The probiotics are launched under the brand Talcid, an over-the-counter antacid product which has been present in China for over 25 years. Talcid is used for treatment of heartburn and other acid-induced gastric disorders.
Adding probiotics to Talcid is part of the firm’s plans to extend its current portfolio from alleviating upper gastrointestinal problems to overall gut wellbeing, David Evendon-Challis, chief scientific officer at Bayer Consumer Health told NutraIngredients-Asia.
“We will continuously bolster our digestive health pipeline from treatment to prevention and care to meet the different needs of consumers,” he said.
Coming in the form of sachet liquid, the two probiotic formulas aim to address constipation and diarrhoea.
The formula addressing constipation contains a CFU of 400bn live bacteria, with Bifidobacterium bifidum CCFM16 as the main probiotic strain.
Other strains used include Lactobacillus rhamnosus CCFM1068, Bifidobacterium breve CCFM683, Lactobacillus helveticus CCFM202, and Lactobacillus casei CN1566.
A pilot study has shown that supplementing the main probiotic – Bifidobacterium bifidum CCFM16 – could increase the proportion of Bacteroidetes and reduce the ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes.
As for the diarrhoea formula, the main strain used is Bifidobacterium breve CCFM683 isolated from the gut of healthy Chinese newborns.
Other strains used include Lactobacillus plantarum N13, Lactobacillus rhamnosus CCFM1064, and Lactobacillus casei CCFM 8441.
Existing findings showed that Bifidobacterium breve CCFM683 could reduce the symptoms of DSS-induced colitis in mice. Colitis is a chronic digestive disease characterised by inflammation of the inner lining of the colon.
This is also the first time that the firm has developed its China-exclusive probiotics using strains derived from the local population.
The company believes that using locally derived strains will provide better alternatives to consumers who wish to address specific conditions.
“In recent years, with the upgrading of China's consumption structure and the increasing health needs of Chinese consumers, the gut wellbeing market in China has been booming and shows promising perspectives with an estimate of EU$1.7bn (US$2bn).
“From consumer, medical and scientific research, we know that individuals have different needs for their gut health and wellbeing.
“People need different types of probiotics. However, most probiotics products that are currently available in China are ‘one fits all’ solutions,” Evendon-Challis said.
He added that the strains have shown good ability to withstand gastric acid and intestinal juice, as well as possessing strong ability to adhere to human cells, in turn allowing them to colonise the gut.
At the moment, the firm already has probiotic products sold in China under the supplement brand Elevit – a portfolio that caters to the nutritional needs of women during pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, and breastfeeding stages.
When developing the new probiotics, the company initially had in mind several probiotic suppliers but said it chose Jiangnan University due to its leading position in probiotics R&D in China.
“[Our] in ‘China-for China’ strategy is the driving force behind our research and development activities on probiotics under the Talcid brand,” Evendon-Challis said.