There is a palatable global trend towards greater health consciousness and it’s accelerating, Australian life science company EZZ Life Science (ASX: EZZ) told attendees at its gastrointestinal health conference last week.
With the COVID-19 pandemic now ebbing away, albeit gradually, it’s not just Australians that have learned a valuable lesson in health.
The pandemic emphasised to the entire world the importance of healthy natural living where maintaining a nutritious balanced diet and gastrointestinal health are paramount.
Judging by EZZ’s recent performance and product launches, it is capitalising on this emergent health-based market opportunity.
Speaking at the conference in Sydney, EZZ Life Science non-executive director Glenn Cross explained that his company has committed to transition into “genomics” with a focus on adding innovative genomics products to its healthcare product range.
Significantly, Mr Cross served as the chief executive officer of AusBiotech – Australia’s life sciences industry association – for over 13 years.
With decades of market experience under its belt, EZZ is actively developing products aimed at regulating wellbeing with helicobacter pylori (HP) bacteria identified as a condition that can be effectively alleviated with new genomic formulations.
In December last year, EZZ launched two brand new nutraceutical products. The products are listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG).
Its new biotics EnGastro and HHP support promise to promote healthy digestion and immune system function, alleviating diarrhoea and reducing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – a condition affecting around 5-10% of the world’s population although prevalence varies widely among different countries.
Significantly, IBS rates tend to be higher in countries such as the United States, Australia, and in Europe, and likely to at least be partially related to a greater reliance on processed food and synthetic compounds.
From IBS to HP
In parallel to treating IBS, EZZ is also targeting symptoms related to HP bacteria. According to Mr Cross, HP infections affect more than half of the world’s adult population and is the fourth major cause of cancer-related deaths globally. Definitive treatments currently remain scarce with as many as 15% of Australians estimated to be infected with HP.
As a testament to how serious the ramifications of HP are, chronic infection with the bacterium was designated as carcinogenic and added to the growing list of known human carcinogens as part of a report mandated by the US Congress and prepared by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) for the Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Further emphasis was provided in December 2021, when HP was officially categorised as a “carcinogen” in a report published by the US-based National Institutes of Health. HP has also been cited as a carcinogenic bacterium by the International Agency for Research on Cancer – an intergovernmental agency forming part of the World Health Organization and the United Nations.
With probiotics growing in popularity among consumers, EZZ has reiterated that probiotics are an “adjunctive functional food medicine” and can help combat HP.
According to Luis Vitetta, director of medical research at Medlab Clinical and clinical professor with the University of Sydney, not only do probiotics alleviate the side effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, but for everyday people, multi-strength probiotics serve as an “adjunctive to health”.
Mr Vitetta has conducted extensive research into microbiome, nutrition, probiotics, functional foods and cellular immunity as well as cannabis-based medicines having served as director and professor of the Centre for Integrative Clinical and Molecular Medicine at the University of Queensland, Faculty of Medicine, based at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane.
In the conference’s HP and probiotics session hosted by Seven News presenter Gemma Acton, Mr Vitetta explained that unbalanced gut function can generate inflammatory responses that result in debilitating health outcomes. “As viable treatments, probiotics and nutraceuticals make clinical sense because they target adverse bacteria such as HP without destroying other gut bacteria that regulates digestive function,” Mr Vitetta said.
“Antibiotics target all bacteria while probiotics are selective in sustaining bacteria that leads to positive health outcomes including a balanced gut.”
“If you disrupt the gut, you increase the risk of bloating, inflammatory problems and bowel problems which makes minimising adverse gut reactions to antibiotics incredibly important. They’re good drugs, they treat infections, and they fix infections, but they also disrupt the gut,” Mr Vitetta added.