Nutrition Asia

Maternal health innovation: Probiotics and algal oil DHA help move market on from multivits - WATCH

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags maternal nutrition Dha Folic acid

The maternal health dietary supplements category is diversifying with the introduction of products containing probiotics and algal oil DHA – although multivitamins and folic acid remain the mainstays.

Maternal health products can be catered to women who are planning for pregnancy, those who are already pregnant, and nursing mothers.

This episode of Nutrition Asia looks at how companies are innovating in this space.

German-based Mom’s Garden, for example, has developed Prenatal Bird’s Nest DHA – a chewable soft gel containing algal oil DHA and sialic acid from edible bird’s nest. It is currently sold in China. Outside of Asia, it is also sold in Germany. 

The product seeks to provide an alternative to fish oil DHA and also taps on the popularity of edible bird’s nest in Asia.

“In China, over 70 per cent of pregnant women tried edible bird’s nest when they were pregnant, according to our survey,”​ said Naeyoung Kang, director of innovation and branding, Mom's Garden GmbH.

Asked the opportunities for new product development, Kang said that probiotics and multivitamins from natural ingredients were among the potential candidates.

“For promising ingredients in the Asia Pacific region, I believe probiotics can have potential.

“The penetration of prenatal probiotic supplements in Asia is relatively low compared to probiotics for children,”​ he said.  

One example of a probiotic for mothers is Youguth’s Mommy’s Ready.

The product, developed by South Korean firm CKD Bio​, is targeted at helping the pregnant and nursing mothers with their gut and skin health.

Six probiotic strains namely Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. Lactis, Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, ​and Lactobacillus plantarum.

On top of probiotics, it also contains mother’s oligo-P – a prebiotic found in breast milk and palatinose – a trademarked sucrose from sugar beet by Beneo.    

Growing demand despite declining birth rate

Despite the declining birth rate, there is growing demand for maternal health products, based on Mom’s Garden observations in APAC.

“I think it's growing very quickly. The growing health awareness among women during pregnancy and postnatal is a key driving factor for the explosive growth of maternal health supplement in Asia Pacific.

“As the birth rate continues to decline in APAC countries, especially China, Japan and Singapore, having high quality material nutritional products formulated to meet the needs of pregnant women and mother-to-be is very important,”​ said Nicole Russell, product development and vendor management senior manager, USA.

Within APAC, Mom’s Garden Prenatal Bird’s Nest DHA is currently sold in China but it would be introduced to South Korea, Japan, and Australia by next year.

Elsewhere in India, traditional ayurvedic formulas are used for supporting maternal health, but there is an uptake of dietary supplementation such as DHA, protein, vitamins due to urbanisation, said Dr. Kriti Soni, head of R&D at Kapiva Ayurveda.

Watch the video to find out more.

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