dsm-firmenich spotlights Humiome 'biotic vitamin' with targeted delivery system

By Nikki Hancocks

- Last updated on GMT

Marharyta marko | Getty
Marharyta marko | Getty

Related tags Gut health

dsm-firmenich revealed its innovative dual microbiome targeted delivery system for its world-first 'biotic vitamin' at Vitafoods Geneva.

“Diet clearly is the key determinant of the composition of the gut microbiome,” explained PD Dr Robert Steinert, HNC Principal Scientist at dsm-firmenich, during a presentation of the ingredient at the tradeshow earlier this month.

"The problem with diet is that we are not following a gut microbiome healthy diet on a daily basis, for example, we know we have a fibre gap of about 20-30g per day, we eat few fermented foods and too little live microorganisms.”

He explained while there are a number of biotics on the market, “dsm-fermenich realised there was an additional opportunity for vitamins when delivered to the colon to beneficially modulate and support the gut microbiome as research has extended to look beyond single biotic ingredients and consider entire microbial networks”.

He noted those who attended Probiota in Milan earlier this year would have seen a dedicated session on microbiome ecosystems with keynote speaker Prof Jens Walter​ pointing to the importance of understanding the gut ecosystem, microbial networks and ecology to overcome some of the limitation seen with traditional biotics such as pre and probiotics, including high interindividual variability and the effects of background diets.

“He said while the classical model of cross-feeding views microbial interactions as successional metabolic activities of microorganisms exchanging SCFA derived from macromolecule degradation there is likely also cross-feeding of micronutrients.  Here interdependent networks of microorganisms constantly trade essential microbial nutrients such as vitamins to stimulate growth, to provide detoxification of inhibitory molecules or to reduce reactive oxygen species (ROS).”

He noted that while traditionally it has been understood that the intestinal microbiota produces vitamins primarily for the host, more recent research questions whether they are produced for the host at all.

“It turns out they actually produce these vitamins for themselves to support their metabolism,” said Steinert.

He noted research from 2016 looking at biosynthetic pathways for B vitamins found "reverse patterns", meaning some microorganisms produce certain B vitamins while others utilize them.

He further said riboflavin (vitamin B2) is a precursor for flavin mononucleotide (FMN) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD), which play an important role in a wide array of metabolic processes, plus it plays a role in the detoxification of inhibitory molecules to reduce reactive oxygen species (ROS), which fosters microbiome resilience.

dsm-firmenich conducted in-vitro experiments screening a range of different vitamins to test their impact on the gut and found that “consistently gut diversity was enriched through riboflavin in-vitro and in-vivo”.

In order to further study the relationship between riboflavin and gut health, dsm-firmenich studied a cohort of more than 1,000 people with microbiome fecal samples available. They looked at the relationship between gut microbiome, vitamin production and factors related to diabetes and cardiometabolic health.

They found vitamin B biosynthesis pathways were relavent, with vitamin B2 positively associated with alpha diversity as well as a link between this vitamin's intake and type 2 diabetes and fruit intake.

He also noted a problem with vitamins is that they are very efficiently absorbed so it is hard to release them within the lower intestine. To overcome this, it is possible to either overdose or use targeted delivery systems but to rely on overdosing would require personalized doses to consider the individual’s own genetics, nutrient status, absorption threshold etc.

Therefore dsm-firmenich developed its unique, IP-protected Microbiome Targeted Technology (MTT), a dual-action colon-targeted delivery system featuring an innovative two-layer natural coating.

The first coating protects the riboflavin core from the harsh, acidic environment of the stomach and small intestine. The outer layer withstands digestive enzymes and low pH, while the inner layer remains intact until it reaches the colon. Once it arrives in the colon, the inner coating dissolves and releases the riboflavin. 

He said this ensures 90% of the riboflavin reaches the lower intestine and colon with 10% absorbed by the small intestine, unlike conventional vitamins where about 98% is efficiently absorbed in the upper small intestine at recommended daily doses.

The coating also allows for the ingredient to be combined with other ingredients, such as biotics or other vitamins, within a capsule.

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