The Challenge of Prebiotics

October 31, 2017

With the growth of consumer awareness and interest in the probiotic category of dietary supplements, it’s been only a matter of time before the category of prebiotics would also come into the limelight, even if it’s even more confusing and poorly understood than its neighbor. When you think of the emerging body of science and hype about the microbiome, you have an even larger challenge arising; how do you navigate an emerging science base that will challenge industry, consumers and regulators? And even more significant, how do you tap into this emerging science, connecting scientists and business professionals to responsibly apply these new discoveries to the betterment of human health and create a viable, principled marketplace?

This responsibility is part of the task in front of those watching the category. It’s a different type of challenge from other developing sectors. It’s not a matter of exploitation, quality and managing adulteration. Here, it’s a challenge of establishing, engaging and communicating a viable yet fluid definition that responds to new information in the field, that’s inclusive, and that tell more than just a fiber story. There is a really good paper, Prebiotics: why definitions matter from September 2015 that summarizes the evolution of prebiotic definitions and understanding over the past 20 years. Moreover, it articulates the impact of inconsistent definitions, and lays out some of the challenges of a few years ago. Since that paper was published, ISAPP (the International Scientific Association for Prebiotics and Probiotics ) has modified its definition of prebiotics. The result is a disconnect between ISAPP’s definition and other bodies such as FDA which have no current regulatory definition, but tend to think in terms of fiber and carbohydrate sources only, not factoring in recent science. And even within the new ISAPP definition, “a substrate that is selectively utilized by host microorganisms conferring a health benefit”, there is some room for interpretation.

Switching gears for a minute to the industry/commercial side, companies have for the most part also focused on the fiber and carbohydrate aspect of prebiotics, with one success criteria in the United States, being to get on the list of FDAs ingredients allowed the fiber health claim. This includes fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), galactic-oligosaccharides (GOS), more recently xylo-oligosaccharides (XOS), inulin and several categories of resistant starch. This approach has traditionally kept these ingredients on the food side of the US market, using the ‘added dietary fiber’ approach, rather than the dietary supplement side of the universe, making appropriate substantiated structure function claims. With the emergence of probiotics as a legitimate supplement side category, though, this is changing. Recent changes in FDAs administration of fiber claims and substantiation requirements might also encourage a shift.

For any category to undergo managed growth, business planning requires some certainty or market predictability, and in the absence of a regulatory consensus, with an evolving definition (domestically let alone globally), with inconsistent market data, that market predictability is currently lacking for prebiotics.

Finally, there is the state of science. In the US, what type of research is required to provide appropriate standards of evidence to support responsible growth and promotion of products within the category using structure function language? In the European Union, the European Food Safety Authority has not allowed claims for FOS, GOS, polydextrose and wheat dextrin, claiming the evidence insufficient to support the health benefit claimed. We know much more mechanistic science will be required to show the specificity required. Then it’s a matter of finding the right research approach to convincing results on health benefit. The scientific challenges will continue to be daunting.

It is the combination of these three elements that makes the future of prebiotics so interesting. For certain, some organic growth and work will occur merely in the vortex created by continued growth of the probiotic category. We know too that there is significant intersection between the two categories, prebiotics and probiotics. Increasingly though, there are separations as well, so one cannot assume that the two will travel lockstep indefinitely.

It’s because of the challenge described above, and the opportunity (and need) to steward growth that we have formed the Global Prebiotic Association. Stay tuned……

Author: richard151

Unlock the Power of Transparency: Schedule a Meeting Now

Ready to Illuminate Your Path?
Partner with Trust Transparency Today.

Get inTouch

Lori Diez

Lori Diez combines compassion and excellence to lead organizations to their next level. A small-town Texas childhood taught her the value of hard work and relationships, which she uses to foster teamwork that brings results that have transformed cultures and programs to their highest potential. Her successful career in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical sales leadership and event hosting has prepared her to deliver results as the COO of TrustTransparency, where she uses her industry knowledge to ensure that the company’s operations run smoothly as they support nutraceutical companies in their mission to help others. Lori’s passion for charity reflects her belief that individuals working together can change the world, no matter how small their contribution to the effort. This year, she looks forward to continuing over a decade of service at the Houston Livestock Show And Rodeo, where she will be the Chairman of the Livestock Committee.

Conference Handouts

Conference Handouts

CoQ10 Statin Associated Myaglia Meta Study Barry Tan 0618 Case Study

CoQ10 Statin Associated Myaglia Meta Study Barry Tan 0618 (1)

Statin Q10 Effect Case Study

Statin Q10 Effect Case Study

Schedule Consultation with Trust Transparency

Glynnda Steinford

Glynnda Steinford, Trust Transparency Consulting’s Director of Customer Relations, brings over four decades of healthcare experience to her vital role in client engagement and relationship building. Her diverse background spans from administering medical groups to impactful stints in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical sales, all underlined by her degree in Healthcare Administration.

At the heart of Glynnda’s work is her talent for nurturing long-term connections, a skill she leverages to enhance client experiences and partnerships within the consultancy. Beyond her professional commitments, she enjoys life’s simple pleasures, whether it’s her love for cats and cooking or her ventures into golf, always prioritizing cherished moments with family and friends. Her personal interests echo the dedication and warmth she extends in her professional network, making her an invaluable asset to the team.

Caiti Dowden

Caiti Dowden stands as a crucial pillar at Trust Transparency Consulting, bringing invaluable insight and expertise to her role as Senior Executive Assistant’ since her start in 2018. With an academic background from Sam Houston University and a career shift from education to the nutraceutical sphere in 2010, Caiti has cultivated a sharp acumen for dissecting industry trends and bolstering strategic decision-making.

Her transition from Data Analyst reflects her growth and deep understanding of the business landscape. Caiti’s commitment goes beyond professional excellence; she thrives on balance, drawing from her rich life outside of work to enhance her organizational contributions. Whether it’s family time, volunteering, or rooting for Houston’s sports teams, she believes in embracing experiences to fuel her professional creativity and insight.

In her current role, Caiti’s dedication to dynamic business analysis and operational support proves her to be an irreplaceable asset to our team, embodying the synergy of personal enrichment and professional success.

Pam Hilpert

Pam Hilpert, Chief of Staff at Trust Transparency Consulting, has been instrumental in the firm since its inception, leveraging her 17 years of accounting experience, including a significant tenure in the nutrition sector. Her collaboration with Scott Steinford spans various successful ventures, emphasizing her integral role in the company’s financial and strategic initiatives.

An alumnus of Sam Houston State University, Pam holds degrees in both Business Administration and Accounting, as well as an MBA, adding academic heft to her practical industry insights. Beyond her professional prowess, Pam is passionate about family, enjoys live music, delves into quilting, and volunteers at her church, reflecting her well-rounded life.

Her multifaceted expertise and longstanding dedication make Pam a cornerstone of Trust Transparency Consulting’s operational strength and team unity.

Scott Steinford

Scott Steinford, a trailblazer in strategic leadership, boasts a certified M&A background, having navigated companies from their genesis to industry prominence. His brainchild, Trust Transparency Consulting, born in 2007, stands as a testament to his dedication to ethical business practices and strategic foresight, offering industry stakeholders invaluable guidance.

Beyond founding and steering companies, Scott has enriched the business landscape with his insightful keynotes and prolific written contributions, emphasizing his commitment to elevating industry standards. His executive tenure shines in roles as CEO or President of for-profits like ZMC-USA and Doctor’s Best, extending to significant contributions in non-profit sectors.

Notably, Scott’s influence is a driving force in the CoQ10 market, where his leadership has significantly bolstered the ingredient’s global presence. His roles in various capacities, including as a New Hope Ambassador, keep the community informed, providing in-depth industry reports and insights.

An active advocate within professional associations and an Editorial Advisor for leading industry publications, Scott’s expertise is both recognized and sought after. With academic roots in Pre-Law and a Master’s in Law, his journey transcends textbooks, embodying real-world business acumen and transformative leadership.

Scott Steinford merges visionary entrepreneurship with principled leadership, creating a legacy of innovation, growth, and unwavering commitment to industry excellence.