Probiotic and eczema: GenieBiome launching synbiotics clinically tested on young kids to Singapore market

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

A boy scratching his arm. ©Getty Images
A boy scratching his arm. ©Getty Images

Related tags GenieBiome Eczema Hong kong Singapore

Hong Kong Biotechnology firm GenieBiome has set sights on expanding its probiotics range in Singapore, including one that has been clinically studied to improve eczema in young children.

One of its recent launches is G-NiiB Immune Kids SIM03 which has been introduced to the Singapore market via platforms such as Shopee in October last year, but the company intends to make it available in major retailers Watsons and Guardian from February this year as well.

The product, designed for children aged one to five, is said to be clinically studied in the paediatric department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).

It has made it debut in Hong Kong last March.

The product claims to improve gastrointestinal discomfort, skin strength, and skin healing. 

Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia, ​Jonathan Wong, regional business manager at GenieBiome, said that most of the existing products for eczema were applied topically but do not address the root problem.

The product, therefore, was designed to improve the body’s ability in regulating inflammation, which Wong said has been identified as one of the causes behind eczema.

“Most of the treatments are topical. If they do not address the source of the problem, then they are more for relieving the symptoms, and so there are products such as moisturising cream, and sometimes steroids to alleviate the itchy feeling.

“But we have identified that eczema is partly due to inflammation. When you have inflammation in your body, then this might translate into skin conditions.

“We have developed this product because we have seen that if you're able to modify or strengthen your gut health, your ability to regulate inflammation will increase,” ​he explained.

He said that the synbiotic formulation, which consisted of maltodextrin, oligosaccharide, and xylitol as prebiotics, a probiotics blend, calcium acetate, and zinc acetate, has been clinically studied in a three-month long study in young kids aged one to five.

One of the findings was that the SCORAD score, an assessment tool which measures the extent and severity of atopic dermatitis / eczema, had decreased in kids who took the supplement.

Based on SCORAD, all participants who had “moderate” eczema condition reported that their conditions had turned “mild” after three months of supplementation.

Fifty per cent of participants who had “severe” condition also reported “moderate” condition.

The lesion area, or the impacted skin site area, had also reduced by 38.9 per cent overall.

On average, there was a 53 per cent improvement in quality of life, including reduction in itchiness, sleep loss, disturbance in bathing, dressing, and sports activities.   

Wong said that the clinical findings were expected to be published in an international journal this year.

Probiotics and colorectal cancer

Aside from eczema, GenieBiome has also launched another probiotics product, G-NiiB M3Xtra, for relieving bloating, diarrhoea, and gastrointestinal discomfort.

At the same time, “M3” as stated in the product name, refers to one of the novel bacteria of a group of serious illness illuness-inducing bacteria in the gut, namely those associated with a higher risk of colorectal cancer, adenoma, and the recurrence of adenoma – meaning non-cancerous tumours.

As such, the product is also targeted at individuals who had undergone adenoma removal, high risk of colorectal cancer due to family history, patients who have been treated of colorectal cancer.

The formula consists of three Bifidobacterium strains which were already used in its flagship G-NiiB Immunity Formula SIM01 and two Streptococcus thermophilus​ strains, which Wong said has been shown to reduce the pathogenic bacteria by up to 80 per cent and replenish the good bacteria that are deficient.

Wong said that the product was developed by comparing the gut microbiome between healthy individuals and colorectal cancer patients. From here, the firm identified the good bacteria that are that were lacking in patients and bad bacteria that are abundant in the patients.

He said that one of the two Streptococcus thermophilus​ strains, together with tara gum used in the product, has been shown in clinical settings to stimulate a “gelling effect” on the intestinal wall, preventing undigested foods, endotoxins, and particles from entering the bloodstream and cause inflammatory responses.

The product was also launched online in Hong Kong and Singapore late last year.

Since its launch, Wong said that its sales have been fast catching up with the firm’s flagship G-NiiB Immunity Formula SIM01.

“The sales of the two products are roughly on a one-to-one ratio,”​ he said.

He added that colorectal cancer was a common cancer in many countries, but it would be a long process for an adenoma to develop into tumour. This means that there is a long period of time for potential intervention to improve the situation.

“Around 90% of cancers developed from adenoma, hence, if you can remove the adenoma and reduce the risk of the adenoma growth, then you are able to lower the risk. We have seen the correlation of good and bad bacteria with the risk and hence we have offered this formulation for risk reduction,” ​he said.

The formula would also be trialled in Singapore on individuals suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Market expansion

Aside from Singapore, the company is also prioritising Malaysia for its overseas expansion.

It currently sells its products in Malaysia via cross-border e-commerce (CBEC) through Shopee and Lazada but is looking at registering the products for offline retail for Q1 this year.

The firm also enjoys a presence in China through CBEC and is beginning to expand into Indonesia.

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