microbiomex or gut health

Everything you need to know about MicrobiomeX® and gut health

Everything you need to know about MicrobiomeX® and gut health

October 11th, 2023

The gut microbiome plays a vital role in our digestive system, responsible for digesting nutrients while also serving as a central component of our gut wall and immune system. Maintaining a healthy microbiome profile is of utmost importance and ongoing research continues to shed light on its intricate functions. In this article, we introduce MicrobiomeX®, one of our sustainably sourced, plant-based active ingredients supported by clinical research. Explore the benefits of incorporating MicrobiomeX® into your formulation.

microbiomex or gut health

What is gut health and why is the gut microbiome important?

The gastrointestinal system is often referred to as the ‘gut’, including the stomach, intestines, and colon. Its primary function is to digest and absorb nutrients, essential for meeting our energy needs.

Within the gut approximately 200 billion species of bacteria reside, collectively known as the gut microbiome. Many of these microorganisms play a vital role in food digestion and are crucial for maintaining a healthy gut and overall well-being.

It’s important to recognize that the condition of the gut microbiome can significantly impact physical health, but also mental health. Well-established connections exist between the gut microbiome and various aspects such as the immune system, the gut wall, mental health, autoimmune diseases, sleep, skin health etc. (1). Numerous factors, including diet, age, and lifestyle, can influence the gut microbiome. Hence, it is clearly important to maintain and support a healthy gut microbiota through nutritious foods and supplements.


Tips for improving Gut Health

Enhancing gut health is possible through dietary and lifestyle choices. Certain foods are known for their positive impact on gut health, particularly fermented foods and fiber-rich options. By increasing their intake, we can reduce the risk of developing gut inflammation and metabolic diseases. Incorporating physical activity and using supplements, including prebiotics and probiotics, are additional strategies. Emerging products now focus on non-fermenting plant-based ingredients, such as prebiotics and citrus flavonoids.

gut health and microbiome

Exploring Prebiotics, Probiotics and More


  • Prebiotics: these non-digestible food ingredients offer health benefits by selectively stimulating the growth and activity of specific intestinal bacteria (2). Foods rich in prebiotics include onions, garlic, greens, cereals and bananas.


  • Probiotics: Live microorganisms that benefit the host by reducing harmful bacteria and supporting the gut’s natural flora (3). Consider consuming fermented foods and probiotic supplements, such as yogurt, tempeh, kombucha, and kimchi, to promote good bacteria.


  • Postbiotics: the byproducts of digestion (4). vitamins B and K, antimicrobial peptides, amino acids, and short-chain fatty acids, play a role in supporting good bacteria. Some postbiotics, like de-glycosylated ‘active’ flavonoids, are generated by specific beneficial bacteria and are also known as flavobiotics.


  • Synbiotics: a powerful combination of probiotics and prebiotics (5). As mentioned above, prebiotics support the function of probiotics, working in synergy to optimize digestive health and bolster the immune system.

Understanding flavonoids

What are flavonoids?   Flavonoids are natural substances found in plants, known for their diverse health benefits. They have become an indispensable part of the nutraceutical market, due to their ability to modulate key cellular enzymes and their antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and anticarcinogenic properties.


Fortunately, sourcing flavonoids is sustainable. They are primarily extracted from immature fruits in an eco-friendly manner. For example, orange and grapefruit trees bloom annually, but not all blossoms can become full grown fruits. The trees undergo a natural selection process called ‘fruit drop,’ shedding immature fruits to conserve their resources.


What are the benefits of using immature fruits?

After the fruit drop, immature oranges and grapefruits are not suitable for raw consumption. Still, they are full of valuable nutrients. To harness these nutrients, the most practical approach is to process them into a powdered form, which can be easily incorporated into nutritional supplements.

immature oranges and sweet oranges

Why do immature oranges and grapefruits matter?

These immature fruits are particularly rich in a nutrient of interest, hesperidin. By standardizing the extract from immature oranges for hesperidin content, we can create an eco-friendly and sustainable ingredient. As mentioned earlier, fruit drop is a natural occurrence, and these immature oranges become a byproduct that we can utilize. Similarly, another valuable ingredient, naringin, can be extracted from immature grapefruits.


What are hesperidin and naringin?

Hesperidin and naringin are flavonoids with numerous health benefits. What sets them apart is their unique ability to reach the colon intact, where they directly nourish the gut microbiome. This, in turn, leads to the production of short-chain fatty acids (6, 7), including the vital butyrate, the primary energy source for colon wall cells.


These flavonoids are abundantly found in citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons (8). The extraction of valuable flavonoids from such citrus fruits is a well-established practice. Extensive studies (9) confirm that a combination of hesperidin and naringin positively affects the gut microbiome composition by improving the short-chain fatty acids profile, mainly increasing butyrate content


How can hesperidin and naringin improve gut health?

The unique chemical structure of hesperidin and naringin allows them to traverse the digestive system, arriving mostly intact in the colon. Here, the gut microbiota breaks them down into their active forms, hesperetin and naringenin, both highly bioavailable and transported to various tissues via the bloodstream.


Notably, hesperidin and naringin selectively nourish specific bacteria species, such as Bifidobacterium, Roseburia, and Lactobacilli (10). This promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria, reinforcing the gut’s defense against harmful pathogens. Additionally, these flavonoids play a pivotal role in supporting the immune system by inhibiting oxidative stress and gut inflammation.


In summary, the journey from immature fruits to powdered extracts of hesperidin and naringin offers an eco-friendly and sustainable way to enhance gut health and overall well-being, while also minimizing waste and maximizing the benefits of these valuable compounds.

microbiomex and immature oranges

What is MicrobiomeX®?

MicrobiomeX® is a potent blend of extracts derived from Citrus sinensis (immature oranges) and Citrus paradisi (grapefruit). It stands as a pioneering Flavobiotic®, designed to fortify the gut barrier and unlock the full potential of the gut microbiome. Remarkably, MicrobiomeX® is entirely plant-based and produced sustainably. It adheres to multiple dietary preferences, including vegan, halal, kosher, gluten-free, and hormone-free. Notably, MicrobiomeX® distinguishes itself by being non-fermenting, with its flavonoids activated through a microbiota-driven process known as de-glycosylation.


Extensive research conducted by BioActor, through pre-clinical and clinical trials, has illuminated the remarkable benefits of MicrobiomeX®. Consumption of MicrobiomeX® leads to an enhanced profile of short-chain fatty acids, with a specific increase in butyrate. Additionally, calprotectin levels decrease, signaling a reduction in gut inflammation.


Who can benefit from taking MicrobiomeX®?

MicrobiomeX® can be beneficial for everyone who wants to immprove their microbiome composition and strengthen their immunity. For a more targeted approach, this blend of sweet orange and pomegranate extracts could help the following groups:


MicrobiomeX® is a promising solution for individuals struggling with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Notably, MicrobiomeX®’ non-fermenting nature reduces the production of gas and intestinal discomfort. Additionally, it fosters the proliferation of Bifidobacterium, a beneficial bacteria associated with improved gastrointestinal symptoms in individuals with IBS.


Another demographic that can find MicrobiomeX® beneficial is athletes, particularly those engaged in endurance sports. Endurance athletes frequently experience gastrointestinal discomfort due to the extended and repetitive nature of activities like running or cycling. MicrobiomeX® offers a potential remedy by reducing gut permeability and bolstering the gut barrier.

What is our source of citrus flavonoids?

Nestled in the heart of Spain, at Finca la Gloria, lies a family-run orange plantation. Here, eco-friendly methods are employed to safeguard the trees, eschewing the use of pesticides. Every year, the orange trees burst with blooms. After the natural selection process known as ‘fruit drop,’ immature oranges fall from the trees. Fortunately, they are readily available for us to harvest and extract all benefits they can offer.

Learn more about MicrobiomeX®

If you are curious to know more about MicrobiomeX®, you can check out the product page of MicrobiomeX® or its website.

gut health or butyrate or short chain fatty acids

New clinical study: MicrobiomeX® improves microbiota composition and SCFA production

New clinical study: MicrobiomeX® improves microbiota composition and SCFA production

Maastricht, The Netherlands, 29th September  2023

Press release

New clinical and pre-clinical data from a study with MicrobiomeX® have been published in a peer-reviewed journal. It is a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel study performed by scientists of Maastricht University, the department of Gastro-enterology of Maastricht University Medical Center and BioActor. It shows the potential of MicrobiomeX® to improve short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) profiles in the intestine. After 12 weeks of daily supplementation, there was a significant shift in the SCFA profile (p=0.022) towards butyrate. In addition, a reduction in faecal calprotectin levels was observed, a marker of gut inflammation. Interestingly, a new in-vitro study in the TIM2 model, where faecal samples from volunteers were tested, also showed a strong increase in butyrate production. These new clinical and pre-clinical results highlight MicrobiomeX®’s potential to support intestinal microbiota of subjects with features of metabolic syndrome.

gut health or butyrate or short chain fatty acids

MicrobiomeX®: an an active ingredient supporting the gut microbiome, developed by BioActor

MicrobiomeX® is a clinically validated blend of Citrus sinensis (sweet orange) and Citrus paradisi (grapefruit) extracts. These fruits are naturally rich in flavonoids, known for their anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties (1, 2). MicrobiomeX® already showed promising potential to reduce markers of gut inflammation and increase SCFAs in previous in-vitro and ex-vivo studies conducted with this ingredient (3, 4). Supplement brands all over the world have adopted MicrobiomeX® in their formulations, typically positioned for improving gut microbiome balance and immune system regulation.

The study: Citrus Extract High in Flavonoids Beneficially Alters Intestinal Metabolic Responses in Subjects with Features of Metabolic Syndrome



This study (5) was published in the international journal “Foods”. The western diet and lifestyle may be the leading causes for the development of various metabolic disorders. An overlooked factor is the gut microbiota composition, which should be considered as a factor determining health status. A healthy gut is related to mental wellbeing and strong immunity. This study aimed to evaluate the benefits of MicrobiomeX® supplementation on the intestinal microbiome of subjects with metabolic disorder traits.


Fifty adult subjects with features of metabolic syndrome took part in the study. They ingested 500mg MicrobiomeX® or placebo daily for 12 weeks. Additionally, seven volunteers provided faecal samples that were introduced into a TIM-2 system for further analysis. The TIM-2 is a computer-controlled model in an anaerobic environment that replicates the appropriate conditions for microbial growth in the human colon and is able to measure microbiota composition and SCFA production.


A significant shift in the SCFA profile towards more butyrate (p=0.022) was observed in the MicrobiomeX® group after the 12-week supplementation period. An increase in SCFA production was also found in the TIM-2 model, that was mainly due to an increased production of butyrate, acetate and valerate. Additionally, in the MicrobiomeX® group, a trend in calprotectin reduction was observed, which is a marker of gut inflammation. Both in vivo and in vitro data confirm the benefits of MicrobiomeX on gut health, specifically the increased butyrate production and improved SCFA profile. These findings are in line with previous in vitro results and show that MicrobiomeX® can beneficially modulate the gut microbiome.


This study demonstrates the great potential of MicrobiomeX® in playing a role in gut health modulation. This is indicated by the significant increase in SCFAs, mainly butyrate, and a reduction in calprotectin, as found in the present study. By adding MicrobiomeX® to your supplement, you can offer customers a science-based support for gut health. It is an alternative to common prebiotics and an ideal partner for synbiotic formulation targeting gut health and immunity.

Click here to read the complete publication

About BioActor

BioActor, based in Maastricht, Netherlands is part of the Solabia Group and has developed a range of proprietary bioactive ingredients for the nutrition & healthcare industry. We focus on the development of innovative activities that address active living and healthy ageing. Our goal is to provide the nutrition & healthcare industry with science-based innovations that confer a real health benefit to the consumer.

Feel free to contact via info@bioactor.com for more information on the possibilities MicrobiomeXl® has to offer. Further information can also be found on: https://bioactor.com/products/microbiomex/ and https://microbiomex.com/


Can Prebiotics and Probiotics help relieve IBS symptoms?

Can Prebiotics and Probiotics help relieve IBS symptoms?

May 19th, 2022

Prebiotics and probiotics are an interesting topic for people with gastrointestinal disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Researchers have conducted various studies regarding their influence on improving IBS symptoms. In this article, we will explain the different types of IBS and how prebiotics and probiotics may be beneficial in managing this chronic long-term condition.


What is IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic condition that affects the quality of people’s lives and includes symptoms such as abdominal pain or discomfort, bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea [1].

Some studies have estimated that more than 9% of the worldwide population suffers from IBS, with women 1.5 to 3 times more likely to experience IBS symptoms [2].

To date, IBS causes are still unknown and some possible factors that are responsible for IBS, include physiological disturbances, genetics, and digestive motility [3]. Based on the abnormal manifestation of the bowel movements, IBS has four subtypes [4, 5].

  1. IBS-C: Constipation prevailing
  2. IBS-D: Diarrhea predominant
  3. IBS-M: Mixed of Constipation and Diarrhea
  4. IBS-U: Unspecified when a patient does not belong to one of these categories

Probiotics and IBS

Although the causes of IBS are still unknown, it has been suggested that an imbalance of the gut microbiota can be responsible for IBS development.

Probiotics are live microorganisms that confer a health benefit on the host by decreasing the harmful bacteria and supporting the gut’s natural bacteria [6]. If you want to increase the good bacteria in your body, various fermented foods and supplements include probiotics.

As it concerns food, a few suggestions might be yoghurt, tempeh, kombucha and kimchi , while supplements usually include beneficial strains like Saccharomyces Boulardii, Bifidobacterium Bifidum, Bifidobacterium Lactis, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, and Lactobacillus Plantarum.

Research has shown that IBS symptoms can be improved by the daily consumption of Probiotics, even if the exact mechanism is still not completely understood [7]. Probiotics can act in different ways depending on the type of IBS and other factors such as age and gender [8].

It is proposed that Probiotics may improve IBS symptoms by [9]:

• Inhibiting the colonisation of pathogens in the gut
• Enhancing the gut barrier function
• Boosting the immune system
• Improving digestive functions
• Reducing inflammation in the gut and gas formation

What are prebiotics?

Prebiotics are usually non-digestible fibre compounds that are fermented by the gut microbiota, stimulating the growth and/or activity of beneficial bacteria (probiotics) in the gut [10]. To classify these compounds as prebiotics, they need to comply with three requirements [11]:

• be non-digestible and resistant to breakdown by stomach acid and enzymes in the human gastrointestinal tract
• be fermented by living microorganisms in the gut
• stimulate the growth and/or activity of beneficial bacteria (probiotics)

It is possible to combine prebiotics with probiotics to create synbiotic dietary supplements. You can read more about that here.

Prebiotics and IBS

Research into the role of prebiotics in managing IBS symptoms is conflicting and shows that the beneficial effect may be subjective and depend on the IBS and type.

For example, some studies found that soluble fibres such as psyllium and inulin may provide significant pain relief for IBS patients with constipation and/or diarrhoea. In contrast, other studies found that the effect is limited.

Prebiotics act by stimulating the growth of a bacterium that produces lactic acid called Bifidobacterium. Interestingly, Bifidobacterium has been associated with improved gastrointestinal symptoms in people with IBS. More specifically, this genus lowers the pH to desirable levels for beneficial microbes and undesirable levels for pathogenic bacteria

The consumption of specific prebiotics such as arabinoxylans from wheat (AX) can increase the amount of Bifidobacterium in the colon.

In addition, there are also molecules with known prebiotic activity, such as citrus-derived flavonoids. Research has shown that these compounds can reach the colon without being digested and are metabolised by the gut microbiota, stimulating the growth of beneficial bacteria..

These prebiotic flavonoids are different from prebiotic fibres because they are not fermented but rather deglycosylated by the gut microbiota. Furthermore, their ability to work at low doses is associated with their high tolerance as opposed to fibres. Finally, the lack of fermentation avoids gas formation and the resulting feeling of bloating and flatulence.

Multiple studies have shown better protection of gut mucosa against colonisation by pathogens and viruses. Also, citrus flavonoids allow greater production of short chain fatty acids (SCFA) like butyrate and propionate, important compounds for the immune system and metabolic functions.

The bottom line

IBS is a chronic condition that affects a large part of the world’s population.

There is no known cure for this condition, but there are many treatment options to reduce or eliminate symptoms, such as dietary modifications, lifestyle changes, and prescription medications.

In many cases, probiotics and prebiotics may be beneficial in managing the IBS symptoms. However, the beneficial effect is subjective and depends on the IBS type. Therefore, it is essential to understand how dietary changes and supplementations affect the symptoms.


The Link between Gut and Brain Health

The Link between Gut and Brain Health

February 21st, 2022

The bidirectional communication system between your gut and brain is called the gut-brain axis. These two organs are connected through the vagus nerve, neurotransmitters, production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) by gut microbiota and the immune system. This gut-brain link works in both directions. Gut bacteria affect brain health and, therefore, altering your gut bacteria through compounds such as probiotics and prebiotics may improve your brain health.


The Gut-Brain Connection

Did you ever “go with the gut” to make a decision? Have you ever felt “butterflies in your stomach” when nervous? This is because the brain and the gastrointestinal system are closely connected.

The bidirectional communication system between your gut and brain is called the gut-brain axis. These two organs are connected both physically through the vagus nerve and biochemically through hormones and neurotransmitters.

Gut microbiota has an important impact on the gut-brain axis, interacting not only locally with intestinal cells and enteric nervous system (ENS), but also directly with the central nervous system (CNS).

The Vagus Nerve

Your gut contains 500 million neurons, connected to your brain through the nervous system [1].

One of the biggest nerves connecting your gut and brain is the vagus nerve, which sends signals both ways. Gut microbiota communication with the brain, therefore, involves the vagus nerve [2].

Conditions such as Chron’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) involve brain-gut dysfunctions where the vagus nerve is an important component.

People suffering from these conditions actually have a reduced vagal tone, which indicates a decreased function of the vagus nerve [3].


Your gut and brain are also connected through neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters produced in the brain have an impact on our feelings and emotions.

Many of these neurotransmitters are produced by our gut cells and microbiota as well.

Around 90% of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of happiness, is produced by enterochromaffin cells, a group of gut mucosal cells [4].

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that helps control feelings of fear and anxiety, is also produced by many species of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium in the gut microbiota [5].

Production of SCFAs by gut microbiota

Gut microbiota produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), such as butyrate, propionate and acetate.

These SCFAs have a lot of health benefits in the gut, including maintaining the intestinal barrier, increasing mucus production and reducing gut inflammation. On top of that, they also play a role in the gut-brain interaction.

SCFAs can affect brain function in different ways. They are able to stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, mucosal serotonin release and influence the memory and learning process in the brain [6].

Immune system

Your gut and brain are also linked through the immune system. The microbiota provides essential signals for the development and function of the immune system.

The microbiota, its metabolites and components are not only necessary for immune homeostasis, but they also influence your susceptibility to many immune-mediated diseases and disorders [7].

If the gut barrier becomes leaky, bacteria and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) –an inflammatory toxin produced by some bacteria– can enter the blood, causing inflammation.

Inflammation and high LPS content in the blood are associated with brain disorders, such as depression and dementia [8].

The Role of Probiotics and Prebiotics in the Link between Gut and Brain

The gut-brain connection works in both directions. Gut bacteria affect brain health and, therefore, altering your gut bacteria may improve or worsen your brain health.

Probiotics are beneficial live bacteria. Psychobiotics are a class of probiotics that are able to produce and deliver neuroactive substances such as GABA and serotonin, which act on the brain-gut axis [9].

Studies have found that some psychobiotics have antidepressant or anxiolytic activity. These effects may be mediated via the vagus nerve, spinal cord, or neuroendocrine systems [10].

Prebiotics are compounds derived from non-digestible carbohydrates, mostly fibre. Prebiotics may also affect brain health by lowering cortisol levels, the stress hormone [11].

Beneficial Foods for the Gut-Brain Axis

Some foods can be beneficial for the gut-brain axis. These include the following:

Probiotic foods. Probiotics can be found in fermented foods and drinks, such as yoghurt, kefir, tempeh or kombucha.

Prebiotic foods. Prebiotics can be found in high fibre foods, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and whole-grain products.

• Omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fatty acids can improve microbiota diversity [12]. These fats can be found in fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring and sardines.

• Polyphenol-rich foods. Polyphenols are found in foods such as cocoa, citrus, green tea, olive leaf and coffee. These compounds, digested by gut bacteria, increase healthy bacteria strains and may improve cognition [13].

• Tryptophan-rich foods. The amino acid tryptophan is the precursor of serotonin. Tryptophan is found in milk, cheese, oats, turkey and chicken, among others.


Curious to know more about brain health?

Did this article spark your interest in brain health and how you can improve it? Here you can find out everything you need to know about brain health and what ingredients are best to keep a healthy brain!

What are prebiotics

What are prebiotics? Types and health benefits

What are prebiotics? Types and health benefits

February 7th, 2022

Prebiotics are a big topic in nutrition these days. As with probiotics, their relationship with human health has gathered a lot of interest in recent years. Prebiotics are compounds derived from non-digestible carbohydrates that confer health benefits to the host by selectively stimulating the growth of intestinal bacteria.

What are prebiotics

What are prebiotics?

Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that confer health benefits to the host by selectively stimulating the growth and/or activity of a limited number of our intestinal bacteria [1].

Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), and trans-galacto-oligosaccharides (TOS) are the most common prebiotics.

Fermentation of prebiotics by gut microbiota produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), such as lactate, butyrate, and propionate. These SCFAs have multiple beneficial effects on the body and gut health, as SCFAs are small enough to enter blood circulation through gut cells.

The difference between probiotics and prebiotics is that, while probiotics are beneficial bacteria, prebiotics are the food for these bacteria. Both are important for human health, but they have different roles. Probiotics are live bacteria and prebiotics are compounds derived from non-digestible carbohydrates –mostly fibre.

Did you know you can combine prebiotics and probiotics to create synbiotic dietary supplements? Read more about that here!

What are the different types of prebiotics?

There are various types of prebiotics. These include:

• Fructans. In this category, we can find inulin and fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS). Several bacterial species can be promoted directly or indirectly by fructans.

• Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS). GOS can greatly stimulate Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, as well as Enterobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes to a lesser extent [2].

• Hemicellulose-derived oligosaccharides. These are derived from hemicellulosic macromolecules such as arabinoxylans. Arabinoxylans have demonstrated to produce a strong prebiotic activity, in particular bifidogenic.

• Starch and glucose-derived oligosaccharides. Resistant starch, a type of starch resistant to the upper gut digestion, can stimulate the production of butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) [3]. Polydextrose, a glucose-derived oligosaccharide, can also stimulate Bifidobacteria [4].

• Pectic oligosaccharides (POS). Some oligosaccharides come from a polysaccharide called pectin. This type of oligosaccharide is called pectic oligosaccharide (POS).

• Non-carbohydrate oligosaccharides. Although carbohydrates are more likely to meet the criteria to be considered prebiotics, there are other compounds not classified as carbohydrates, but that can be classified as prebiotics, such as some flavanols [5].

What are the health benefits of prebiotics?

Research shows that prebiotics have several health benefits. These include the following:

• Modulation of the microbiota. Prebiotics provide energy sources to gut microbiota. This way, they are able to modulate the function and composition of these microorganisms [6].

• Modulation of the immune system. SCFAs have multiple benefits in the immune system, such as increasing antibody responses toward viral vaccines, like influenza and measles [7].

• Prevention of colorectal cancer. Fermentation products of probiotics, such as butyrate, have protective effects against the risk of colorectal cancer [8, 9].

• Prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis. Prebiotics can prevent the development of this life-threatening disease in preterm infants [10].

• Decrease the risk of allergic skin diseases. Prebiotics decrease both the risk of development and the severity of atopic dermatitis [11, 12].

• Reduction of the risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Prebiotics are able to lower the risk of CVD by reducing the inflammatory elements, improving lipid profile [7].

• Increase in calcium absorption. Some prebiotics can help increase calcium absorption [13].

How can I add prebiotics to my diet?

Prebiotics play an important role in human health, so it is important to consume them. They can be found in foods that are high in fibre, such as vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole-grain products. Foods that are high in prebiotic fibre include:

• Wheat
• Soybeans
• Oats
• Bananas
• Tomatoes
• Berries
• Asparagus
• Garlic
• Leeks
• Onions
• Chicory

Another option to increase prebiotic intake are supplements. They can be purchased in health food stores and online. They can be found in capsule form, in powder blends or even in bars.

Prebiotics are generally considered safe. They can have some minor side effects, such as diarrhea, bloating and flatulence. However, prebiotics’ chain length is the main parameter related to the development of these side effects.

Prebiotics with a shorter chain length have more side effects because they are fermented earlier and more rapidly, while longer chain prebiotics –such as arabinoxylans from wheat– are fermented later and slower.

Wheat arabinoxylans health benefits

What are the health benefits of wheat arabinoxylans?

What are the health benefits of wheat arabinoxylans?

December 10th, 2021

Wheat arabinoxylans are a type of non-starch polysaccharide found in the cell walls of wheat grains. The interest in these molecules has been increasing over time due to their proven health benefits. The consumption of wheat arabinoxylans results in a strong prebiotic effect, enhancement in overall gut health and immunity, and improvement in metabolic parameters such as blood glucose and insulin levels.

Wheat arabinoxylans health benefits

What are arabinoxylans?

Arabinoxylans are a type of non-starch polysaccharide found in the cell walls of cereal grains. Arabinoxylans have been identified in all major cereal grains, including wheat, barley, oats, rye, rice, sorghum, maize, and millet. They are localized mainly in the cell walls of starchy endosperm and the aleurone layer, in the bran, and in the husk.

Not all arabinoxylans are the same. Depending on the cereal, the amount and structure of arabinoxylans in a particular tissue may vary. Wheat arabinoxylans are formed by side chains linked by α-(1→2) and/or α-(1→3) bonds along the xylan backbone, and xyloses are most commonly mono-substituted.

The molecular structure of arabinoxylans is also dependent on the extraction method applied. Arabinoxylans can be extracted using chemical, enzymatic, or physical treatments. The different extraction techniques results in differences in the degree of polymerization (which represents the length of the arabinoxylan chains), and the content of soluble arabinoxylan.

As with all dietary fibres, their physicochemical characteristics affect the degree to which they are utilised by the gut microbiota. Higher degrees of polymerization and concentrations of soluble fibre are related to greater bifidogenic effects. [1]

Wheat arabinoxylans can be used as a dietary supplement due to their beneficial effects on gut health, glycaemic control and immune health.

Moreover, due to the physicochemical and technological properties of these molecules (e.g. water-binding capacity, gelation), wheat arabinoxylans can also be used as a baking additive to improve dough consistency, increase loaf volumes and improve crumb structure.

The health benefits of wheat arabinoxylans

Research around wheat arabinoxylans has suggested that these compounds, as part of dietary fibre, have many beneficial physiological effects along the entire human gastrointestinal tract.

These effects are dependent on a complex mixture of molecular and physical properties of arabinoxylan preparations, as well as on the site, rate and extent of their digestion and fermentation in the gut.

Wheat arabinoxylans have strong prebiotic properties

Arabinoxylans have strong prebiotic properties, by selectively stimulating the growth of beneficial bacteria in the colon, such as Bifidobacterium and Bacteroides species. [2,3]

This change in the microbiota is associated with positive health outcomes, such as improved overall health, decreased gut infections and enhanced mineral absorption.

Additionally, the fermentation of prebiotics by intestinal bacteria results in the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which have numerous favourable effects.

These effects include the inhibition of harmful bacteria, colon cancer prevention or improvement of glucose tolerance, among others. [4]

Wheat arabinoxylans improve glycaemic control and insulin sensitivity

Evidence suggests that arabinoxylans from wheat improve metabolic control in people with impaired glucose tolerance and with Diabetes type 2, by improving blood glucose and insulin levels.

The short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) formed from the metabolization of arabinoxylans by the gut microbiota are mainly butyrate, acetate and propionate. Acetate and propionate can bind to a specific protein receptor called GPCR43 in the colon.

After binding, the secretion of two peptides (PYY and GLP-1) is increased. This leads to lowered intestinal motility and a decrease in the levels of a hunger hormone called ghrelin. These processes are key to improving glucose handling. [5,6]

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that there is sufficient scientific evidence to substantiate the health claim that the consumption of arabinoxylans produced from wheat endosperm contributes to a reduction of the glucose rise after a meal. [7]

Some other soluble fibres have also been associated with this health benefit; however, one of the advantages of arabinoxylans lies in their higher palatability.

Wheat arabinoxylans boost immune health

Arabinoxylans have immunomodulatory properties. Specifically, they may enhance adaptive immunity, innate immunity and gut barrier integrity:

1. Adaptive immunity. Arabinoxylans may enhance vaccination efficacy against influenza, resulting in fewer adverse events, fewer respiratory tract infections and an improved seroprotection rate. [8]

2. Innate immunity. As mentioned, arabinoxylans may promote a beneficial short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) profile. This leads to increased cytokine production, improved monocytes recruitment capacity, and activation of regulatory T-cells, resulting in increased immune system vigilance. All these cells are involved in keeping the immune system in check by making sure that it returns to a stable state after invaders have been successfully cleaned up. [9,10]

3. Gut barrier integrity. The short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) butyrate provides additional energy to the gut cells and strengthens the mucus layer. Arabinoxylans further induce the upregulation of tight junction proteins, protecting the human body against foreign invaders and strengthening the immune system. [11,12]

How can you add wheat arabinoxylans to your diet?

Though in small concentrations, wheat arabinoxylans are naturally found in wheat-based products. However, if you want to increase the intake of these compounds in your diet, dietary supplements or enriched functional foods are also available. They can be found in capsule form, in powder blends, bars and even products such as enriched bread, pasta, and a variety of other snacks.

Generally, 1 to 5 grams of arabinoxylans daily are enough to benefit from their prebiotic effect. Regarding EFSA’s health claim on glycaemic control, at least 8% of arabinoxylan-rich fibre produced from wheat endosperm per unit of available carbohydrates should be consumed.

Wheat arabinoxylans are generally considered safe and well tolerated by the gut, meaning that they do not cause intestinal discomfort. [13,14]

What are postbiotics

What are postbiotics? Let's find out!

What are postbiotics? Let’s find out!

December 7th, 2021

Probiotics and prebiotics are very popular nowadays for their positive effects on gut health. Most recently, postbiotics, which are products or metabolites released from microbial fermentation, have also gained attention due to their health benefits. However, they are still unknown to the majority of consumers.

What are postbiotics

What are postbiotics?

Postbiotics are defined as a “preparation of inanimate microorganisms and/or their components that confers a health benefit on the host”. In other words, they are the bacterial products or metabolites released from microbial fermentation.

For this reason, postbiotics include several types of compounds, such as short-chain fatty acids (that have several health benefits), microbial cell fragments, functional proteins, extracellular polysaccharides, cell lysates or teichoic acid.

Unlike probiotics, postbiotics do not need to be alive to be beneficial, so they are more stable than the living bacteria they are derived from. [1]

Why postbiotics?

Why postbiotics when I can already take probiotics and prebiotics? This may be a question that comes up.

It is important to understand that gut microbiota composition varies between individuals. This means that the degree to which different components are metabolized may be different among persons.

As a result, probiotics and prebiotics may have different health effects between individuals. Moreover, temporal changes in our gut microbiota composition could also influence the effects of these compounds.

On the other hand, many positive health effects of probiotics and prebiotics are due to the production of components such as short-chain fatty acids, microbial fragments, functional proteins or teichoic acid.

As mentioned before, these components are postbiotics, which means that when postbiotics are taken, these components are directly ingested.

If you want to know more about prebiotics, check this article. Or if you are familiar with prebiotics, this article about synbiotics might be for you!

What are the health benefits of postbiotics?

Research suggests that postbiotics may have several health benefits. These include the following:


• Modulation of the microbiota. Postbiotics components such as butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid, are beneficial for gut health. [2]


• Modulation of the immune system. Butyrate can stimulate the production of T cells in the intestine, which helps control immune responses. Other components such as microbial cell wall fragments can increase the production of cytokines, which are chemical messengers that help reduce inflammation and boost immune responses. [2,3]


• Modulation of the metabolism. Propionate, a short-chain fatty acid, can help improve insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. On the other hand, butyrate can stimulate the production of an antioxidant called glutathione. [1,2]


• Weight loss aid. Short-chain fatty acids may help weight loss through the modification of eating behaviours. This is due to the release of hormones that increase satiety. [1]


• Reduction of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms. A study in 443 individuals with IBS involving orally administered, heat-inactivated Bifidobacterium bifidum, found that the postbiotic substantially alleviated symptoms associated with IBS, such as abdominal pain or discomfort, abdominal bloating and abnormal bowel habits. [4]


• Other potential benefits. Orally administered, inactivated lactic acid bacteria may help eradicate Helicobacter pylori infection, chronic unexplained diarrhoea and the abrogation of the negative effects of stress. [1]

How can I add postbiotics to my diet?

Postbiotics are not as easy to find as probiotics and prebiotics, but they can be purchased in health food stores and online. They are generally considered safe and well-tolerated.

As postbiotics are generated from fermentation by the bacteria in your gut, you can increase postbiotics production by eating foods rich in probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics can be found in fermented foods and drinks, such as yoghurt, kefir, tempeh or kombucha. Prebiotics can be found in high fibre foods, such as vegetables and whole-grain products.

Arabinoxilan vaccine efficiency.j

Naxus® positive clinical results on its contribution towards an effective vaccination in elderly individuals

Naxus® positive clinical results on its contribution towards an effective vaccination in elderly individuals

Maastricht, The Netherlands, September 8th, 2021

Press release
The results of the recent clinical trial displayed the significant benefits of Naxus® towards the efficacy of vaccines . Naxus® led to a significant positive changes in parameters such as, cytokine production, microbiota composition, and fecal PH compared to other non-digestible polysaccharides.

Arabinoxilan vaccine efficiency.j

The Clinical Benefits of Naxus®

Immunosenescence is the process of deterioration of immune system functionality, mostly present in the elderly. Effective vaccination of the older adult is therefore a rising concern and a point to consider. BioActor has published the results of its recent clinical trial on Naxus®, an arabinoxylan extract from wheat endosperm on vaccination efficiency in Nutrients (Laue et al. 2021). Naxus® was compared to other non-digestible polysaccharides (NSPs): Wellmune®, Oatwell®, a beta-glucan from shiitake and exopolysaccharide preparation from L. Mucosae. NSPs are known for their promising effects on improving the immune response. From all investigated products, daily supplementation of Naxus® improved vaccination efficiency most effectively. Naxus® was further found to be safe, tolerable and feasible as a supplement.

The participants that completed the randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study were 231 of 239 subjects. Participants where split into six groups, each consuming a different non-digestible polysaccharide or control: Naxus®, Oatwell®, Wellmune®, a beta-glucan preparation from shiitake prepared according to a pre-specified procedure or an exopolysaccharide preparation from L. Mucosae for the duration of 5 weeks. The study showed significant beneficial changes in the Naxus® group compared to control in several parameters such as, cytokine production, microbiota composition and fecal pH.

Some of these beneficial changes could be linked with the significant increase in the abundance of Bifidobacterium in the gut that Naxus® demonstrated in the study. This increase is associated with a reduced infection, duration of influenza and severity of the common cold. Furthermore, an increase in IFN-γ was observed as a result of Naxus® consumption. IFN-y cytokines are produced by natural killer cells, which function as the first in line of defense against viral infections.

The researchers conclude that Naxus® is the most effective compound tested, compared to other NSPs, in this study to promote an adjuvant effect on the immune response to vaccination.
Although lack of understanding of the underlying mechanism, strong immunomodulatory are likely to explain the effect. Previous In-vitro work already demonstrated convincing links between the innate immune system and Naxus®. An enhanced vigilance of the immune system could therefore be the key to an explanation of the vaccination efficiency.

In conclusion, the findings in this study show a valuable contribution of Naxus® to our body, functioning as a prebiotic and enhancing protection against unwanted intruders!

BioActor’s Chief Scientific Officer, Yala Stevens says: “I am very happy with the publication of the vaccination trial, as it is the culmination of a great effort and collaboration involving multiple partners. These interesting results I believe are also very relevant and deserve to be shared within the scientific community and beyond.”

Naxus® can be applied in various finished dosage forms, including bars, granola, flapjacks, capsules, stick packs, scoopable powder.

About BioActor

BioActor, based in Maastricht, Netherlands, is a product development company that has developed a range of proprietary bioactive ingredients for the nutrition & healthcare industry. The company focuses on the development of innovative activities that address active living and healthy aging. The goal is to provide the nutrition & healthcare industry with science-based innovations that confer a real health benefit to the consumer.

Feel free to contact us via info@bioactor.com for more information on the possibilities Naxus® has to offer.
Further information can be found on: www.naxus.nl

Boost Coffee

The health benefits of Aronia Berry: why should you consume this superfruit?

The health benefits of Aronia Berry: why should you consume this superfruit?

September 1st, 2021

Aronia berries are small dark fruits that are becoming increasingly popular amongst health-conscious consumers. Current research suggests that due to their excellent content in micronutrients and antioxidant properties, these berries may provide important health benefits on immune health, cardiovascular function, brain health as well as exhibiting anti-diabetic function.

Boost Coffee

What is Aronia berry?

Aronia berries, are little dark fruits, belonging to the Rosaceae Family. Aronia is native to easter and North America but it is also commonly found in the Baltic region of Europe where it was introduced in the first half of the 20th century.

The reason why these berries are also called “Chokeberries” is that when consumed fresh off the shrub, they make your mouth tickle due to their incredibly strong tart taste and mouth-drying effect.

Though many people have never heard about them, Aronia berries are becoming increasingly popular among health-conscious consumers and are considered a real superfruit.

What are the health benefits of Aronia berries?

To answer this question we need to first take a step back in the past where, traditionally, Aronia was used by the North American Forest Potawatomi tribe as a cold remedy.

They called these fruits “nîki’mînûn” and used them to make a traditional tea. The reason why Aronia berry was found to be so effective in treating common cold symptoms is probably linked to their extremely powerful antioxidant capacity.

Nowadays, it is well-known that antioxidants in Aronia outperform any other fruits, even elderberries, blueberries, and raspberries.

Aronia berries contain high levels of vitamin C, but the real claim to fame is their high level of polyphenols, anthocyanins and proanthocyanins [1]. These are types of antioxidants that help to fight the damages caused by free radicals in the body, and it is these antioxidants where Aronia berries can have their greatest impact on our health and wellbeing.

Aronia Antioxidant

In fact, Aronia is considered a real superfruit due to its high level of antioxidant phytonutrients that can be beneficial in many ways.

Research around Aronia berries have focused on several health benefit areas, and there is evidence to suggest that these fruits may have the potential to:


  • Strengthen the immune system [2].
  • Improves cardiovascular function [3].
  • Improve brain health [4].
  • Help against metabolic syndrome [5].
  • Prevent urinary tract infections [6].

Nutritional Facts

Aronia berries are low-calories fruits, full of important micro-nutrients accountable for their numerous health benefits.

100 g of Aronia berries provide the following nutrients [7]:

  • Calories: 47.0 (197 Kj)
  • Carbs: 9.6 g
  • Fat: 0.5g
  • Protein: 1.4g
  • Fiber: 5.3g
  • Vitamin A: 350 IU (7% DV)
  • Vitamin C: 21 mg (35% DV)
  • Vitamin K: 13.6 mcg (17% DV)
  • Manganese: 0.6 mg (32% DV)

Moreover, researchers have identified a total of 7 different anthocyanins in Aronia berries. These include phytocompounds such as cyanidin-3-O-glucoside, a key molecule for brain health. It has been reported that cyanidin-3-O-glucoside exhibits anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic and antimutagenic activities, while also enhancing spatial memory, cognition and psychomotor control.

How to get more Aronia berries in your diet

Unfortunately, it is not easy to commonly find fresh Aronia berries on the shelf at the grocery store.

However, there are many alternatives. Especially in specialised stores or online it is possible to buy Aronia in form of frozen or dried fruits, tea, jams, juice and wines.

Another effective way to include Aronia in your diet can be through the use of dietary supplements. This can be a great way to ensure you are getting the most out of the health benefits of Aronia berries.

Curious to know more? Here’s everything you need to know about Aronia berries and brain health!

Gut microbiome

Partnership between BioActor and Wageningen University to integrate microbiota and immunity into a miniaturized assay

Partnership between BioActor and Wageningen University to integrate microbiota and immunity into a miniaturized assay

Maastricht, The Netherlands, June 28th, 2021

Press release
The intestine-on-a-chip model is a promising technology to revolutionize the currently used in vitro methods to better emulate the complex in vivo human intestinal physiology

Gut microbiome

The project

BioActor is thrilled to be an industrial partner of the INIMINI project, in partnership with Wageningen University & Research. The project “INIMINI-health: immune- and microbiota-competent intestine-on-a-chip to study health-promoting nutrition and drugs”, funded by Health Holland, aims to integrate microbiota and immunity into a miniaturized assay.

The intestine-on-a-chip model is a promising technology to revolutionize the currently used in vitro methods to better emulate the complex in vivo human intestinal physiology, providing an alternative for animal models in which species differences and ethical concerns are problematic. With this innovative tool, it will be possible to explore food interventions (and food-drug interactions) that can be used to prevent a compromised intestinal immune system and/or to treat the consequences.

The project consortium is a unique combination of knowledge partners (TO2 and academic institutes), six industry partners (Dutch and international) along the value chain, and the Dutch Maag Lever Darm Stichting (MLDS) as the key patient organization. BioActor will provide its knowledge on the physiological effects of flavonoids and arabinoxylans on the gut microbiota and the immune system.

This embodies the ‘quadruple helix’ approach that contributes to the overarching mission of “vital functioning citizens in a healthy economy”.

About BioActor
BioActor, based in Maastricht, Netherlands, is a life science company that develops and markets proprietary bioactives for the nutrition & healthcare industries. The company focuses on clinically validated innovative bioactives that address active living and healthy ageing. The goal is to provide the nutrition & healthcare industry with science-based innovations that confer real health benefits to the consumer.

For further information, see www.bioactor.com