‘Scobiotics’ – a blend of ingredients which is said to mimic the gut microorganism environment and consists of pre-, pro-biotics, yeast, botanicals, fungi, and single-cell organisms.
To date, the company, which is part of the Factors Group of Nutritional Companies, has already launched seven ‘scobiotics’ in Australia.
The latest launch, known as BiomeClear Scobiotic for Detoxification Support, contains a blend of eight probiotics strains, prebiotics, yeast, algae, single-cell organisms such as chorella, as well as herbs such as milk thistle and spirulina.
The product was officially unveiled at the Growth Asia Summit organised by NutraIngredients-Asia and sister title FoodNavigator-Asia in Singapore between October 11 and 13. The product is available in Australia from November through general practitioners and naturopath.
Some of the probiotics used are proprietary strains such as Lactobacillus plantarum-14 (LP-14), Lactobacillus acidophilus-02 (La-02) from Italian firm Probiotical.
Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia, Evan Hayes, managing director ANZ and senior advisor to Factors Group Global, said that the product made use of certain probiotic strains’ ability in binding to and flushing heavy metals out of the gut.
For instance, Lactobacillus acidophilus – one of the strains used in the product – contain specific surface level proteins which in turn help to produce exopolysaccharides in excess.
These exopolysaccharides which are on the surface of the bacteria are sticky in nature, and they in turn bind with the heavy metals which are subsequently excreted from the colon.
“Certain bacteria produce exopolysaccharides in excess.
“The exopolysaccharides are normally utilised for two things. One is to allow for cell adhesion, which is to allow the bacteria to adhere to the gut lining in the small intestines.
“But in the large intestines, the bacteria do not adhere to the large intestines, but forms a sticky gel-like mass that will eventually be excreted out of the body.
“We are using their ability to bind to surfaces and molecules of the things that we want to eliminate from the large intestine and the colon. In other words, the bacteria itself would stick to the toxins and heavy metals and be eliminated through the colon,” Hayes explained.
On the other hand, there are certain bacteria that can naturally bind to heavy metals because they have a specific surface level protein gene in nature that allows for heavy metal chelation – meaning they bond with the heavy metals directly.
“We have searched through genetic libraries and thousands of probiotic strains for the presence of these surface level protein genes that are shown to bind to cadmium and arsenic and we select them for the formula.
“Lactobacillus fermentum is also included for its role in detoxification support as it contains both glutathione (GSH) peroxidase and glutathione reductase. Lactobacillus fermentum ME3 transports GSH from the environment and synthesise GSH.
“This means that it is characterised by a complete glutathione system, namely the synthesis, uptake, and redox turnover ability, which makes Lactobacillus fermentum ME3 a protector against oxidative stress.”
The issue with heavy metals is that it could cause imbalance in the gut microbiome.
“From a heavy metal perspective, they change the community of bacteria within the gut. And so, we also utilise nutrients to help with the homeostasis and bring it back to normal gut function.”
Some of the other key ingredients added were chorella, milk thistle, and spirulina. Lutein was also added for ocular support.
“Quite a quite a lot of heavy metals can be stored behind the eye as well. If you are having heavy metals, or parabens, or toxin exposure, you have other organs, such as the eyes that are affected by this as well.
“Therefore, we have lutein to help restore macular degeneration that can happen because of heavy metal toxicity.”
Heavy metal toxicity – how much can consumers relate to this?
Asked the extent to which consumers could relate with the idea of heavy metal toxicity in their bodies, Hayes said that in general, Australians were familiar with the idea, especially potential mercury toxicity from seafood consumption.
“In Australia, there they're a lot more familiar with toxin exposure and it comes from various things and various places.
“Australia is a large seafood eating nation, and so, they are aware of potential mercury toxicity in fish.
“On the other hand, a significant part of Australia's import and export is mining. And so, a vulnerable community within Australia is the mining community, who are worried about cadmium and arsenic toxicity in particular.”
He believes that more consumers across Asia would start to take note of such problems.
“This would be similar and growing across the whole of Asia I think, where people are aware that small traces of certain chemicals within their diet never leave their body and it accumulates over time and as they get older, that overload starts to impact their health.”
However, due to regulatory restrictions, the ‘scobiotics’ range is currently only sold in Australia.
“We launched the range in Australia about three and a half years ago and now we have seven ‘scobiotics’ and we're aware that many people are asking for it overseas.
“The formulas are difficult to translate into overseas markets because of the complexity of the different strains and yeasts and mushrooms in them.
“We have made them compliant for Australia and we're looking to see the effects of them and as we learn more, we will look to launch throughout Asia with regulatory compliant and clinically effective formulations.”
On the other hand, the company is involved in a five-year research collaboration with Australia’s Macquarie University.
The aim is to study the Scobiotic range and the effects of the products on gastrointestinal health.
“We're going to be testing this BiomeClear Scobiotic initially on mice early next year, where the mice would have heavy metal overload and we will feed them with the supplements and check for increased amounts of heavy metals within their faeces.”