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At The Table With: Bronnen Asia

1 December 2020

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In this issue of At The Table With, we sit down with Antony Leo of Bronnen Asia to chat about pre, post and pro biotics.

Please tell us a bit about Bronnen Asia and what you guys do.
We are actually in the midst of consolidation, pivoting toward functional lifestyle portfolio offerings. Thanks to Covid-19 pandemic, as much as it being super disruptive it has also simultaneously provided direction clarity.

As such we identify a shift in consumer behaviour where there is a heightened sense of priority toward functional health and lifestyle products that improve general wellbeing. Our definition of functional health is very much about making available to consumers great product innovations that enhance immune health, promote general wellbeing,
natural, and science-based.

And as much as immune health is concerned, the secret lies in a healthy gut. This is also one of our key focuses, gut health / immune health delivery via functional food and beverages fortified with postbiotics.

Post consolidation, our portfolio of functional lifestyle portfolio will include:
-Functional Food & Beverages
-Functional & Innovative Baby Product
-Functional Pet Nutrition

What is the difference between pre, pro and post biotics?

Prebiotics are types of dietary fibre or complex carbohydrates that humans cannot digest, but they are excellent source of food for beneficial bacteria. In short, prebiotics are food for probiotics. Probiotics, as defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO), are live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host. The most common probiotics are from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium genera. Although certain yeast or fungus like Saccharomyces boulardii also belongs to probiotic category. Postbiotics are the next generation gut health properties beyond probiotics. They are essentially bacterial metabolites or metabolic
by-products produced by probiotics during fermentation. These bioactive compounds are able to exert beneficial health effects without the need of live bacteria.

Why are they so important when it comes to health?
At least 70% to 80% of our immune systems lie in the gut. It’s a no brainer to maintain a
healthy gut. Each one of them: prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics, play significant roles to promote a healthy gut. Prebiotics promote growth of beneficial bacteria community or balanced gut microbiota. Probiotics suppress growth of bad pathogens in the gut that cause illnesses and inflammation. They cross talk with immune cells, regulate immune function, and increase nutrient absorption. Probiotics produce beneficial compounds called “Postbiotics” that are naturally antinflammatory, immunomodulatory, anti-microbial, anti-oxidative, and able to proliferate growth of native probiotics in the gut.

There have been many recent studies that link gut health to mental health – what are your
thoughts on it?
We believe this area of health called pyschobiotics will make big breakthroughs in the future. Our gut microbiota has a bidirectional communication system with our Central Nervous System (CNS), which is called gut-brain axis. So what happens in the gut affects the mental wellbeing, and vice versa. Imagine, someone who has a chronic acid reflux, the biggest issue doesn’t lie just at the gastric level, but it also ruins mood, lowers his/her ability to work productively. On the other hand, once the gastric issue is addressed, the opposite results ensure. The other connection in the gut-brain axis would be our neurotransmitters like serotonin (happy chemical), dopamine (satisfactory chemical), and Gamma Aminobutyric Acid or GABA (anxiety regulator).. majority are produced by beneficial bacteria like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium in the gut. Researches have associated role of imbalanced gut microbiota with autism, ADHD, dementia. We are a big believer in the role of pyschobiotics and certainly keeping a very close tab on the development in this field.

Prebiotics and probiotics are widely known – could you tell us more about postbiotics?
Postbiotics are the latest advancement in microbial science. Commercial roll out at least. Hence it is not as widely known as probiotics, yet. Postbiotics are metabolic by-products produced by probiotics during fermentation, whose bioactive compounds are able to exert beneficial health properties just like probiotics, only without the need of live bacteria. In many ways, postbiotics are like shortcut to what probiotics offer. Typically postbiotics are a set of bioactive compounds that include Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA), other organic acids, antimicrobial peptides, enzymes, vitamins, cofactors, immune-signalling compounds, and complex agents.

What are some of your postbiotic products?
There are only a handful of postbiotic supplements out there who go by different terms like heat killed probiotics, lyophilized killed probiotics, etc. Postbiotics are shelf-stable, heat-stable, and have longer shelf life too. These offer great advantages and versatility when it comes to fortification in functional food and beverages. It is certainly a game changer, cause postbiotics can be used in fortification of functional food and beverages beyond cultured milk for instance, as well as products that need to go through heat-treatment, and shelf stable items. We also happen to be launching, before Christmas 2020, our very own natural juice with postbiotics under the bioGuud brand. It will be World’s First 100% Natural Juice with Thai Coconut Water and Postbiotics.

What are their benefits?
Beneficial properties of postbiotics include:
– antimicrobial
– ability to stimulate growth of native beneficial bacteria
– anti-inflammatory
– immunomodulatory
– fortification of mucosal barrier integrity
– anti-oxidative

Are there any risks to taking postbiotics?
To date, clinical studies consider postbiotics to be a safe alternative to live probiotics, especially in vulnerable
populations like the neonates and immunocompromised individuals. In other words, postbiotics can be safely recommended to these group of populations whereas probiotics are not. To sum it up, in the context of beneficial health effects, if probiotics are good then postbiotics are better.