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Reportlinker Adds Boosting Immunity Through Digestion: The Relation Among Probiotics, Prebiotics and Digestive Enzymes
Date:10/8/2009

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In the past few years, there has been a growing awareness among consumers globally of the connection between digestive health and immunity. The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is now recognized as a very active immune center. Indeed, the GI tract contains more than 80% of the body's antibody-producing cells. Importantly, the digestive tract comprises an entirely separate immune system, which was not fully appreciated until recently. The GI system confers an immunity different from the immune functions elsewhere in the body and is considered the largest of the lymph organs -- larger than the thymus and all the other lymph nodes scattered throughout our systems.

Aging populations and infants are the obvious groups that can benefit from digestive- and immunity-focused products, but awareness of the extensive and lifelong benefits of consuming foods for digestive health has the attention of people of all ages.

The most well-known foods that are beneficial to the GI tract are yogurt and high-fiber products. The probiotics market has recently begun to move beyond yogurt to deliver probiotics in an increasing variety of foods and beverages. Prebiotics are being added to an expanding array of products, from pudding to frozen chicken dinners. The probiotic category is more established than prebiotics in the digestive health market, but the prebiotics sector is the faster growing of the two. An adjunct category--and a new frontier for food and beverage manufacturers--is digestive enzymes. Many food and beverage products are ideal candidates for the addition of digestive enzymes.

There are two major trends contributing to the growth of foods and beverages that enhance digestive health--increasing numbers of categories of these products in which probiotics and prebiotics are included, and a growing public awareness of and desire to benefit digestive health and thereby enhance immunity.

In 2008, 232 products were in
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