The platform measures metabolic biomarkers in the urine to deliver a picture of users’ health, as opposed to their disease state. It’s a profound change in outlook, said Andrew Dahl, CEO of Zivo, which until recently was known as Health Enhancement Products, Inc. In addition to the testing technology, the company is developing an algae platform to produce astaxanthin as well as other nutraceutical ingredients.
Large scale test
Zivo has concluded a deal with Trion Solutions, Inc., a leading human resources company with over 1,000 clients, and 15,000 employees. Trion will institute a pilot program to evaluate the health and economic benefits offered by Zivo’s Wellness Profile testing platform. Five-hundred Trion employees will initially take the test, which measures several key areas of metabolic health, including lipid peroxidation, inflammation, hydration and nitrite/nitrate balance, among others.
“In our health care system, we have a pretty good system for getting someone back on their feet, but it’s after the fact,” Dahl told NutraIngredients-USA. “For example, most people don’t meet their cardiologist until they meet him for the first time in the emergency room.”
“That’s how medicine has been practiced for centuries. Physicians have their hands full dealing with disease, injury and impairment. They don’t have much time left over for prevention. When you talk about the four major diseases—cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer—most of the precursors to those come from a lifestyle condition. We asked ourselves, what are things that set the table and establish preconditions favorable to the development of these disease states?” he said.
Stable byproducts in urine
Dahl said the company focused on markers of oxidative stress in the body, and it chose to focus on the biomarkers of these conditions in urine, because, unlike blood, the molecules in urine remain relatively stable.
“The problem with blood is how fast it changes. Think about the last time you had an adrenaline rush. Your body changed its blood chemistry radically in less than a second. By the time you take a blood sample, many of the markers in that blood are already changing. So a basic blood panel that measures things like bilirubin is a good diagnostic tool, but it can’t be used to measure how healthy you are in a metabolic sense,” Dahl said.
Dahl said the WellMetris technology uses just a couple drops of urine to measure a number of markers of oxidative stress. The company sought to cast as wide a net as possible with an inexpensive test that was easy and relatively mess-free to use. Combining that with the company’s proprietary software yields results in something approaching real time that can give users insight into how well their muscles are burning fuel, how efficiently they are metabolizing fat and other measures. The company even has a generalized test to tell dedicated athletes and weekend warriors whether they aren’t training hard enough to get maximum benefits, or if they are over-training and not giving their muscles and connective tissue enough time to recover. The company is developing a desktop device and a smartphone app with a target price of about $18 a test for a large-scale application, Dahl said.
The game-changing aspect is this: Dahl said the technology gives a picture that is fine-grained enough that users can see their metabolic status change over short periods of time, allowing them to measure the impact of interventions such as supplementation.
“Our test is sensitive enough that within a couple of days or weeks you can see significant changes to your metabolic status with supplementation. It’s the idea of personalized nutrition, a personalized supplement regime where you are monitoring oxidative stress levels, where you have a picture of your chronic inflammation level,” he said.
Data gained from large scale tests such as the one that will start shortly with the Trion employees will eventually build up a body of evidence for the effect of certain supplements as measured in the change in metabolic byproducts. And that proof of efficacy may one day make it more likely that insurance companies will reimburse the people they cover for supplement use.
“If you have data over months or years that show that a supplement regime is helping to manage the kind of preconditions that might give rise to something like diabetes or cardiovascular disease an insurer would foolish not to support the use of that supplement. The easiest, fastest, most credible way to get supplements covered by insurance is to prove the outcome,” Dahl said.