Sapporo's health focus: Japan firm opens wellness lab firm and reveals study on proprietary bacteria strain

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

Sapporo Holdings has opened a Wellness Lab to drive the development of functional health foods. © Sapporo Holdings
Sapporo Holdings has opened a Wellness Lab to drive the development of functional health foods. © Sapporo Holdings

Related tags: Probiotics, Sapporo, wellness

Sapporo Holdings is devoting more resources to its health food business, with the opening of a wellness lab firm and further studies on its proprietary heat-treated lactic acid bacterial strain SBL 88.

The Sapporo Wellness Lab Limited was established last month with a capital of ¥10m (US$90,000) and is located within the Sapporo Holdings office.

The lab seeks to accelerate the research and development of functional food ingredients, in line with the company's plan to reform its business and expand its functional food portfolio. The R&D team in charge of developing health food has about 15 members. 

At the same time, the firm is conducting more studies on its SBL 88, which is a strain of lactobacillus brevis SBC8803 isolated from barley, and initially discovered during research work on its beer.

Probiotics for staying awake

In a recent product trial​, Sapporo Holdings showed that its SBL 88 probiotic strain has the ability to improve sleep quality and alertness in the day time.

A total of 220 Japanese males and females who reported poor sleep quality were recruited into the four weeks trial, with half of them consuming food containing SBL 88 and the other group received placebo.

The participants will need to complete surveys which assess their sleep quality and subjective feelings of alertness before and after the four-week trial period.

Results showed that the group which consumed food containing SBL 88 reported better sleep quality and a lower degree of sleepiness after waking up from a sleep.

According to Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare in 2017, about 20% of the Japanese adults reported a lack of rest, and getting enough quality sleep has become an important issue in modern society. 

Multiple health effects

Sapporo Holdings have conducted at least four other studies on its SBL 88 probiotic strain, including both animal and human test subjects, and claimed to have found numerous benefits produced by the strain.

These benefits include alleviating constipation​, improving alcohol metabolism​, and moisturising the skin. ​ 

For example, its previous trials showed that consuming a capsule which contains 40bn counts of SBL 88 once a day could increase the frequency of defecation from about six days to eight days within a two week period.

In the case of alcohol metabolism, consuming a capsule which contains 40bn counts of SBL 88 once a day for four weeks helps suppress the production of γ-GTP – an enzyme produced by alcohol consumption.

As for skin moisturising effect, the probiotic is able to increase skin moisture by nearly 30% in a 12 week period.

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