Whitepaper: Crack Open the Functional Beverage Market

Innovation for drinks used to mean new packaging or clever marketing. Now innovation means redesigning the drinks themselves. Beverages are being created to target specific health conditions. Drinks now provide more natural energy, replace entire meals, and do a lot more.

Download this whitepaper to find out how to crack open the functional beverage market with the right probiotic.

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Probiotics and Enzymes Formulated for Sports Nutrition: Infographic

Enzymes and probiotics offer a host of benefits in terms of our digestive and immune health. For athletes and fitness enthusiasts, optimizing digestion and immunity are major factors as they strive to improve performance. Check out this infographic for more information about formulating products for sports nutrition using probiotics and enzymes.

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The Gut-Brain Axis and Its Probiotic Allies

Probiotics are naturally occurring microorganisms that inhabit the digestive tract and provide a myriad of beneficial and necessary functions vital to our well-being.

But probiotics’ gut based functions are just the tip of the iceberg. The latest research on probiotics is showing fascinating connections between these gut dwellers and the brain. Certain strains of these neuroactive compound-producing gut flora have been characterized as “psychobiotics.” Called “probiotics for the mind”, psychobiotics seem to boost the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine which directly affect moods. They may also encourage the production of the short-chain fatty acid butyrate in the colon, which may help to lower anxiety and stress. Other such probiotics have shown to be effective in reducing levels of cortisol, one of the stress hormones.

According to researchers, this relationship, known as the “gut-brain axis,” is a unique interaction between the digestive system and the brain, specifically between the health of the gut and certain brain functions. This “gut-brain axis” actually refers to two things. It primarily describes the biochemical signaling that goes on between the central nervous system (CNS) and the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, but it is also used to refer specifically to the role that gut flora play in this exchange.

Further research is currently being done into this relationship, but already a clearer picture is emerging. Research is indicating a kind of “bi-directional communication line” between the CNS, comprised of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves, and the enteric nervous system (ENS). The ENS is made up of over 100 million nerve cells lining the entire gastrointestinal tract from esophagus to rectum. Communication between brain and gut, and vice-versa, takes place along the vagus nerve, which extends from the brain stem all the way to the abdomen. This nerve is the path by which the neuroactive compounds produced by psychobiotics are able to directly affect our brain chemistry, altering things like stress and moods.

So far, this research has been concentrated around animals in laboratory environments. Studies compared the stress response of animals with various levels of gut flora, as well as the effects of certain neuroactive compounds produced by these floras.

Though more research on the relationship between probiotics and brain chemistry is ongoing, these exciting new findings show that there is a real connection between the microbes in our gut and our mind, affecting how we think, feel, react, and even remember.

At Deerland, we stay on the cutting edge of probiotic research, and work with our customers to develop supplement formulations with the specific performance benefits they’re seeking. To learn more about Deerland and meet our team of experts, visit http://deerlandenzymes.com/about-us-2/research-development-team/.

The Path to Non-GMO Certification for Supplements

The Rise of GMOs and Consumer Awareness

The human tradition of altering living organisms is at least 12,000 years old and has progressed quite rapidly in the last few decades. The first genetically-modified crop approved by the FDA in 1992 was the Flavr Savr tomato 1. For all intents and purposes, the Flavr Savr was the first product to generate massive awareness about what we now refer to as GMOs (Genetically Modified Organism).

Today, more than 90% of all corn, cotton, and soybean acreage in the United Stated is dedicated to genetically engineered crops 2. Genetically Modified Organisms are created for a variety of reasons, and the most common is to breed plants with an increased resistance to herbicides 3. Other organisms might be modified to help increase production or reduce spoilage.

While this approach has had a worldwide impact, many consumers are worried that it may be too much, too quickly. The movement to reduce the use of GMOs and introduce transparency into the supply chain has reached scale, and organizations in multiple industries are taking steps to certify that their products are created without genetically modified organisms.

The supplement and probiotic markets face especially difficult steps toward achieving these certifications. These products are proprietary, sourced from many suppliers, and extremely cost competitive. This makes many companies reluctant to disclose all their production sources because they could be creating a competitive disadvantage for themselves. It is also often quite difficult to get all the paperwork and verification documentation required from a large group of independent, international suppliers.

New Labeling and Certification Opportunities

In a survey at the University of Illinois, 80% of participants said they found GMOs to be safe due to government regulation and testing, but 39% said that they would pay more for non-GMO products 4. These results are indicative of a rapidly shifting attitude towards GMOs. It is also a good example of why so many businesses are looking to achieve independent certifications that highlight their commitment to product integrity.

Organizations with very health conscious customers are already taking steps to improve customer awareness about GM foods. Whole Foods approved labeling from Nutrasource Diagnostics Inc this past spring 5. The IGEN program looks for GMO proteins and provides 3 tiers of testing: tier 1, what’s in the bottle; tier 2, all major ingredients tested, tier 3, antecedents of ingredients and excipients tested as well.

Another certification body that has recently gained steam is the Non-GMO Project. The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization that provides organic agricultural verification to manufacturers in the natural products market. This certification requires that companies meet extremely high standards. This third-party process requires three to six months of extensive testing for high-risk and low-risk ingredients where they are the least processed and potential GMOs would be the most concentrated.

The Supplement Market Joins the Race for Non-GMO Verification

Despite several challenges, supplement manufacturers are quickly taking steps to push for the same sorts of GMO certifications as food producers. Hope Hanley, Vice President of Quality and Regulatory Affairs at Deerland Enzymes & Probiotics says, “The wave of support and demand for non-GMO products is growing at a feverish pace, driven by consumer demand for more natural and organic products. It is heavily evident in foods, beverages, and now in certain aspects of dietary supplements. I fully expect that the pace of the supplement industry will be just as feverish.

This means that enzymes, probiotics, and vitamins must all meet the sort of rigorous standards set forth by the Non-GMO Project. That is no mean feat; it will require a systematic rethinking of the supply chain from a GMO-based perspective. Customers are interested in labeling that provides accurate and up-to-date certifications about the integrity of the source ingredients and process.

Because supplements can contain so many ingredients from a variety of sources (some labels include up to 50 listed ingredients) it can be extremely laborious for brand owners to meet the stringent demands of independent certifications. There are also several unique and highly researched formulation techniques that top companies can be hesitant to share.

Supplement manufacturers that have been able to achieve certifications from The Non-GMO Project or True North Program only have been able to do so through extensive product and market research. Products with the Non-GMO seal are in an exclusive group of businesses that have proven they are willing to go above and beyond for their customers.

Deerland Enzymes & Probiotics recently earned Non-GMO Project Verification for three of its branded products– DE111®, PreforPro® and ProHydrolase®. This sort of commitment to quality paves the way for increased supplement manufacturer transparency.

If you are interested in learning more about how Deerland is achieving the highest quality standards, visit us here.

3 Duke, S.O., & Powles, S.B. (2009). “Glyphosate-resistant crops and weeds: Now and in the future.” AgBioForum, 12(3&4), 346-357.  

Defining and Determining Efficacy

You may have heard the word “efficacy” and wondered exactly what that means as it relates to dietary supplements – beyond, of course, its literal definition which means producing a desired or intended result.

In dietary supplement terminology, showing an ingredient’s efficacy is not simply having a group of people take the product and testing the results. Various types or families of ingredients require specific tests to identify their unique structures that may serve as the active component, which will then be tested to see how it impacts specific structures or functions in the human body.

The key lesson here is that you cannot just go straight to formulation and plan on conducting clinical trials to determine effect. At minimum, the ingredient must meet the FTC demands of support by “good science,” which is not a single, clear standard.

To show the efficacy of an ingredient, the supplier must be willing to invest in necessary research and development of genetic analysis, in vitro testing and human clinical studies. There are some who believe that a single human clinical study is enough, but many suppliers perform multiple clinicals, either to establish new claims or for further validation of previous studies, or to determine how effective the ingredient may be for the same claim but in different population groups (eg, overweight middle-aged women versus overweight middle-aged men).

At Deerland, we first determine the structure of the ingredient. For enzymes, we analyze the amino acid structure. Probiotics necessitate genome sequencing, a laboratory process that determines the DNA sequence of an organism. This sequence reveals the activity of the various genes comprising the genome, how those genes interact, and how the various parts of the genome are coordinated. This is an essential first step in determining safety of the ingredient. For example, Deerland’s DE111® strain of Bacillus subtilis was genetically sequenced in partnership with Cornell University, and was found to contain no plasmids, deleterious genes or antibiotic resistant genes. Sequencing also reveals genes that may offer certain benefits. For example, the sequencing of DE111 showed that the strain contains genes that increase IgG and IgA (antibodies), which support immune health.

Next, we perform in vitro testing to determine how an enzyme or probiotic will function under physiological conditions. Depending on the enzyme or probiotic strain, this will include a variety of testing methods. For example, our ProHydrolase® was tested using gel electrophoresis to determine how quickly and efficiently the product could break down whey protein for fuller absorption of amino acids. The same method was used to determine Glutalytic’s effect on gluten digestion.

Based on the successful results of in vitro testing, we move on to human clinical studies. Our clinical studies are submitted to and approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) before they begin. A quality (reliable) study design is one that is double-blind and placebo controlled. (We have conducted human clinical studies on our branded products ProHydrolase®, DE111®, Glutalytic® and PreforPro®.) When the study is complete and the data has been analyzed, the study abstracts are submitted to applicable peer-reviewed journals for publication. Published studies allow the public to access the clinical results of the ingredient (and sometimes, a finished product/formula).

For a reputable, quality supplier, the efficacy investment doesn’t end. There are always more studies to perform and research to do.

Digestible Definitions for Enzymes & Probiotics

As we learn more about more about digestive health, we are empowered to improve our overall health and well-being. It’s a great feeling to take control of our digestive systems by providing the right mix of healthy foods and beneficial supplements.

To stay ahead of the curve, check out this quick guide to the terminology related to enzyme and probiotic supplements. You’ll be glad you found such an easily “digestible” glossary of terms!

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ATPrime: The Energy Molecule

Most people think “high-energy” foods are high in sugars, caffeine, or certain vitamins, but none of these by themselves is the source of true energy—that role belongs to adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the main energy “currency” of all living cells.

What is ATP?
ATP is the principal molecule for storing and transferring cellular energy. In fact, it is the most widely distributed high-energy compound in the human body. It is used by every cell to build complex molecules: it’s used to move muscles, and it’s a signaling molecule for many important processes such as digestion and metabolism.

Where is ATP?
ATP is produced in every cell of the body, and although it is manufactured in the body on a continual basis—age, exercise (weight training, sports), and other stressors can significantly deplete ATP. We can consume ATP through raw foods, like fruits, vegetables and nuts. Unfortunately, the average American diet consists of cooked foods devoid of ATP and important enzymes. This can result in gastric problems, since ATP influences gastric acid and pepsin secretions, mucus production, and contractility of the stomach. In other words, ATP is needed for timely, proper, and complete digestion of food.

Effects of Low ATP
Without sufficient levels of ATP consumed through our diets, the body must make all the ATP it needs, using its own energy and resources to do so. This puts the body into a constant state of short-term energy production, which is highly inefficient. As a result, people feel fatigue, hunger, and digestive distress. Low ATP can also weaken immune systems.

A digestive supplement that provides ATP and enhances ATP production can help offset this deficiency. ATPrime is an ingredient that provides ATP without using the body’s energy and resources, supporting proper nutrient absorption.

For digestive health formulations, Deerland offers ATPrime as a complementary technology to enzymes and probiotics. Combining ATPrime with enzyme and/or probiotic formulations provides ultimate digestive support by decreasing the energy demand of the digestive process

To learn more about the importance of ATP and how ATPrime can improve your supplement product, contact us today!

Whitepaper: Probiotics For Sports Nutrition

A healthy gut and an improved immune system are key factors to help overtake the competition. The gut flora performs a variety of functions that are important for health. In fact, 70% of our immune cells are located in the digestive tract, making the health of the digestive tract critical to overall health. A healthy and well-balanced gut flora facilitates digestion, protects us from pathogens, provides vitamins and nutrients and helps form the immune system. For athletes and fitness enthusiasts, optimizing digestion and immunity are major factors as they strive to improve performance. Download this whitepaper to learn more about how Bacillus subtilis DE111 can give fitness enthusiasts and serious athletes the performance boost they’re searching for.

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GMO or Non-GMO? That Is the Question…But What’s the Real Answer?

A genetically modified organism, or GMO, is an organism that has had its DNA altered or modified in some way through genetic engineering. The answer to the question as to whether an organism has been genetically modified may depend on one’s definition. There are various processes through which an organism may be genetically modified, some resulting from very natural processes and some from the deliberate tinkering with the genome of the organism. Let’s take a look at some of these processes to get a better understanding.

Natural Selection is a natural process whereby an organism population may experience genetic change over multiple generations, due to environmental circumstances. For example, a microorganism can experience changes in its genome due to changes in its food supply, temperature of its environment, exposure to environmental toxins or competition from other organisms. This is a completely natural process, and it is happening all the time.

The rate of genetic change due to Natural Selection can be accelerated by deliberately exposing a population of a microorganism to conditions that may alter the genome, such as ultraviolet light. UV exposure can cause changes that may affect the organism on the genetic level. This method would be common when trying to increase the expression of genes that code for production of an enzyme protein or an antibiotic, for example. This is still considered to be natural, since it’s a random process and many generations must be screened for changes to be significantly affected. In the case of microorganisms, the result may even create a new strain of the species.

Genetic changes or “modifications” that occur as the result of Natural Selection do not result in what we would classify as a true GMO. Genetically modified organisms are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering.

Genetic engineering is the process of directly manipulating the genetic material of the organism. In order to do, this the entire genome must be mapped out and the function of each gene must be elucidated. Depending on the methods utilized to modify the organism, the result may or may not be classified as a Genetically Modified Organism.

There are two basic methods that are viewed differently in the United States and Europe. Insertion of DNA from another organism is clearly genetic modification, but under the European definition of a GMO, it is allowable to insert multiple copies of a native gene in order to increase expression of a trait carried by that gene. This is referred to as “self-cloning”, and as long as no foreign DNA is introduced, it is not considered to be a GMO according to the EU. However, that is not the case in the US, where self-cloning is considered a form of genetic modification, and classifies the resulting organism as a GMO.

So, as you can see, the answer to “Is it GMO?” often depends on your definition. What form of genetic modification has occurred, and was it due to natural processes or was it a result of actual insertion of genetic material either native or foreign? Understanding the differences will help you come to the right conclusion.

Probiotic Drinks Flourish in Today’s Functional Beverage Market

Rising numbers of consumers are reaching out for beverages that do more than just quench their thirst. Consumers are becoming increasingly health-conscious, especially the younger generations, driving a forceful demand for functional beverages to meet their needs. The growing trend of healthier, enhanced drinks is garnering a great deal of opportunity for companies to develop products that nourish as well as refresh and hydrate.

One way that many companies are turning their standard offerings into wholesome functional beverages is to include probiotics in their drink lines to set their products apart. However, when developing new probiotic drinks, one problem companies can run into is finding a substantial strain that can withstand their manufacturing processes. Bacillus subtilis is often a compatible solution because the microorganism’s tough outer shell allows it to withstand harsh processing, and is compatible with beverages ranging from juices to alternative milks. Probiotics like Bacillus subtilis promote the growth of “good” bacteria in the gut, offering the additional health benefits that today’s consumers seek out in functional beverages.

Innovation in the ready-to-drink industry used to mean renovated packaging and tactical marketing campaigns. Now, manufacturers have shifted their focus to redesigning the beverages themselves. Consumers today seek out drinks which perform a function ─ drinks that target health conditions, naturally provide an energy boost, or even that replace entire meals. Market research reveals that millennial-aged consumers are willing to spend more money to receive these better-quality refreshments.

Demand specifically for probiotics in functional beverages is now higher than ever. According to EcoFocus, 46% of grocery shoppers are actively looking for beverages that contain probiotics. Of the many probiotic strain options that manufacturers can choose from when designing beverages, Bacillus subtilis is frequently the best choice available. Researchers at Deerland Enzymes have developed one strain of Bacillus subtilis called DE111® that is especially stable under many conditions. DE111 homogenizes well with almost any liquid, remains viable within a wide pH range, and can be incorporated into dry mixes. This makes it suitable for sparkling waters, juices, milks, powdered drink mixes, sports drinks, and other applications that less-hardy probiotics would be unable to tolerate─ and market research supports probiotic use in these applications.

The water, fresh juice, and sports drinks sectors are all currently growing as more consumers eschew sugary soft drinks. Milk remains a highly-consumed beverage, with alternative milks, popular among younger consumers, showing the most sales growth. The demand for healthier beverages continues to call for innovation, and functional beverages are now sweeping the market. Still, since many beneficial ingredients like probiotics can lose their efficacy in processing or have a limited shelf life, finding the right blend of ingredients to transform a standard beverage into a functional one is no easy feat.

Functional beverages will continue to grow in popularity as consumers reach for healthier drinks and turn away from sugary options. As these consumers continue to learn about the benefits of probiotics, they drive the demand for probiotic functional beverages. Redesigning consumer-favored drink choices like water, juices, energy drinks, and milk alternatives to promote improved digestion and overall health is possible using Bacillus subtilis DE111.

To learn more about Deerland Enzymes and Probiotics, and Bacillus subtilis DE111, please visit http://deerlandenzymes.com/de111/.