ought to be the true goal of microbiome modulation, they maintain. Webber doesn’t dispute that fact but said the situation is similar to the recommendation for consumers to get other important nutrients, such as key vitamins and essential fatty acids, solely from the diet. In principle it’s a great idea, but in practice most consumers fall short, hence the need for targeted supplementation.
“Of course, unprocessed whole plant sources of fiber are the gold standard for promoting optimal gut health by providing a variety of prebiotic fibers as part of the natural blend of fibers inherent in the plant. Since recommended daily doses of the purified prebiotic fibers range from 1-10 or more grams per day, however, a very high dietary intake of whole plant fiber would be needed every day,” she said.
Benefits at lower doses
Webber said one of the big benefits of purified prebiotic fibers is that they can provide these benefits at lower doses.
“By selectively supporting only ‘good’ (bifidogenic) bacteria, AlphaGOS allows consumers to ensure they are promoting an environment in the gut that supports a healthy ratio of ‘good’ to ‘bad; bacteria by making sure the ‘good’ bacteria have what they need to survive at a low fiber dose. Purified prebiotic fibers with high digestive tolerance ratings can also be a great option for those who suffer gastrointestinal (GI) distress from large amounts of whole plant fibers and seek a predictable, minimal GI response (if any),” she said.
Webber also said that, depending on the goal of the product, a variety of fibers and probiotics could be considered in a formulation. One size does not necessarily fit all when it comes to fiber.
“Because we have naturally a wide variety of ‘good’ bacteria in our bodies, it is beneficial to provide a variety of prebiotics as well. A solid strategy in formulating a digestive health supplement would be to identify the bacterial strains you want to target based on their research outcomes, then select one or more prebiotic fibers to include based on your chosen bacterial strains. When evaluating prebiotic fibers as a formulator, keep the consumer in mind,” she said.