A new clinical study has shown that BC30 improves protein absorption from plant sources1. The findings are significant for food and beverage manufacturers in Asia-Pacific because they demonstrate potential to offer an additional benefit in plant-based products containing BC30. There may be particular opportunities for products targeting seniors — who typically require higher protein intake to maintain muscle mass — as well as vegetarians, vegans and athletes.
Part of Kerry’s ProActive Health Portfolio, BC30 is a spore-forming probiotic which can be used in a range of food and beverage products. It is backed by over 25 published papers, including a 2020 study demonstrating that it supports protein absorption from milk protein concentrate.
In Asia, the popularity of plant-based food and beverages has grown in recent years with an 18% CAGR in new product launches with plant protein between 2017 to 2022. In Australia, it’s 23%2. In Asia Pacific, three out of four consumers prefer plant protein as a source of protein3, and 79% of women indicate a higher preference for plant protein over dairy protein, compared to 70% of men3.
The double-blind randomised study was carried out over a two-week period, with 30 healthy women between the ages of 50 and 70 taking part. Each consumed a daily plant-based beverage containing 20g of protein, sourced from a combination of pea and rice proteins, either with or without one billion CFUs (colony-forming units) of BC30 (Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086).
After the final dose, blood samples were analysed for amino acid concentrations. Over the whole course of the measurement period, subjects in the BC30 group showed higher values for total amino acids and total essential amino acids, as well as higher than average levels of certain individual amino acids. The BC30 group also showed higher maximum concentrations of total amino acids, essential amino acids, and several individual amino acids.
Olivier De Salmiech, vice-president of nutritional supplements at Kerry Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, commented on the study: “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.”
He added: “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 in Asia 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 was carried out by researchers at the Exercise and Performance Nutrition Laboratory at the School of Health Sciences at Lindenwood University, Missouri, led by Dr Chad Kerksick, associate professor of Exercise Science. A research poster was presented on 17 Jun 2022 at the annual conference of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN). The full study was published in a scientific journal in Dec 2022.
1 Walden K et al. ‘Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086 improves amino acid absorption from plant protein concentrate in older women’ (Manuscript in preparation.)
2 Innovation in Plant and Non-Animal Protein Ingredients, Innova Nov 2022
3 Kerry Proprietary Consumer Research – The Protein Mindset 2021, n=2,153; APAC, n=499 India