‘Our own norms’: Singapore precision health firm AMILI launches five probiotic formulations to suit Asian microbiome
The firm’s Head of Clinical Affairs, Dr Saishreyas Sundarajoo, explained that the products also include fructooligosaccharides as prebiotics, and Streptococcus salivarius subsp. thermophilus (S. salivarius ssp. thermophilus) acting as a postbiotic.
The probiotics used differ by product. For instance, probiotics in the formulation for immunity is a combination of three probiotic strains – Lactobacillus plantarum (L. plantarum), Bifidobacterium longum (B. longum) and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis (B. animalis ssp. lactis) at 9 billion CFU per capsule.
Specifically, the B. animalis strain primes the body’s immune system through a process called immunomodulation to fight infection.
Another example is a formulation for thinking, living, and feeling well.
It uses a blend of four strains – L. plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus (L. rhamnosus), B. longum and Bifidobacterium breve (B. breve) – at 12 billion CFU per capsule.
“L. plantarum and B. longum can protect heart health by reducing TMAO (trimethylamine N-oxide), increasing beneficial bile acid metabolism and increasing the production of neurotransmitters, which positively affect mood, sleep, and stress management,” said Dr Saishreyas.
Founded in September 2019, AMILI owns and continues to build what is believed to be the world’s largest multi-ethnic Asia-based gut microbiome database. By end-2022, AMILI hopes to collect 10,000 unique stool samples.
From this database, AMILI scientists aim to create gut health solutions localised to the Asian microbiome, such as the five formulations and its gut microbiome test.
The science of personalise
Dr Jeremy Lim, the co-founder of AMILI and a preventive medicine and public health specialist, said that the five formulations was a result of analysing over 1,000 stool samples from Chinese, Malay and Indian individuals in several clinical studies.
After two years of research and deriving categories from the big data collected, they conceived the formulations and manufactured the products in Queensland, Australia.
A month’s supply of 30 capsules retails at $88.
To get the most suitable probiotic blend out of the five categories, Dr Lim said interested parties can fill out a questionnaire, developed in conjunction with Singapore’s National University Hospital (NUH), that is 65% to 70% accurate.
The questionnaire will gather information on one’s diet and medical conditions among different issues.
“Around 75% to 80% of our microbiome is driven by diet, lifestyle and the environment. This has two meanings.
“First, American and European studies are not directly relevant to our (Asian) gut health. We cannot rely on research outside (our geography). We also felt we were not moving fast enough (in research) in multi-ethnic Asia and this type of research was missing.
“Second, we are different. Every region needs to establish its own norms, what’s normal and what’s abnormal. Today, precision medicine has led to the trend of personalised wellness too,” said Dr Lim.
Additionally, he said sales have been doing well so far since its launch late March. One category is even sold out, he claims.
To optimise the products’ bioavailability, he said the manufacturers have put in place three techniques: the use of a quartz-coloured glass bottle to reflect UV rays, filling the capsules in bigger bottles than necessary and filling it with inert nitrogen gas, and delayed-release capsules to survive all the way to the intestines after consumption.
As of now, AMILI intends to stay focused on Asia and people of Asian origin.
Dr Lim also said it was possible that the team might need to reformulate the product range due to the continued discovery of new species, changes in dietary patterns and subsequent variations of microbes present.
“The supplement space is a big space and we have a unique proposition. We are on to something special and exciting that’s trending, which is personalisation. Everything points to our side,” he said.