Optimal digestive health is associated with mental well-being, good immunity and systemic health. It is also linked to the ever-popular topic of weight management. Consumer awareness of these issues and the easy availability of natural and herbal digestive health aids have led to the growing expansion of the digestive health supplement industry.
It is believed that approximately 75 to 100 million Americans suffer from some sort of digestive ailment. Common digestive ailments include constipation, diarrhea, abdominal bloating and pain, nausea, loss of appetite and inexplicable weight gain. Three major ingredients top the list of digestion supplements within the digestive health industry: prebiotics, probiotics and digestive enzymes.
Supplementing Digestion: Probiotics
The typical American diet lacks fiber content and is high in fats, carbohydrates and refined and processed foods. This kind of diet generally promotes the proliferation of pathogenic bacteria which are harmful for the digestive system. The imbalance between probiotics and pathogenic bacteria can lead to under-absorption of nutrients, poor immunity and unnecessary weight gain. The ingestion of friendly bacteria, therefore, plays a major role in supporting healthy digestion.
Certain strains of probiotics such as Acidophilus and Bifidus help promote the absorption of minerals such as calcium, copper, iron and magnesium. An optimal intestinal microflora helps the body manufacture enzymes, vitamins A, certain B vitamins and vitamin K.
The sale of probiotics has risen dramatically since 2003 when the concept of friendly bacteria was first introduced to the American public. In 2008, the Datamonitor valued the US market for probiotics at $1,526.7 million. This was an increase of 160 percent from 2003. As more research throws light on the role of particular probiotics strains for specific health conditions, the probiotic supplement industry is predicted to boom.
Key consumer targets are aging baby boomers, though with recent research on infants and probiotics, infants, too, are a high potential market.
Supplementing Digestion: Prebioitics
Prebiotics are soluble and insoluble fiber. A few examples are psyllium husk, flax seeds and fructooligosaccharides (FOS). Prebiotics are not only needed for adding bulk to waste matter for easier movement along the digestive tract, but they also form food for probiotics. Probiotics acts upon prebiotics. This chemical reaction produces nutrients, such as short-chain fatty acid (SCFA), that are vital to health. SCFA help to regulate healthy cholesterol and glucose levels. The colon is the place where a balance between potassium-sodium levels is maintained. This, in turn, regulates healthy blood pressure. Research shows that prebiotics may also play a role in healthy weight loss.
More Americans are recognizing the role of probiotics and prebiotics as essential to digestive health. Since both complement each other, combination synbiotic supplements have begun to show popular consumer appeal.
Supplementing Digestion: Digestive Enzymes
Arising from the popularity of probiotics and prebiotics, digestive enzymes have become the newest addition to digestive supplements. Enzymes work as catalysts in the breaking down of food to smaller nutrients that the body can easily absorb. A diet based on refined and processed foods not only reduces daily nutritive value but also kills enzymes present in raw foods. Overeating and a high intake of fats and calories can overburden the digestive system. Stressful lifestyles add to gastrointestinal strain. In such an environment, enzymes help to optimize digestion.
Enzyme supplements can be classified as digestive aids and systemic aids. Some people are deficient in main digestive enzymes such as lactase, amylase, papain and bromelain. Deficiency of these enzymes can result in bouts of constipation, diarrhea, abdominal bloating and discomfort after eating food. Supplementing with the right digestive enzymes can help.
Enzymes for systemic health support the breakdown of proteins and research indicates that they may prove useful in treatment of gastrointestinal diseases such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Celiac disease. Research also suggests that protesases with fibrinolytic activity may help support healthy blood pressure and cardiovascular health.
Market experts have noted a steady rise in enzyme supplements since 2001 and predict a continuing rise in the sale of digestive supplements in the coming years.
Growing Consumer Need for Digestive Aids
Stressful lifestyles and poor dietary habits have created a large community of people who suffer from digestive problems. An awareness of digestive health and digestive health supplements is generating a highly explosive market potential. Increased promotional efforts and consumer education still need to be engaged to further boost the consumption of digestive health aids.
An experienced supplement manufacturer can guide you into the right formulations for prebiotics, probiotics and digestive enzymes or combination supplements. Manufacturers who have a fully-equipped advanced lab setup offer an additional advantage that can help you quickly and efficiently produce a line of digestive health supplements based on reliable scientific data. Quality manufacturing is necessary as delivery forms must contain active strains at consumer end for maximizing health benefits.