Driven by rising consumer demand for better gut health delivered in convenient everyday formats, formulators are increasingly exploring gut microbiome modulation in new product developments.

The gut microbiome, a complex and dynamic community of micro-organisms residing in the digestive system, plays a pivotal role in supporting overall well-being. These micro-organisms include gut bacteria that are particularly beneficial, contributing to host physiology and influencing not only digestive health, but also areas such as immune and cognitive health.

The term ‘gut health’ is becoming better understood by consumers, and most often refers to the conditions within the intestinal environment. A metric that can be used when discussing gut health is the balance between beneficial and non-beneficial bacteria in the host. The ultimate goal is to support a more favourable gut microbiome environment, with an abundance of health-supporting bacteria and fewer harmful ones.

As our understanding of gut health grows, health and nutrition brands are exploring new ways to meet the increasing demand for better gut health support. And, as the science around gut health develops, exciting new opportunities are opening up.

One promising approach is the development of the synbiotic supplement market, which is gaining commercial traction. In significant news within this rapidly growing category, Clasado has recently announced a collaborative partnership with renowned Swedish probiotic developer, Probi AB. This partnership aims to significantly accelerate the growth of the synbiotic category, leveraging the substantial expertise of both companies in their respective fields of prebiotics and probiotics.

What is a synbiotic supplement?

A relatively new addition to the biotics category, there is still much to explore and understand about synbiotics and the full scope of their potential advantages, particularly how they might interact with human health.

The term ‘synbiotic’ combines latin prefix ‘syn’, meaning united or combined, with ‘biotic’, referring to biological material. Specifically in this case, bacteria.

While future definition of synbiotics could expand, current usage signifies the combination of prebiotics and probiotics in a single product. Showing the remarkable commercial potential of the market, the synbiotic category is poised for rapid expansion, with research firm Mordor Intelligence predicting an 8.2% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) until 2027, driven by the rising interest in gut health and an engaged, proactive health audience.

How do synbiotic supplements work?

To understand synbiotics fully, it’s crucial to differentiate between prebiotics and probiotics, which support gut health in distinct ways.

Probiotic products add live beneficial bacteria into the gut microbiome that have associated with or are proven to provide specific health benefits. In contrast, prebiotics, typically in the form of dietary fibre (although prebiotics can come in other forms), are substrates that serve as a food source for beneficial gut bacteria like Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. Prebiotics can nourish these good bacteria found in the gut microbiome to support overall well-being, rather than adding more beneficial bacteria to the gut microbiome.

Taking a dual-pronged approach to supporting gut health, synbiotics combine the benefits of both prebiotics and probiotics in a single formulation. They introduce more beneficial bacteria to the microbiome and nourish existing or newly introduced bacteria – or both.

What are the types of synbiotic supplement?

Crucially in the industry’s developing understanding of the category, not all synbiotics function the same way. For businesses formulating synbiotic supplements, this distinction is key.

Industry research body, International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP), defines two distinct subsets of synbiotics: synergistic synbiotics and complementary synbiotics. Again, this may expand as the category grows and new technologies are introduced.

A synergistic synbiotic is formulated so that specific live probiotics are selectively nourished by the co-administered prebiotic substrate. This allows both elements to work together in a targeted manner as a self-contained whole to deliver a greater benefit than if the probiotic operated on its own.

Complementary synbiotics are formulated differently; the components are selected to work independently in bringing about health benefits, with the prebiotic element supporting resident ‘good’ micro-organisms in the gut, rather than the co-administered probiotic. This can enable a wider remit of health benefits.

What does the future hold for synbiotics?

As a leader in prebiotic galactooligosaccharides, Clasado aims to drive market success within the biotic category. The company is expanding the global footprint of its prebiotic ingredient, and as a result, is poised to play a significant role in formulating synbiotics.

In a move to advance scientific understanding and offer formulators simpler access to proven synbiotic combinations, Clasado has joined forces with probiotic ingredient developer, Probi AB. The initial goal of this partnership is to accelerate the research and development of synbiotics, to then in turn offer truly scientifically backed solutions for formulators that can be rapidly commercialised to meet the needs of today’s consumer.

Looking further ahead, the collaboration paves the way for Clasado and Probi AB to jointly develop synbiotic products for commercial release that utilises the expansive scientific portfolio that each organisation has access to.

Clasado’s technical expertise in prebiotics positions it as an ideal partner for health and nutrition customers, and a competitive force in the development of consumer-focused synbiotic products.

With demand for synbiotics set to continue a robust upswing, Clasado’s experience in developing the comprehensively studied Bimuno® GOS galactooligosaccharide makes it easier for formulators to prioritise gut health in their product development processes.

For those looking to create new synbiotic products, a strong foundation is essential. Clasado shines with one of the most prolific scientific portfolios in the gut microbiome modulation field, with over 110 published papers, including more than 20 clinical trials, supporting the safety and efficacy of its prebiotic ingredient Bimuno GOS.

The synbiotic category is set to continue rapid expansion, and it’s an ideal time for formulators to connect with the Clasado team, not only in its prebiotic element expertise, but also in its collaborative efforts with Probi AB.