From kimchi and kombucha to probiotics and supplements, gut health is the new wellness trend.
The global probiotic supplement market was worth $ 1.1 billion last year and is expected to double in size by 2027.
One of the latest companies to get funding is Her1, a German startup focused on improving women’s gut health, which today announced a € 5.5 million Series A raise, led by Five Seasons Ventures, based in Paris.
“The intestine is linked to everything in our body,” says Chanyu Xu, the founder of the German company Her1. “If you have a healthy gut, you’re more likely to feel good.”
Other European gut health companies to raise recently include Irish digestive health startup FoodMarble and Zoe, based in the US and UK.
Supplements for women, designed by women
Xu wanted to start Her1, she said, after seeing that most of the health supplement products we use daily are designed by men – and most of them focus on goals like fitness. weight loss or muscle gain, rather than overall health.
She says Her1 aims to provide women with a holistic approach to health, not only selling products but also offering counseling and education.
So gut health products work by trying to improve the diversity of the microbiome. “We need to maintain a healthy balance between good and evil,” Xu says, “and there are plenty of foods you can eat daily that support healthy gut flora.”
Her1 products offer supplements that can do the same. They focus on women and offer products tailored to specific times in a woman’s life – for example, there is a pregnancy product and a supplement that aims to help busy, active women maintain good gut health.
“What we’re trying to do is support women at all stages of their lives,” she says.
The body’s most underrated organ
Xu was inspired by a book, published in 2014 by German writer Guilia Enders, titled Gut, which aimed to raise awareness of the importance of our microbiome (the bacteria and microorganisms in our stomachs and intestines , known informally as the intestine).
Enders called it “the body’s most underrated organ”; but the book became a bestseller in Germany and around the world.
The central idea is that if the gut is healthy and contains a good, diverse range of bacteria, it can have far-reaching impacts on the rest of the body.
Rita Ugwu, Her1’s medical officer of health, says microbiome research is in its infancy, but researchers say it can help support a healthy immune system, improve mental well-being, and improve the health of the human body. skin.
Investors have responded well to the product, Xu says, and she was encouraged to see more and more women-focused funds emerge, as well as more venture capital partners, suggesting that female-focused products emerge. women will generate increasing interest.
Her1 is now focused on growing the team, as well as bringing the products to more geographies (so far they were available in Germany, Austria and Switzerland). The company is also working on new products to treat issues such as hormonal balance, mood and sleep.
Freya Pratty is the reporter for Sifted. She tweets from @FPratty