Combining the advantages of probiotics and omega-3 in a single softgel

At Vitafoods Europe 2019, where the global functional food industry came together to innovate, connect business leaders and shape the nutraceutical sector, Dr Kevin Robinson spoke to Ayanda’s Managing Director, Dr Dominique Baum, about the company’s new softgel product

At the event, Ayanda unveiled its groundbreaking softgel technology, for which the European Patent Office has approved a patent. This new technology offers a unique combination of probiotics combined with omega¬-3 oil within a single softgel capsule.

KSR: Can you tell us more about the innovation that Ayanda announced at Vitafoods this year?

DB: Following the launch of our company’s Global R&D Collaboration in early April, both our European and Chinese teams have been involved in conducting proactive research on a number of projects focusing on the development and manufacture of innovative nutraceutical dosage forms and complex softgel combinations.

Having identified a clear gap in the market, we developed our own innovative softgel technology that enables us to encapsulate both viable probiotic bacteria and at least one oil, such as fish oil, that provides omega-3. At Vitafoods, one of the largest events within the nutraceutical industry, we showcased our new technology at our stand and held a presentation to introduce the features and benefits.

KSR: How was this innovative probiotic softgel technology achieved?

DB: After spending 10 years perfecting this new approach, we designed and tested process parameters that dramatically improved the survival rates of probiotics during production. Subsequently, we defined their ideal storage conditions. By optimally adjusting to the specific characteristics of probiotics, we have achieved a delicate balance between minimising the loss of viable cells during production and ensuring an intact softgel capsule.

KSR: Why is this 2-in-1 capsule beneficial?

DB: A single softgel capsule containing probiotics and omega-3 can contribute to an array of health benefits, such as supporting brain function, eye health, cardiovascular health and promoting gastrointestinal well-being, as well as strengthening the immune system.

The World Health Organization defines probiotics as “live micro-organisms that, when administered in adequate amounts as part of food, confer a health benefit on the host”. The best documented strains are the groups Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Clinical studies show that these strains produce advantageous effects for the gastrointestinal and immune systems.

Omega-3 fatty acids, more precisely EPA and DHA, offer well-documented health benefits. DHA and EPA contribute to the maintenance of normal blood pressure, normal blood triglyceride levels and the normal functioning of the heart. Furthermore, DHA contributes to the maintenance of normal brain function and normal vision.

Considering the ample health benefits, many consumers could profit from this combination, starting with the unborn child and the child’s mother. What’s more, our product is also suitable for all adults concerned with preserving their vitality, vision and vascular health.

KSR: What are the challenges of formulating a probiotic within a softgel capsule, and how have you overcome these?

DB: One of the difficulties in combining a probiotic and introducing it to a softgel capsule is that probiotic bacteria are live micro-organisms. Whereas softgel capsules contain moisture and are required to be manufactured at high temperatures, these factors can result in the destruction of the probiotics. Historically, this has meant that softgels with probiotic formulations were unviable … as the probiotic survival rate was low.

Our new process, however, provides a method of producing a softgel capsule through the gentle mixing of the uncoated probiotic bacteria with at least one oil to obtain a softgel fill within a temperature range of 5–15 °C, allowing us to maintain optimal probiotic bacterial growth. Subsequently, drying the gelatin-based softgel capsule in a series of steps allows it to retain the uncoated probiotic bacteria.

KSR: What comparable products are on the market?

DB: To our knowledge, there are no comparable products on the market. This innovative technology is the first of its kind that enables a softgel capsule to contain both viable probiotic bacteria and omega-3 oils in a single softgel capsule. The true benefit for the consumer is an easy-to-take nutraceutical product.

KSR: Can you provide a detailed description of the patent?

DB: The patent was granted by the European Patent Office under the premise of providing “an improved process for producing a softgel capsule comprising viable probiotic bacteria and a softgel comprising viable probiotic bacteria with a long shelf-life.” Through a thorough investigation, we have improved and optimised the standard of softgel manufacturing by minimising the loss of viable probiotic cells.

KSR: How do you anticipate the market to grow in relation to this dosage innovation?

DB: Considering the multiple benefits this 2-in-1 probiotic and omega-3 softgel capsule can provide to a wide range of consumers, from unborn children to adults, we are positive it responds to a keenly felt and unmet need in the market.

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