Food science researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University have carried out a study into the benefits of a new prebiotic water.

Dr John Butcher and Dr Ryan Kean were awarded funding from the Scottish Funding Council to investigate the prebiotic properties of ió fibrewater, produced by Edinburgh-based The Prebiotic Company Ltd.

Their study has shown that ió fibrewater significantly increases probiotic microbes Saccharomyces boulardii and Bacillus coagulans in 48 hours when compared to regular flavoured water.

The term ‘prebiotic’ refers to the special and essential type of food that our body’s friendly gut microbes (probiotics) need to flourish and grow. They are the cornerstone of gut health and provide nutrients and energy for probiotics.

Prebiotics are widely researched and are scientifically proven to support gut health, sleep, mood, weight management and stable blood sugar, in addition to lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer.

Dr Butcher and Dr Kean are lecturers in the School of Health and Life Sciences’ Biological and Biomedical Sciences Department and are key researchers in the Research Centre for Health (ReaCH).

Dr Butcher said: “The food science research team at Glasgow Caledonian University has had a long-standing interest in gut health and the impact of the gut microbiota on general health and wellbeing.

“We were really excited to investigate the prebiotic properties of ió fibrewater by researching the effect of this formulation on traditional and novel probiotic bacteria and yeasts.

“We found that the prebiotic blend of ió fibrewater increased the viability of Lactobacillus species, Bacillus coagulans, and Saccharomyces boulardii, while initial studies on Bifidobacterium have shown similar promise.

“This indicates that ió fibrewater is likely to promote the growth of these healthy bacteria and yeasts in the gut. This is excellent in and of itself and is outstanding when combined with the product’s organoleptic qualities.”

Dr Butcher said that creating and maintaining links with the bioindustry are vitally important for the University as a whole because it boosts job and placement opportunities for students, brings funding into the University and builds on its reputation as a centre for food science expertise.

He added: “It is really important to be involved with industry, for me as an academic to build on my research, and to secure long-term projects and collaborations with the University. It enhances the student experience because any company we have worked with we have managed to get placements and support for the students.

“We were put in touch with the ió fibrewater team after they requested academic help through Interface, which enables business-academic collaborations for economic and societal benefit, to help them investigate the prebiotic properties of their new drink.

“Once we received the request we held some initial meetings and then sought funding through the Interface/Scottish Funding Council Standard Innovation Voucher scheme, and were successful.  We regularly get in touch with companies following this kind of enquiry and have had several funded projects over the last few years.”

Dr Kean said: “Work like this is very important because it establishes the relationship between academics and industry. It increases the potential for more funding for future projects.”

The Prebiotic Company Ltd, who are winners of the Scottish Edge Wildcard award for innovation, said ió fibrewater delivers 100% of the daily recommended prebiotics intake and is made with a proprietary blend of soluble fibres that includes prebiotic chicory root fibre (inulin).

Their product range is supported by two authorised UK and EU health claims for digestive health and slowing and lowering blood glucose rise due to the chicory root fibre ingredient included in ió fibrewater.

The Prebiotic Company Ltd Co-founder and Head of Partnerships and Business Development, Alyssa Reid, said: “This GCU study has scientifically proven that  fibrewater is really something special. We can officially say we are the UK’s first prebiotic water.”

Bottles of ió fibrewater are available to buy on the company website and on Amazon.