Yakult’s Dr Emily Prpa on menopause: “Something new product development could absolutely go to town on”

This content item was originally published on www.nutraingredients-usa.com, a William Reed online publication.

By Danielle Masterson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Probiota americas microbiome Menopause women's health

The health of half the population has been largely ignored in research and on the shelves. However, the recent IPAWC + Probiota Americas highlighted how more brands are using gut health to tap into a range of needs–from fertility to PMS to menopause.

Dr Emily Prpa said we’re only scratching the surface of opportunities in this rapidly expanding category. The opening speaker and science manager at Yakult UK & Ireland spoke with NutraIngredients-USA in Salt Lake City about the role of the gut microbiome in women’s health. 

“I honestly think that gut health can be very much the conductor in a woman's health overall. It can impact or it can assist really all of those key life stages–everything from puberty. We know that there is this a bi-directional, intricate relationship between…sex hormones and the gut microbiome of females,”  said Prpa. “So I think that in almost all of those key life stages, gut health is really important in supporting all of them and hopefully we're going to see more and more coming out on the female gut microbiome and piecing some of this big puzzle together.”

Prpa added that she has witnessed a big shift in attitudes toward female health, with more celebrities campaigning around women's topics, particularly in menopause.

“We've also got lots of key influencers providing women with the advocacy, the education, even the language to start bringing some of these topics into everyday conversation, whether they're having a hot flash or anything like this. We are seeing it being somewhat more normalized, which is fantastic to see.”

In terms of what to look out for, Prpa said key areas of opportunity that she’s keeping her eye on are the fertility and menopause categories. 

“Menopause is 100% going to gain a lot of traction and something that we can really innovate–and innovate boldly. We know that there's this collection of microbes called the estrobolome which can help to perhaps potentially alleviate that really sharp drop in estrogen that we see during menopause. And if we can support the gut microbiome through microbial-related therapies like probiotic administration, could we help sort of alleviate some of the symptoms of menopause that way?” said Prpa. “I think that's a really exciting area and something where new product development could absolutely go to town on.”

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