Supplement firm adds probiotic to product for colicky babies

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Wellements photo
Wellements photo

Related tags Probiotic

Wellements, an Arizona supplement company, has put a new twist on a legacy category by introducing a probiotic gripe water.

Gripe water is a product that has been resorted to for years by parents seeking to soothe colicky babies.  Colic is defined behaviorally;  it’s a baby who cries inconsolably for several hours at a time, several times a week. There is no specific identified cause of colic, but it’s known to be relatively common, affecting about one baby in five in the US. While it’s hard to know exactly what a baby is feeling, colicky babies typically clench their fists and draw up their legs and are often gassy, leading to the understandable conclusion that the discomfort is digestion-related. 

Wellements, based in Scottsdale, AZ, entered the baby category about 12 years ago, said CEO Ryan Petrosky. Since then the gripe water category, which has been something of an under-the-radar segment of the market, has grown as more information becomes available to parents, he said.

“We think the overall size is about $20 million for all gripe water products in the market. Our formula is a time-tested remedy of ginger, fennel and chamomile,”​ Petrosky told NutraIngredients-USA.

More discerning parents

Petrosky said Wellements, since it made the shift to focus on products for infants, has had a focus on providing organic products.  That means the company is well positioned to profit from the evolution of the market, Petrosky said.

“We started with organic gripe water.  What we are seeing is this constant evolution in this discerning market.  People are becoming more educated about what they’re ingesting and what they are giving to their infants for them to ingest,” ​he said.

3D Probiotic GW

Petrosky said the company decided to add a gripe water that included probiotics for a couple of reasons. First, probiotics in general have good evidence behind them for helping to shift the cut microbiome in a positive direction. Also, evidence continues to mount that the high incidence of Caesarean births in the US (now about 1 in 3) is depriving those babies of an inoculation with beneficial microorganisms that is delivered via vaginal birth, and that a probiotic regimen could help jumpstart the development of a health transitional microbiome.

And finally, the probiotic the company chose, Sabinsa’s Bacillus coagulans​ strain branded as Lactospore, has good evidence for efficacy and stability, Petrosky said.  Lactospore will only germinate at specific temperatures and chemistries, meaning it can reside in a beverage whereas other probiotic strains could not. And stability was key, because the product was meant to be shelf stable, though Petrosky said that since it has no preservatives, it must be refrigerated after opening.