Unmet skin health needs: South Korea’s Youguth to target pregnant women with new probiotic products

By Guan Yu Lim

- Last updated on GMT

South Korean probiotic brand Youguth is rolling out a new product line for pregnant women, to tap into the unmet needs of skin and gut problems among these consumers. ©Getty Images
South Korean probiotic brand Youguth is rolling out a new product line for pregnant women, to tap into the unmet needs of skin and gut problems among these consumers. ©Getty Images

Related tags South korea Pregnancy Probiotic

South Korean probiotic brand Youguth is planning to launch new products for pregnant women, to tap into what it believes to be the unmet needs of skin health as well as the more widely-known gut problems among these consumers.

A survey of 1,686 pregnant women conducted in 2019 found about 22% of pregnant woman suffer from gut problems such as constipation and 12.5% of pregnant woman suffer from skin and vaginal problems.

Nahyun Park, regional manager at Youguth, told NutraIngredients-Asia​ that there were many probiotics products relieving constipation for pregnant women, however products for skin problems were unfamiliar among consumers.

The skin problems such as pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP) is a rash which typically begins with the skin around the abdomen spreading to the thighs and hands. It is not dangerous for the mother and baby, but the itching is very uncomfortable​.”

While the cause of PUPPP is unknown, some theories have associated it to immunologic responses​. Probiotics are known to balance the gut microbiome​, which in turns maintains the immune system against infections.

Park explained that the new products would contain lactobacillus sakei​ which can help alleviate hyper-sensitivity skin problems, along with other strains including bifidobacterium lactis​ and lactobacillus plantarum​.

The new range, which is so far unnamed, will launch in August in South Korea. Besides this, Park said the company was planning to develop a functional product containing the triglyceride reduction probiotics, Lactobacillus Q180​ for the general population.

Lactobacillus Q180​ was recently trialed in a clinical study​ by CKD Bio, Youguth’s manufacturer, for its effect in reducing LDL-cholesterol levels. It was the first study investigating the effects of 12 weeks consumption of the probiotic on human health.

Park explained: “Triglycerides when present in excess, can be stored in fatty deposits, which may lead to belly fat, obesity and heart-related health conditions. High levels of triglycerides, also known as hypertriglyceridemia should be controlled by reconsidering the diet and any habits to overeat in order to lower triglyceride levels and reduce the risk of these conditions​.

We are in the process of conceptualisation, and hoping to launch an innovative product that has never been available on the market​,” Park said.

In addition to new products, the company is also targeting to expand into the larger EU and US market.

The EU supplement market was worth US$1.6bn in 2019, and projected to reach US$2.2bn in 2025. Park said: “Our target in EU market is to occupy 1% by 2025 through our German partner, and we intend to launch by the end of the year.”

It hopes to launch in the US in the first half of next year.

Sales during Covid-19

Youguth is largely known for its energy boosting, bone health, immune boosting, and skin health powdered supplements​.

After the Covid-19 outbreak, Youguth sales rose over 180%, which Park pointed out was contributed by consumers rising interest for immune-related products.

Park said the gut microbiome plays an essential role in a healthy immune system because 70 to 80% of the body’s immune cells are packed around the gut.

Our body interacts with beneficial microorganism like probiotics to reinforce our immune system, increase immune responses and promote specific immune signaling​.

Gut microbiome diversity declines as you get older, so it is important to maintain a healthy microbiome by taking live microbes like yogurt, cheeses and probiotics supplements​.”

However, Park stressed the importance of checking the probiotic strain before purchasing any supplements as probiotics benefits are strain specific.

Combining probiotics with vitamins and minerals could also be a good way to boost your immune health. For example, vitamin C and D, zinc and colostrum have evidence-based efficacy on immune system such as antimicrobial and immune cell activities and proliferation​.”

For Youguth, its Lactobacillus casei CKDB007​ strain has been shown to modulate immune factors like TNF-α, IL-1b and IL-6 as well as relieve constipation symptoms through an in vivo​ study​.

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