Study of enzyme blend in aging gut model part of new R&D emphasis, manufacturer says

Shawn Garvey, PhD, the company’s relatively R&D director, said part of his interview process at the legacy enzyme and probiotic manufacturer was to ask the question, “Do enzymes work?”

Dawn of a new R&D day

He said he asked the pointed question because in his view there was a dearth of peer reviewed, published literature about the health effects of digestive enzymes. The company, which is based in Charlottesville, VA, had plenty of data, but much of that was bound up in projects that had been done at the behest of formulation customers. When it came to information available to end users, those consumers were left to sort through marketing statements made by finished goods manufacturers.

“In the past we had typically done projects for our customers. We are trying to take a step forward as our own R&D organization,”​ Garvey told NutraIngredients-USA​.

Garvey, who holds a PhD in genetics and genomics from Duke University, said one of his first goals was to find a firm research footing for the actions of the company’s more than 40 digestive enzymes. Studies of human nutrition using actual people as subjects are notoriously difficult with big placebo effects and difficulty controlling dietary intake as some of the main confounders.

Finding the right model

Garvey said the company took the tack of finding a digestion model to use to get baseline data on the function of a particular blend the company postulated could benefit aging consumers. It’s no secret that many people complain of digestive issues as they age, which can have to do with declining production of endogenous digestive enzymes.


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