After success in supplements, HSO eyes drinkable yogurt potential for women’s health probiotics

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / puhhha
© Getty Images / puhhha
Austria’s HSO Health Care is looking to take its Astarte strains for women’s health into the dairy aisle, with its Dairyfem drinkable yogurt showcased at the recent Probiota Americas event.

With success in the supplement aisle in brands such as Culturelle for women​, AZO Complete Feminine Balance​, and Jarro-Dophilus Women​, the company is now looking for licensed partners to take the DairyFem concept into mass retail under their own brand, Helmut Essl, CEO of HSO Health Care GmbH​, told NutraIngredients-USA.

“We are very confident that the success story of all three [dietary supplement] products is a good proof of concept and definitely supports the Dairyfem innovation,” ​said Essl.

“Dairyfem R&D GmbH is the only company conducting research in women’s health using our beneficial bacteria in dairy products,” ​he added. “Merging an existing dairy business with our Dairyfem strains could bring multiple synergetic effects.”

HSO’s Astarte strains are Lactobacillus crispatus​, LbV 88, Lactobacillus jensenii​, LbV 116, Lactobacillus gasseri​, LbV 150N, and Lactobacillus rhamnosus​, LbV 96.  

“The four strains are the most dominant good bacteria in the vaginal flora and were selected and characterized out of healthy women. They are based and covered by patents in the US and EU,” ​said Essl.


The microbiota of the vagina is relatively well-characterized. Unlike the gastrointestinal microbiota, where greater diversity is seen as beneficial, a less diverse vaginal microbiome is preferred, explained Dr Jürgen Schrezenmeir from the Clinical Research Center in Kiel, Germany. Data shows that the most women in the USA are colonized by L. crispatus​ (32%) and L. jensenii​ (23%), with L. gasseri ​and L. rhamnosus ​found in lower amounts.

Scientific data supports the role of L. crispatus​ and L. jensenii​ in protecting against vaginal dysbiosis, Dr Schrezenmeir told us.

The efficacy of the strains in the yogurt drink was assessed in a recent pilot study, the results of which were published in the journal Beneficial Microbes​ (9 (1), Pages: 35-50). Dr Schrezenmeir and his co-workers recruited 36 women with bacterial vaginosis (BV) and given the antibiotic metronidazole orally for 7 days. Concurrent with this, the women received either the probiotic yogurt or placebo (acidified milk) twice a day for four weeks.

The results indicated that none of the women in the yogurt group had BV after four weeks, but 35% of women in the placebo group still had BV. Less discharge and odor were also reported in the yogurt group compared to the placebo group.

Armed with the science and the success of the strains in mainstream dietary supplement products, HSO is now looking for partners to launch drinkable yogurts with the strains. The company showcased the Dairyfem concept at the recent Probiota Americas​ event in Miami, which attracted approximately 300 delegates.  “The feedback to our Dairyfem innovation on Probiota was very good,” ​said Essl.

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