To mark International Women’s Day, let’s take a moment to acknowledge the many women-specific health challenges women must face during their lifespan. The short- and long-term fluctuating levels of ovarian hormones composed of estrogen and progesterone, during the menstrual cycle is one of the main parameters impacting women’s general health from puberty to menopause. Whether they are looking to improve age-specific health, everyday health, or intimate health women can count on dedicated probiotics just for her.
Women Age-Specific Health
Puberty, childbearing age, pregnancy, menopause… As women age and go through different women-specific life stages, their body and health needs change too. Women are consuming more probiotic supplements than men and are eager for innovative solutions that are right for her. In the US in 2020, 77% of women took supplements as opposed to 68% of men (CRN 2020 consumer survey on dietary supplements). Amazon US saw a 57% growth for menopause supplements between July 2020 and July 2021 and a 33% growth for pre- and post-natal supplements between July 2020 and July 2021 (ClearCut Analytics, 2021).
Women Everyday Health
During her lifespan, other than age-specific health issues, women face everyday health challenges, deriving from external and internal factors, such as daily stress, eating habits, fatigue, menstrual cycle, etc. These factors in turn affect gut, mental and immune health. The one thing in common is that these health issues have been linked by scientists to endogenous microbiota. The role of probiotics to support a healthy and balanced gut microflora is well documented and known by the consumers too; 68% of consumers recognize the link between digestive health and overall health – hence women are looking for dedicated probiotics to improve their digestive health, manage their occasional stress or support mood and boost immune health.
Innovations for Women Gastrointestinal Comfort
Gastrointestinal symptoms and digestive discomforts are more frequently reported in women than in men. Digestive discomforts can be linked to anatomical and hormonal specificities. For example, increased progesterone level necessary to growth the endometrium before menstruation has been linked to slower gut motility, and occasional constipation is a common premenstrual symptom, while, during menstruation, diarrhea can occur from increased contractibility of the intestinal walls by prostaglandins and the sudden reduction of progesterone levels. Many studies have shown the benefits of specific probiotic strains and associations on digestive comfort, including for pregnant women, for example the formula Lacidofil®, based on the association of L. rhamnosus Rosell®-11 and L. helveticus Rosell®-52.
Besides, innovations on the market include synergistic formulation PRO-Digest Health Shot composed from prebiotic Biotis GOS™ from FrieslandCampina Ingredients and Lallemand Health Solutions’ Lafti® B94 probiotic strain. This formula has been shown to support a healthy microflora by feeding probiotic bacteria which reinforces gut barrier integrity and helps to relieve abdominal discomfort such as occasional constipation. The two companies also launched PRO-Digest Bowel Support a new concept containing Biotis GOS™ and L. paracasei HA-196, which research show improved quality of life in adults with IBS-like symptoms, helping with bowel frequency in occasional diarrhea and/or constipation. These products have been specifically designed to alleviate digestive discomfort and improve the day-to-day or occasional symptoms of consumers with digestive issues.
Innovations for Women Mental Wellness
Women are more susceptible to develop transient stress and depression than men and this could be explained by their hormonal fluctuation. The gut microbiota can also play a role to balance mood, via the microbiota-gut-brain axis. Thanks to all the research and development in preclinical and clinical studies, it has been demonstrated that Cerebiome® (a combination of L.helveticus Rosell®-52 and B. longum Rosell®-175) helps to moderate psychological and physiological responses to occasional stress by a variety of mechanisms, including but not limited to: the modulation of neurotransmitters synthesis, a positive impact on behavior, the support of a healthy brain structure, the modulation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis, and the modulation through the vagus nerve. Cerebiome® is safe, natural, and effective. It is one of the best alternatives on the market to improve the physical and psychological symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Innovations for Women Intimate Health
Potentially around 1.4 billion women around the world have gone, is going or will go through urogenital discomforts caused by a vaginal microflora imbalance at least once in her life. Vaginal microflora imbalances are caused by changes in the number of certain types of microorganisms in vaginal niche. It is the most common reason for occasional vaginal discomfort in women aged 15 to 44. The healthy vaginal flora in most women is composed of more than 90% Lactobacilli. In times of occasional bacterial imbalance, probiotics, more precisely the Lactobacilli can help rebalance the vaginal microflora and promote vaginal comfort. Lactobacilli probiotics could thus help support the vaginal microflora against intrusions by some undesirable bacteria and fungi. These intimate health discomforts significantly impact women’s quality of life. Probiotics are relatively recent ingredients for women seeking to take care of their intimate health. They are an interesting, natural alternative to address specific vaginal health issues with specific probiotic strains, scientifically backed for their efficacy, without causing side effects. In most cases, efficacy was demonstrated on local (vaginal) application. But now, Lallemand Health Solutions’ convenient orally administered L. plantarum ROSELLA, has been shown to support women’s intimate health. The convenience of oral administration certainly helps increase compliance.
There is a clear interest for women to address their specific health issues with the help of probiotics. Both in retails and online shelves, numerous products are marketed for women, even if they aim at promoting more global wellbeing. In areas like intimate health, gut health, immune health or mental health, the packaging, and the additional ingredients, such as cranberries, vitamins, minerals, and prebiotics, are appealing for women looking to add probiotic supplements to their daily diet.