What you need to know

The OTC digestive health market experienced solid growth, posting gains since 2013, with similar growth trends expected through 2020. The majority of consumers turn to some form of OTC digestive aids to treat gastrointestinal distress, with antacids accounting for the largest share of all digestive health remedy sales. Looking forward, consumers’ need for digestive health treatments is not expected to change, however interest in proactive health options such as probiotics and prebiotics is growing.


This report focuses on the products marketed for digestive health or digestive relief that are available over the counter (OTC)/without a prescription.

For the purposes of this report, the digestive health market has been segmented as follows:

  • Antacids: Products that neutralize excess stomach acid and relieve heartburn, sour stomach, or acid indigestion. Including:

  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPI): Products that reduce the production of acid by blocking the enzyme in the wall of the stomach that produces acid.

  • H2 blockers: Products that reduce or inhibit the secretion of gastric acid by binding competitively with histamine to H2 receptors on cell membranes.

  • Antiflatulents: Products that help reduce gas build-up and its associated discomfort.

  • Probiotics (OTC): A dietary supplement with live bacteria that replaces or adds to the beneficial bacteria normally present in the gastrointestinal tract.

  • Prebiotics (OTC): A dietary supplement made of plant fibers that nourish the good bacteria in the large bowel or colon.

  • Enzymes: Aid in digestion by breaking down macromolecules into smaller building blocks in order to facilitate absorption by the body.

  • Laxatives: Products that relieve constipation and work in one of several ways, either by introducing fiber to the bowel, stimulating the bowel, or softening stools.

  • Stomach remedies and antidiarrheals: Products that relieve general nausea and settle the stomach and products that slow spasms of the intestine and thicken stool.

  • The stomach remedies and antidiarrheals segments have been combined, a change from previous Mintel Reports.

The following items are excluded from the scope of this report: Enemas, lactose-intolerance medications, emetics/anti-emetics, and home remedies.

Back to top