Solnul-branded resistant starch is derived from potatoes. The ingredient was developed by MSP, the largest potato starch producer in Canada. The brand name of Solnul is derived from the Latin name for potato, Solanum tuberosum, and granule.
The company has been steadily building the scientific portfolio for its prebiotic, defined by ISAPP as “a substrate that is selectively utilized by host microorganisms conferring a health benefit”. (Gibson, et al. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol, (2017) 14, 491–502)
Published data shows that Solnul significantly increases the abundance of Bifidobacterium has efficacy for a relatively low dose of 3.5 grams. A paper published earlier this year in Nutrients (15(7), 1582, doi: 10.3390/nu15071582) also showed that the 3.5 gram dose significantly increased Akkermansia levels.
“Solnul has the highest reported increase in a clinical study of Akkermansia – we don’t know of any other ingredients that can increase this trendy next-gen probiotic,” said Jason Bush, PhD, Solnul’s Chief Science Officer.
Another 2023 paper, this time in the Journal of Functional Foods (108, 105740, doi: 10.1016/j.jff.2023.105740), showed that Solnul resistant starch may reduce levels of histamine, an inflammatory amino acid, and improve the integrity of the gut barrier. Metabolomic analysis showed that not only were histamine levels decreased, but there was also a reduction in certain histamine-secreting gut bacteria.
“Solnul is the lowest reported dose resistant starch, and among some of the lower dose prebiotics at 3.5 g/day, which makes it extremely cost-effective to include within a formulation,” said Dr Bush. Does Solnul have a prebiotic effect at an ultra-low dose, lower than the clinical dose of 3.5 grams? This is one of the current unanswered questions, he said, but if it does this could be valuable for alternative supplement formats like capsules.
While a lower dose may open up opportunities in pill delivery formats, most of Solnul’s current customers are formulating Ready-to-Mix powders with many ingredients or as few as two ingredients in canister, sachet or stick pack formats, said Cara Kennedy, Solnul’s Director of Marketing.
“We’ve seen Solnul paired with probiotics, PHGG, HMO, Beta-Glucans, other RS2s like Green Banana, and other fibers. Given our metabolite research, we expect to see soon Solnul paired with collagen, pro- or post-biotic Akkermansia, Enzymes, and Quercetin to name a few,” she added.
Dr Bush explained that although Solnul is an insoluble fiber with heat limitations, the excitement to include Solnul in applications has outweighed any formulation hurdles.
“We’re seeing a strong motivation to find creative solutions to fold Solnul in during different stages of processing or using new processing techniques. Most of our customers are gravitating to RTM powders, and Solnul can be included in powdered mixes like protein shakes, meal replacements, greens powders, sport nutrition and hydration products. Solnul is also being picked up for R&D in snack bars, bites, chews, and oatmeal products,” he said.
FODMAP and Upcycling
There are also the Low FODMAP and Upcycling angles for brands to consider. “Solnul’s insoluble but fermentable nature makes it extremely tolerable, unlike other FODMAP prebiotics including fast fermenting fibers such as inulin or FOS where there are stacking issues,” said Dr Bush. The ingredient is certified FODMAP Friendly. It is also Gluten-Free, Glyphosate Residue Free, and Non-GMO Project Verified.
The company is a member of the Upcycled Food Association, and Kennedy stated that there certainly has been traction in the marketplace for Upcycled with over 482 Upcycled Certified Products and Ingredients and 21% sales growth of products with the Upcycled Certified mark, according to data from SPINS (52 weeks ending Oct 22, 2022).
Solnul initially focused its attention on the US market but is now looking to expand in key markets around the world, said Kennedy.
“With a Masterfile submitted to Health Canada, new trademarks issued in the Asia-Pacific region, a dysbiosis patent secured in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and a FSANZ food-health relationship dossier completed, Solnul is primed to further penetrate the international market and become a global household name,” she said.
“We have the first ever Akkermansia FSANZ food-health relationship claim in Australia and New Zealand. We expect the first products containing Solnul to launch in this region by the New Year.”
The five types of Resistant Starch
RS1 and RS2 are not digestible due to their structure: starch is protected by either cell walls or by the granule and is not accessible to the intestinal enzyme. (Solnul is RS2.)
For RS3 and RS4, starch is modified (cooking and cooling = retrogradation for RS3 and chemically for RS4) making it undigestible and resistant to the attack of intestinal enzymes.
RS5 is a specific complex with starch and lipid, thus preventing granule dissolution during cooking.