The gut health industry aims to educate the market with science at the core. getty
The pandemic ushered changes across all areas of the economy and, quite notably, the health sector. Left mainly to their own devices, consumers began to redefine their definition of health and well-being as a greater focus shifted to prevention. The already growing wellness industry blossomed to $4.5 trillion that included at-home services, telehealth to home workouts and nutritional practices. An overall shift in consciousness occurred where many started to realize that the best way to avoid sickness is finding nutritional means to stay healthy in the first place. Part of the awareness is around the link between gut health and its effects on the entire body. According to the Global Gut Health 2022 Report, consumers are increasingly interested in digestive health and learning about the health benefits of the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome industry valued at $84.27 million in 2021 is expected to grow by 31.24% from 2022 to 2030. Reports indicate the expanding body of research will play a significant role in forming efficacy of future products. Identifying Obstacles Yinka Davies, M.D. is the founder and CEO of Lyvecap, a scientifically backed gut microbiome probiotic company. She has funneled her Stanford University medical school training and teaching with over 15 years of gastroenterology into a passion project to provide better wellness and performance.
Davies recognized that many patients suffered from an unbalanced gut. After many trials, she decided to partner with Professor Claudio De Simone, MD, Ph.D., a pioneer in intestinal microflora, and his De Simone Formulation as the foundation for her Lyvecap products. The unregulated nature of the dietary supplements industry has caused skepticism in the market. According to Davies, some of the biggest selling probiotics on the market are not backed up by rigorous data or scientific studies. As a result, a shiny marketing strategy can often entice the consumer because of a lack of information on how probiotics work. Davies is on a mission to increase that knowledge. 'Many probiotics advertise as having 20 billion strains of bacteria,' she says. 'But the data shows it takes 200 billion strains to make a real difference to how you feel.' Probiotics have swiftly become a fashionable health hack, but it is a complex area Davies finds the wellness industry tends to dilute. 'It has become almost like taking a Tylenol for a headache,' says Davies. 'People will buy it if it says probiotic on the label, with no real knowledge of what that means.'
Lyvecap is setting out to disrupt this paradigm. With years of research, two patents, and a unique eight-strain formula that contains 200 billion colony-forming units, Lyvecap is providing a service designed to cut through advertising ambiguity. In addition, Davies is working with athletes who are greatly in tune with their bodies. She and her colleagues are finding that premium probiotic usage increases good gut flora to make a tangible difference in how they [athletes] feel.Dr. Yinka Davies, Founder & CEO of LYVECAP, explains the science behind probiotics and the need for ... [+] knowledge in a growing market.Dr. Yinka Davies
According to Davies, the link between the microbiome and gut and overall health (both mental and physical) is known. However, the intricacies of science are less so. 'Lyvecap stabilizes a protein called HIF-1 that increases oxygenation throughout the body,' she says. 'As a result, athletic performance is measurably improved, with the heart, lungs, kidneys, and muscles all receiving more oxygen.'
Davies has studied this topic for many years, working in laboratories and testing different strains on patients with various degrees of disease. 'There are a number of environmental factors that influence the microbiome and, therefore, our health. Our reliance on antibiotics, the artificially increased shelf life of food, the increase in elective cesarean sections, and too much hand sanitizer, to name a few.'
According to Davies, combining the right strains of bacteria to influence the microbiome in a certain way can make a huge difference in the day-to-day health experience. Supplements are a multi-billion dollar industry because people simply want to feel well. With busy lives, modern stresses, and the ubiquity of anxiety, depression, and fatigue, ‘probiotic' seems to be a magic word.
'It is proven that the ratio of bacteria in the gut can resolve imbalances in the body,' says Davies. 'Probiotics are an incredible way of doing that, but the market is flooded with flimsy products that do not hold up to scrutiny.' Lyvecap is dedicated to educating the public and the healthcare industry. Davies continues, 'It's demonstrating that an ‘added probiotic' to granola doesn't actually mean anything in terms of a felt difference to your health.'
In terms of really feeling better, Davies adds that Lyvecap has a retention rate of close to 80% in their client base. 'When the pandemic shut down our supply chain, clients testified to a noticeable downgrade in their health and were relieved when supply lines opened up again. Although the product is suitable for athletes, it is also hugely applicable to people with all lifestyles,' she says.
As an entrepreneur, Davies applies her tenacity and drive to overcome the technical problems presented by the pandemic. 'We are looking to partner with athletes who live a life of wellness and can inspire other consumers,' she explains. However, even with a huge amount of data on the efficacy of the product, and a medical team of founding partners, it is still a competitive market to gain traction.
Davies relies on a self-belief resource that helps her company endure and thrive. She hopes to build a community that uplifts other women entrepreneurs and women of color. While many more women of color are entering entrepreneurial tracks, according to Davies, the funding hasn't followed as fast. 'Investment in women of color continues to lag by most accounts,' states Davies. 'This is one of the groups in business that should receive more support.'
As health and wellness occupy our collective consciousness, the industry is reacting with solutions for the taking. In the health field, expertise and scientific knowledge matter and, regardless of application, offer a significant role in the quality of products that enter the market.
Highly educated, trained, and partnered with a leading expert in the field, Davies represents a comprehensive approach to business in healthcare. She remains steadfast in her commitment to putting science ahead of market clamor. The gut health industry may be growing, and with it should be those interested in furthering the education and health concerns for all involved.
Interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.