The product, called Lacto-Freedom Probiotic,was the brainchild of New Jersey pharmacist Kenneth Manzo. He started working on the idea more than a decade ago and went to Torrance, CA-based microbiology firm Celprogen to acquire a specific strain that would accomplish his vision.
“It is a proprietary strain of Lactobacillus acidophilous. It produces a lot more lactase than a run of the mill strain would of the type you would find in stores,” Manzo told NutraIngredients-USA.
Lactose sensitivity is a common health challenge which results from the inability to properly digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and other milk products. This is caused by the deficiency of lactase, an enzyme in the human body which is normally produced by the cells lining the small intestine.
After consuming food that contains lactose, people with lactose sensitivity regularly experience abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and nausea. The discomfort can range from mild to severe, depending on the quantity of lactose consumed and the tolerance level of the person.
Matter of convenience
“People who are lactose intolerant can just avoid dairy products. That’s relatively simple to do. Or they can take a pill providing lactase before every lactose-containing meal,” Manzo said.
“But sometimes you don’t know if there will be lactose in a meal, such as if you are eating out or having dinner with friends,” he said.
Manzo says that after a 7-day course of treatment, the probiotic strain survives in the gut and continues to pump out additional lactase for weeks after. Data from a pilot test run by Celprogren on eight subjects showed a ‘discomfort score’ that averaged a score of 8 before the test and went to zero at week three and only started to rise again at the eighth week after using the product.
There is a potentially large market for Manzo’s product. The product is currently for sale on Amazon for $24.99 for a 7-day supply. Lactose intolerance as a percentage of population is highest in people of East Asian ancestry, with the vast majority exhibiting the condition. A majority of African Americans reportedly also suffer from the health challenge and a significant portion of the Hispanic population does as well. Lactose intolerance is lowest in people of Northern European ancestry. Lactose intolerance can also develop as people age, regardless of their ethnic background.