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Postbiotic LAC-Shield promotes immune health in beverages and snacks
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Exploring the potential of postbiotics for innovative immunity products

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Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the consumer mindset towards health has changed.

More and more people are proactively considering their own health and taking steps to enhance it. According to FMCG Gurus, consumers want to improve various aspects of their health over the next 12 months.1​ The importance of holistic health is heightened by the fact that ‘immunity’ is one of the top areas of wellbeing that people want to address in 2024.1

But when it comes to immunity, what comes to mind first? In Europe, immunity is often associated with vitamin C due to its claimable features, defined by European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Vitamin C can be associated with the claim of supporting normal immune function and therefore many products related to immunity in Europe include vitamin C.2​ 

However, in recent years, many other ingredients are seeking to make claims despite regulatory hurdles. The field of postbiotics is an emerging area attracting attention for its potential to enhance immunity while expanding product application possibilities.

Definition and benefits of postbiotics

According to the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP), postbiotics are ‘preparations of inanimate microorganisms and/or their components that confer a health benefit on the host’.3​ Postbiotics have been shown to generate various health benefits, including immune modulation, anti-inflammatory properties, and improvement of gut health. With more research being conducted and published, postbiotics are gaining interest among not only industry professionals but also consumers.


A promising postbiotic ingredient

One postbiotic ingredient that has gained significant attention for its immune-supporting properties is LAC-Shield™, developed by Morinaga Milk Industry Co., Ltd. Despite being heat-killed, LAC-Shield remains biologically active. It promotes the production of interleukin-12 (IL-12), a key activator of innate and adaptive immunity, when recognized by antigen-presenting cells in the small intestine.4​ Clinical studies have shown that intake of LAC-Shield can significantly reduce the number of days of cold symptoms and symptom scores in adults, and improve immune responsiveness to vaccinations.5,6


In July 2023, Morinaga Milk published a new study with LAC-Shield which shows potential for immunity. Intake of 50 billion cells of LAC-Shield for 24 weeks was shown to significantly reduce the number of days of stuffy nose and cold-like symptoms. In addition, the duration of stuffy nose, sore throat and cold-like symptoms was significantly lower in the LAC-Shield group too.7​ This data suggest that LAC-Shield has great potential for maintaining physical condition and immunity function.

Benefits of LAC-Shield in immunity products

1. Expanding market opportunities

The functional foods market in Europe is expected to grow from US $65,320 million in 2021 to US $116,911 million by 2028.9​ Manufacturers can leverage the benefits of LAC-Shield to create innovative products that meet the growing consumer demand for effective and science-backed immunity products. In Japan alone, over 500 companies have incorporated LAC-Shield into more than 1,000 food and beverage products. While there are still regulatory obstacles to overcome, efforts are being made to be able to use LAC-Shield in countries in the EU and the US, South Korea, China, Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines and Thailand.

2. Strong stability

LAC-Shield exhibits high stability across a range of pH levels and can withstand harsh manufacturing conditions, resulting in a long shelf life and resistance during gastrointestinal transit. This stability allows for a wider range of applications without major stability issues, enabling the creation of innovative solutions in the immunity space.

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3. Adapting to our daily lives

Consumers value convenience when it comes to functional foods. By incorporating LAC-Shield into everyday food and drinks, manufacturers can provide consumers with nutritional options that are easily adaptable into our daily lives. Beverages are an ideal application for LAC-Shield as they are consumed everyday.

Also, incorporating LAC-Shield into confectionery and gummies offers the opportunity to create functional snacks that provide nutrition while satisfying consumer’ taste and snacking preferences. This allows consumers to enjoy their favorite treats without compromising their health goals.

The postbiotic LAC-Shield offers manufacturers a promising avenue for creating innovative immunity products. By harnessing the power of LAC-Shield, manufacturers can meet the growing consumer demand for effective and science-backed immunity products. Morinaga Milk continues to contribute to people’s wellbeing through research and hopes to further explore the potential of postbiotics in supporting immune health.


1.​ FMCG Gurus. Top Ten Trends for 2024.
2.​ EFSA. Health claims
3.​ ISAPP. Behind the publication: Understanding ISAPP’s new scientific consensus definition of postbiotics​.
4.​ Arai, S.; Iwabuchi, N.; Takahashi, S.; et al. (2018). Orally administered heat-killed Lactobacillus paracasei MCC1849 enhances antigen-specific IgA secretion and induces follicular helper T cells in mice.​ PloS one, 13(6), e0199018.
5.​ Murata, M.; Kondo, J.; Iwabuchi, N.; et al. (2018). Effects of paraprobiotic Lactobacillus paracasei MCC1849 supplementation on symptoms of the common cold and mood states in healthy adults.​ Beneficial microbes, 9(6), 855–864.
6.​ Maruyama, M.; Abe, R.; Shimono, T.; et al. (2016). The effects of non-viable Lactobacillus on immune function in the elderly: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.​ International journal of food sciences and nutrition, 67(1), 67–73.
7.​ Sato, S.; Arai, S.; Iwabuchi, N.; et al. (2023). Effects of Heat-Killed Lacticaseibacillus paracasei MCC1849 on the Maintenance of Physical Condition in Healthy Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel-Group Study.​ Nutrients, 15(15), 3450.
8.​ Business Market Insights. Europe Functional Foods Market Forecast 2028.