Probiotic could boost protein absorption from plant-based food

Kerry Taste & Nutrition (APMEA)

Friday, 22 July, 2022

Probiotic could boost protein absorption from plant-based food

A new clinical study suggests that BC30, a commercial spore-forming probiotic, could help to boost protein absorption from plant sources. Produced by Kerry’s ProActive Health brand, the probiotic can be added to food and beverage products by manufacturers.

The study involved 30 women aged between 50 and 70 years old consuming plant-based drinks with or without the BC30 added. Those that had the probiotic-enhanced beverages had higher levels of amino acids (which are a building block of protein for the body) than those who had the regular kind.

Protein is an important component of human survival and is used in all sorts of bodily functions, such as muscle growth and healing, and older people tend to need more of it to perform the same functions.

The study’s finding may prove important given that other research suggests plant-based meat replacements do not pack the protein punch previously expected. Recently, Ohio State University food scientists found that meat alternatives were not as useful a source of protein as animal meat is, leading the researchers to suggest that substances that boost its absorption would be beneficial for plant-based meats.

John Quilter, Kerry VP of Global Portfolio – ProActive Health, said: “Previous research has indicated the potential of BC30 to support protein absorption from plant-based sources, but this is the first human clinical study to do so. We’re now able to say that BC30 supports protein absorption from both dairy and plant sources — it’s another benefit that makes it the leading spore-forming probiotic.

“One of the reasons this research is so exciting is that it’s in line with so many contemporary food and nutrition trends. With demand for high-protein products firmly in the mainstream, consumers in all groups are interested in foods and beverages that offer efficient protein digestion. At the same time, more and more people are following plant-based diets and looking for sustainable nutrition solutions. Many vegetarians and vegans — along with groups like seniors and athletes — could benefit from more efficient absorption of protein to support outcomes such as muscle building.”

The study, carried out by scientists from Lindenwood University, Missouri, was presented at the 2022 annual conference of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. The full study is expected to be published in a journal in late 2022 or early 2023.

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