WATCH: Nutrasource CEO on probiotics, clinical trials and the ‘who cares?’ factor: ‘So you’ve changed the gut microbiome… but what’s the benefit?

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nutrasource Probiotics microbiome

While scientists are still unlocking the secrets of the microbiome, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the billions of bugs in our bodies are intimately connected to our health and wellbeing. But how far have we come since Jamie Lee Curtis first introduced many Americans to the concept of good bacteria, and where is this market going next beyond digestive and immune health? FoodNavigator-USA caught up with full-service contract research organization Nutrasource.

Ultimately, we're in the claim substantiation business​,” says Will Rowe, co-founder, president, and CEO at Nutrasource​, which works with companies all over the world on everything from clinical trials to regulatory applications, R&D, and claims substantiation.   

“We help the global health products industry say what they want to say about their products in the most aggressive but defendable way possible to regulators, around claims and positioning in the countries or regions ​[in which] they wish to sell,"​ adds Rowe.

"We provide the science evidence, data research and interaction with government ministries to get them approved, authorized or compliant, from food to pharmaceuticals.”

As for good bacteria, says Rowe, “We do a ton of work in probiotics. I would say it really emerged as a force starting about 13 years ago but really hit its pace, six or seven years ago.”

Beyond the gut microbiome, he says, “Some of the new areas are vaginal microbiome, skin microbiome, the lung microbiome, and the mucosal microbiome as it relates to immune health.

“I see it as quite analogous to the omega-3 industry. When omega three was developed as a pharmaceutical, that helped dietary supplements, and that helped food and beverage, so I think from a food and beverage perspective, keeping an eye on what research is happening in dietary supplement and pharma will be very important because that will push consumer awareness.”

When it comes to clinical trial design with a view to making claims on products, he says, “Wealways press people in companies for the ‘who cares?’ factor.

“So you change the gut microbiome to be more diverse. You've changed its makeup, but medical doctors and healthcare predictive practitioners would say, okay, so you've done that.. but why should we care? What does that mean to glucose, insulin, total cholesterol, weight management, Nugent scores?”


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