Beetle for liver health: Singapore firm formulates supplement with insect used in TCM

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

Liver Detox claims to mitigate the short- and long-term effects of alcohol consumption while improving liver health. ©Daily Nature
Liver Detox claims to mitigate the short- and long-term effects of alcohol consumption while improving liver health. ©Daily Nature

Related tags TCM liver health Supplements Singapore Insect Alcohol consumption

Singapore-based nutra firm Daily Nature has developed a supplement that claims to mitigate the short- and long-term effects of alcohol consumption while improving liver health.

Launched by TCM distributor Livify, Daily Nature debuted its Liver Detox supplement in April, after spending 1.5 years to obtain approval from the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) in Singapore.

Although sales of dietary supplements in the country are not subject to licensing by HSA, Liver Detox is listed as a Chinese Proprietary Medicine (CPM) product, which requires approval from the authority.

“Singapore consumers strongly believe in the stamp of approval, thus product safety and regulatory approval are our priority.

“Liver Detox is co-developed by our in-house TCM expert and a group of professors in South Korea renowned for their liver detoxification research. We even sent the product for a toxicology test,” ​Lam Cheng Han, founder of Livify, told NutraIngredients-Asia​.

The firm is supported by a partnership with Sunward Pharmaceutical, which has assisted with the clinical trials, testings, and approval processes of Liver Detox, and will be involved in future product development.

“We approached Sunward Pharmaceutical at a time when they were trying to enter the TCM space, so we suggested developing our own branded product and distributing it via our channels.”

Liver Detox claims to reduce the immediate and long-term effects of alcohol consumption, while improving the symptoms of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

As such, the dual-function product is targeted at both the young crowd and the older generation.

“Despite being an effective hangover cure, our messaging focus is more on liver care. This is because some people, especially youngsters, may think that they would have a higher alcohol tolerance after taking the supplement. They may drink more as a result, and that’s not what we want to promote,” ​said Lam.

Liver Detox’s main ingredient, Protaetia brevitarsis​ (also known as white grub) is a species of “golden beetle” that has been widely studied for its benefits, especially in liver health.

Rich in protein, magnesium and potassium, white grub has been found to help regulate liver and spleen functions, break down and prevent the build-up of fatty acids in the liver, and reduce blood clot formation.

Studies have also indicated its positive effects on conditions such as inflammatory diseases, liver cirrhosis, and hepatitis.

“Daily Nature is one of the first companies in Singapore to obtain approval for the use of Protaetia brevitarsis, which is highly regarded in TCM for its medicinal properties. By harnessing its benefits and supporting it with scientific evidence, Liver Detox offers a comprehensive approach to liver care that ranges from protection and recovery to detoxification.”

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The supplement is made with Protaetia brevitarsis, a species of “golden beetle”. ©Daily Nature

Increasing appeal

As a long-time TCM advocate, Lam is doubling efforts to increase awareness of TCM among people of his generation — the millennials.

“We have noticed a lack of awareness among Singaporeans on liver health. Furthermore, a lot of millennials are not informed of the benefits of TCM. In fact, some of them feel that all these natural, traditional ingredients may not be effective. That’s why one of our goals is to educate both the younger and older generations about the use of TCM,” ​he added.

However, on the bright side, there appears to be growing interest in TCM-based supplements.

“Even government organisations are holding more TCM-related events and introducing TCM products. There is also an increasing number of Ministry of Health-registered TCM clinics. In the area of education, Nanyang Technological University has also rolled out TCM courses.”

Meanwhile, Daily Nature is utilising educational blogs, product reviews, and digital marketing strategies, such as social media advertisements, to win over its target audience.  

Growth opportunities

Daily Nature’s products are available on Lazada and Livify’s official website, where the bulk of sales come from. The brand has also reached out to TCM practitioners, in hope of increasing its distribution channels.

“The response so far has been good. When people buy our product, they might have doubts at first, but those who tried it have given positive feedback. There is also quite a number of returning customers,” ​Lam shared.

Apart from liver health, the firm is working on several new products that address high cholesterol and regulate glucose levels.

“We just started sending some of them to HSA for approval and listing, so it might take around one year before the products could go to market. The whole process is very time-consuming, but we are definitely looking to expanding our line-up.”

At the same time, Daily Nature plans to venture beyond Singapore, with Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan on its drawing board.

Even though the firm has considered going into South Korea, the plan is shelved at the moment due to the intense competition among liver supplements in the market.

“Like how we do for Singapore, we want our products to get regulatory approval by the local authorities before entering a new market. [Expansion into] Malaysia is already under way, while we are in the planning stage for Thailand and Taiwan. Based on our market research, there is rising prevalence of NAFLD in these countries, so there certainly is demand.”

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