Clinical nutritionists Hayley Robinson and Lynsey Koch are passionate about helping people heal. Their start-up C-Biogenics Nutrition allows them to do this at scale. writes Kim Berry.
Lynsey Koch’s interest in food as medicine began with her first job at the local health food store. This became her goal when a life-threatening accident at the age of 18 landed her in hospital for what must have been at least three months.
Every day, his mother, a “hippie at heart”, brought all of Koch’s meals to the hospital, including “green muddy drinks and organic food”. Koch was released after three weeks.
“At that point, my life basically decided my career. I had just started an undergraduate degree in biological sciences, so I switched to nutritional medicine and became a clinical nutritionist,” says Koch.
Clinical nutrition and nutritional medicine examine the therapeutic and biochemical aspects of foods and their interaction with the body.
Meanwhile, Hayley Robinson was completing her degree in nutritional medicine when she met Koch while completing her clinical hours at Koch’s office.
“I always wanted to produce my own supplements and have my own supplement company.
“Working with Lynsey, I witnessed her knowledge and understanding of biochemistry, and we aligned with our compassion and concern for people, but I knew clinical practice was not for me” , says Robinson.
The timing was perfect. Robinson with fire in his stomach to start a business and Koch, after more than 15 years of clinical practice, needing a new project, the couple founded C-Biogenics Nutrition.
Koch says, “As a cultivator, you can burn out. You can’t disconnect thinking about your customers at all hours of the night. Starting C-Biogenics was a blessing, I took a lot of step back from the clinical side and found my balance.
“We have an innate drive to help people heal and C-Biogenics allows us to do this on a scale not possible in a clinical setting. This way we can help thousands of people and work with hundreds of thousands of people,” says Robinson.
food for the gut
The company launched Gut Food, a prebiotic and postbiotic formula developed to help soothe, repair and nourish the gut while nourishing the microbiome.
Koch has developed the functional powder over the years for its customers, using it for health issues such as pre-diabetes, hormonal issues, and cholesterol issues.
“We thought, why not take this recipe and refine it with more nutrients to heal gut epithelial cells. This was the birth of Gut Food,” says Koch.
Epithelial cells cover the whole body, line the cavities and organs of the body, and form the main tissue of the glands. They perform a range of protective, filtering, absorbing and sensory receptor functions.
Robinson adds, “Since founding Lynsey, we’ve added a whole range of other ingredients and then worked on dosages, taste and texture. To help with epithelial tissue, we added slippery elm and marshmallow, and made sure they were in the right therapeutic dosages.
For Robinson and Koch, their main motivation is that every product they develop has a profound and noticeable effect. For this to happen, each recommended serving needs the right blend of ingredients for maximum effectiveness.
“There are many products that look amazing and have a ton of ingredients, but none at a therapeutic dose to make a difference.
“Our top priority is that each of our formulas meet the criteria it needs to be effective,” Koch says.
Calm the brain
Calm Food adaptogenic and neurological whole food formula was developed to help the body build resilience to stress and restore a sense of calm.
“You can’t fix someone’s gut if anxiety is a key factor because it affects your nervous system, which then affects digestion. The reason we wanted to launch Calm Food and Gut Food is because anxiety is gut and brain are a duo. If you address just one component, you’re only halfway. To achieve big changes in health, you can’t ignore either. other,” says Koch.
Developing Calm Food was of particular significance to Robinson who suffers from anxiety.
“I’ve tried various supplements, and nothing has ever worked as well as I needed. I realized there was no whole-food formula on the market, so we went put to work,” says Robinson.
Koch explains, “With Calm Food, we knew we wanted a formula for stress and anxiety. Coming from this training in clinical nutrition, we also knew that there were so many variables at play when it came to anxiety.
“We talk about genetics, gut health, sleep; all aspects that surround a person’s physical health with stress and anxiety. This is where we started. Then it was a process of, okay, it’s the therapeutics, it’s the herbal medicine, it’s the plant, it’s the food, and it’s the nutrients.
In the mix
“We start product testing by testing them on ourselves for three months, then we have a small test group do the same and keep refining them until we finalize the recipe. Every new iteration, we’re going through that process again. Gut Food took about twelve batches, Calm Food took a lot more,” Robinson recalls.
“We are a thug in the food industry because of our therapeutic point of view. We won’t use any emulsifiers, additives, flavorings or colorings, but then the concern sets in around the palatability and mixability of the product. Consumers have been conditioned to expect a functional powder to dissolve or mix instantly or even have a particular taste,” says Koch.
But the duo decided to “own it”, choosing not to compromise on the effectiveness of the ingredients while ensuring the products taste delicious.
“We are constantly working on the products, informing our customers that the reason it takes twenty seconds to mix is because of its authenticity and the lack of additives, and that it is a functional food,” explains Robinson.
Koch and Robinson currently manufacture the products in-house, a conscious choice to maintain high and strict quality controls.
“We use the highest quality ingredients we can find to create an effective premium health product.
“By making it ourselves, we know everything has been stored and mixed correctly. That said, our rate of growth means we need to revisit this, it’s getting very busy! It’s a good problem to have,” says Robinson.
They also try to source local ingredients whenever possible.
“We strive to source locally here on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.
“If we can’t do that, we’ll source the best quality Australian produce. We also use a local company to freeze dry our ingredients,” says Robinson.
While their focus may be local for ingredients, the pair are focused on growing distribution nationwide. Currently stocked in Queensland health food stores and available on the C-Biogenics website, Koch and Robinson are actively seeking wider distribution channels and partners.
With their third product slated for early next year and around eight more in the works, C-Biogenics is on the rise.
This story first appeared in our July issue of Food and Beverage Company magazine.