Fermented ingredients boost bioavailability
Alan C. Logan, ND
The new trend in supplements is fermenting. No, really, fermented ingredients boost the bioavailability and benefits of herbs, plants, and botanical preparations.
Many of us consume natural health products for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Now an increasing body of literature claims that their effectiveness may be boosted by the safe and effective use of various fermented natural health product ingredients.
Recent studies have shown that fermentation magnifies the benefits of plants and herbal blends and, in some cases, produces unique bioactive phytochemicals, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds that did not exist prior to fermentation.
Fermented botanical preparations may provide an increased anti-inflammatory influence versus their unfermented counterparts. Fermented herbal ingredients may be more effective for antioxidant support, bone health, immunity, and protection of the intestinal lining.
Fermented whole foods have long been used in ancient diets and contain powerful plant-based chemicals. Fermented rice bran, for instance, has been shown to reduce physiological stress and fatigue. Additionally, the fermentation of rice bran produces phytochemicals. These antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, not found in unfermented rice bran, are shown to reduce the risk of a certain type of lymphoma.
Enhanced nutrient bioavailability
Fermentation of organic, sprouted brown rice protein (both the bran and endosperm layer for optimal nutrition) enhances the amino acid bioavailability, giving it an amino acid profile similar to that of breast milk and whey protein isolate. Fermentation can also increase the bioavailability of a variety of nutrients, including B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc.
Improved microflora of the gut
The shift away from ancestral diets, including the ancient and artisanal way of processing food, appears to be taking its toll on our bodies. A decreased intake of fermented foods coincides with a decreased exposure to “good” bacteria, and reduced digestion and absorption of nutrients.
Fortunately, we can promote the growth of healthy intestinal bacteria with the help of a fermented fibre known as isomalto-oligosaccharide. Naturally found as a sweetener in foods such as miso, sake, soy sauce, and honey, this prebiotic has been shown to help maintain cholesterol and blood sugar levels, improve mineral absorption, relieve constipation, and regulate bowel movements.
More effective for immunity
Studies have shown that the microbes found in fermented foods and fermented natural health supplements may help improve immune function. Most notable is an improvement in natural killer cell activity, our front line defenders against infection and cancer.
The consumption of natural health products is just one way for us to help our bodies obtain and maintain optimal health. Adding fermented ingredients to these products provides a number of benefits that are invaluable to achieving our health goals.