Special Announcement from Henry Osiecki
4th December 2017
My Colleagues and Friends
For over 30 years I have been at the helm of Bio Concepts. I have seen the field of nutrition grow and develop into a cornerstone of health in Australia. I have also seen Bio Concepts grow to become a leader in the industry with its mantra of quality, purity, efficacy and innovation. So, it is with pleasure that I have decided to pass the captaincy of Bio Concepts to my son Michael. Michael has grown up with Bio Concepts, he has spent his holidays working in the warehouse, has written and presented lectures and formulated some of our most innovative products all while studying for his Bachelor of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology and then his PhD. Since his graduation, he has stepped up to steer Bio Concepts through one of the most exciting times in the Australian natural health industry. Bio Concepts could not be in better hands as it embraces the future of nutrition and health. Michael has the vision and skills to incorporate what has traditionally made our products a symbol of excellence with the changing technological landscape that we all find ourselves in.
During the 40 years that I have been involved in the field of nutrition, over 30 of which have been dedicated to Bio Concepts, I have seen great change and an increased understanding in my area of passion: nutritional biochemistry. The number of practitioners who have grown their knowledge in this area has only served to benefit the industry and helped take nutritional medicine forward as a recognised and supported branch of the health sciences. This support has most recently manifested itself with the government creating the new Aust (L)A category for nutritional products. The government has seen this need as a reflection of the mainstream public’s acceptance of the role nutrition plays in improving their health and lives.
As I reflect on my time in the health industry, the biggest shift I have seen has been the slow move away from the disease model of medicine towards a model centred on wellness and optimum health. A model that considers the individuality of the patient, and that they are not a problem to be solved, but complex living beings that need support to maintain and improve their health. This paradigm shift allows new approaches to treating chronic illness, where the focus is helping the patient reach their optimal heath rather than treating the disease and not the patient as a whole. This change has been driven by a widely read and educated public who are no longer content to suffer the side effects and high-price of pharmaceuticals as the only solution to their illness. Drugs have always dealt best with the acute issues of human health - they are powerful tools that give trained clinicians the breathing space needed to problem solve and stabilise. But it is through nutrition and judicious nutritional supplementation that healing occurs.
Looking forward, it is the information technology revolution that I believe will continue to shape our lives, adding momentum to the changes in our industry. Any practitioner can now access the latest scientific research online, whether it be information on nutrients, contrary opinions or theoretical models. Bio Concepts wants to continue its role in contributing to this wealth of online scientific and nutrient-specific information. This type of support that we provide to our practitioners is something that we pride ourselves on – in the future, we wish to expand the depth and breadth of knowledge we provide. We also want to bring this technological health revolution to our patients as the greater their understanding, the more empowered they are to take control of their health outcomes and seek the advice and treatment that works best for them, not just follow tired protocols without question. As practitioners we are not just carers and experts in our field, we are educators. Our profession is the necessary guide, the translator that takes the scientific knowledge of the researcher and presents the practical benefits in layman’s terms to the public. We all hold the key to creating a society where health is at the forefront and not just something that is addressed when it goes horribly wrong. However, this is not the only way technology will positively influence our industry. This is a revolution that will impact on patient care - information flow between the patient and the practitioner will make the patient an active and informed partner in the solution to their own medical and nutritional problems. As a consequence, our profession will grow in stature as the evidence mounts to offer alternative approaches to chronic diseases and requires the use integrative methods.
It is in this period of growth and change that I am handing the reins over to my children, Michael and Mariangela. I have mentored them throughout their lives and they have been imbued with the vital role that nutrition plays in the practice of medicine. I am also leaving them with an excellent team, one that I have picked and mentored, who have taken on my challenge and expectation to create innovative and effective formulations, as well as cutting-edge educational resources. I know that they will all continue the excellence, innovation, quality, education, and focus on improving the health of our community that Bio Concepts has always stood for. I am proud to have such wonderful people working for me and leading Bio Concepts into the future.
Finally, my thanks to you the practitioners, manufacturers, distributors, researchers, and patients. This industry has supported and encouraged me as I have grown and developed, not just a company of excellence but, myself as a better biochemical nutritionist. Thank you for the wonderful conversations we have had, the inspiration you have provided and the strength you show in fighting for the best outcomes for our community’s health. It has been an extraordinary four decades, thank you for sharing them with me.
Enjoy the future and what it holds for you.
Media Response: Private Health Insurance Overhaul
13th October 2017
The removal of 17 different disciplines of natural therapies from the Private Health Insurance Rebate scheme has been a longstanding discussion; and today it appears that the Turnbull Government's plan to reduce pressure on the Medicare system, has removed these preventative health therapies from the scheme from 2019.
The Sydney Morning Herald yesterday reported:
"From 2019, private health insurance will no longer cover natural therapies, including aromatherapy, Bowen therapy, Buteyko, Feldenkrais, herbalism, homeopathy, iridology, kinesiology, naturopathy, Pilates, reflexology, Rolfing, shiatsu, tai chi and yoga."
The allegations made against natural therapies, is that they do not meet the benchmark requirements for interventions funded under the PBS and MBS: the conclusion is that the efficacy of these therapies was not sufficiently demonstrated to warrant taxpayer funding.
However, the preventative nature of natural therapies has been completely overlooked in this movement, as has the overall impact the current 26% rebate has on the Medicare system. We, as practitioners and researchers, know the positive influence natural therapies have on the population who partake in this style of intervention. They not only preserve the health of the individual, but in doing so, reduces the economic burden of healthcare in the long run.
Claims submitted for complementary medicine interventions currently account for less than one percent of all benefits paid by health funds in Australia. Consequently, we can conclude that this contribution is mirrored in the effect on the Medicare scheme.
Conversely, the positive effects of natural medicine, have a much more significant contribution to the economy. Through delving deeper into underlying causes of health problems and diseases, we improve the long-term health of individuals. For the economy, this means that those individuals are less likely to submit claims on their insurance, take less time off work, and have an elevated quality of life, making them our most productive members of society.
Effective, non-invasive treatments, particularly when adopted earlier in life, have the potential to drastically reduce the pressure on the healthcare sector in both the short and long term.
Dr Rachel David, the CEO of Private Healthcare Australia, representing 20 health insurers across Australia, echoed this sentiment in a statement in CHOICE. She stated this reduction in the rebates paid on extras policies not only makes policies immediately more expensive, but results "in less preventative treatment being undertaken and more strain placed on the hospital system."
Unsurprisingly, 2017 has seen a consistent downward spiral in the number of young people purchasing private health cover. Leaving only those demographics with a higher propensity to submit claims in the market, premium prices have hit an all time high, further emaciating the under 30's market from the sector.
Three major contradictions are prevalent within this proposed change.
- The desire is for more under 30's to join a Health Fund, yet Natural Therapies which align with shifting cultural norms and values, are being withdrawn.
- Despite a renewed focus on mental health support for Australians, this change directly affects a sector whose primary focus is on mental health assistance.
- Insurance companies themselves are promoting preventative health measures to their clients as an opportunity reduce their premiums. They know fully the long-term economic benefits of undertaking these practices.
Should these changes come into effect, there will only be a short term saving made on the Government's part. Long term, the removal of natural and preventative therapies has the potential to have devastating effect on the healthcare sector and hospital system, due to more people being admitted to hospital with chronic diseases that could have been prevented. Thus making private health insurance continue to become less affordable, especially for young adults.
This is a backward and unstainable step against modern healthcare best practices. Medical research points towards preventative action with natural and complimentary medicine playing its part, is the best way to prevent diseases and, more importantly, the most effective way to reduce the economic burden of the health system. A policy like this will make the Medicare and private health insurance system totally unstainable, as our population will not have the resources to partake; or be incentivised to participate in preventive health treatments that natural and complimentary health practices provide and specialise in.
CALL TO ACTION:
- There is currently an industry petition to challenge these changes (https://www.yourhealthyourchoice.com.au/). This site also has templated letters and emails to share with your local MP and patients. (on the contact us page).
- Please review and consider signing the petition on the website.
- Consider sending the petition link to all your patients, for them to sign ( people power can prevail).
- Contact your local Member of Parliament to voice your concern.
- Mobilise your patients to contact their local Member........ again, people numbers matter to politicians.
We trust this is helpful,
Henry Osiecki and Dr Michael Osiecki
Bio Concepts Media Release
11th August 2017
Detecting the B3 deficiency linked to birth defects: The Dosage that makes the Difference
Supplementation with 140mg of niacin before and during pregnancy could prevent the development of birth defects in infants; according to new cutting-edge Australian research published on the 10th August 2017in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Major congenital malformations occur in around 2% of human births, and one latest study used genomic sequencing to identify potentially pathogenic gene variants in families in which a person had multiple malformations. Researchers then engineered mouse models with similar variants.
The variants were HAAO, the enzyme which catalyses quinolinic acid and KYNU which converts 3-hydroxykynurenine to 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid. Both are considered to be part of de novo NAD synthesis, converting tryptophan to NAD.
The link was made between these gene variants and subsequent NAD deficiency, and defects affecting vertebral segmentation and the heart, small kidney and cleft palate. NAD is involved in hundreds of reactions in the body from energy metabolism to regulating sirtuin-mediated deacetylation which modulates transcription factors and enzymes that enhance cell survival under stress.
While more clinical trials are needed, authors theorised that supplementing with 140mg of high-dose niacin daily before and during pregnancy could prevent disease recurrence in the families studied. In addition, they concluded that niacin supplementation may benefit speech and developmental delays in the surviving patients they studied.
14th March 2017
Do not fear using Glutamine in cancer patients
– Henry Osiecki
Nutritional biochemist Henry Osiecki has congratulated the scientists who worked out that the non-essential amino acid glutamine is a respiratory fuel for cancer cells. Their research of blocking the glutamine uptake mechanism in cancer cells to decrease cancer growth may not be the breakthrough they hoped for as cancer cells are very adaptable and will change to another source of energy.
The research, which has recently featured heavily in mainstream media, is telling the public that cancer cells thrive on glutamine, while normal cells require glucose, suggesting that glutamine should not be used in cancer patients.
Mr Osiecki said this discovery was first made in 1995 but he said cancer cells also preferentially use glucose as an energy source. In the absence of glucose, cancer cells will use glutamine, glycine or serine.
Naturopaths have used this knowledge for the last 20 years by recommending that cancer patients adopt ketogenic diets, reducing cancer cells’ access to glucose.
“It’s more complex than purely saying that glutamine feeds cancer cells so let’s restrict its supply to the body,” Mr Osiecki said.
“It is also respiratory fuel for lymphocytes so it is essential for the immune system. It also feeds enterocytes so is essential for gut function.
“My concern with the drug approach is that it will cause more side effects than benefits because glutamine is required for the immune system and you need a well-functioning immune system to kill cancer cells.
“The cancer will adapt to the drug very early anyway and scavenge glutamine from neighbouring cells or switch to the amino acids serine or glycine as a fuel.”
Mr Osiecki said there are also new studies showing that glutamine supplementation does not promote tumour growth.
One study published last year assessed oral glutamine supplementation on clinical and survival outcomes of Stage III non-small cell lung cancer patients. The retrospective study analysed 122 patients between 2010 and 2014. Half of the patients were given 10g of glutamine three times daily. Severe radiation-induced oesophagitis was 70% less in the group receiving glutamine while the glutamine-free participants lost significantly more weight.
Interestingly, glutamine has also been found to decrease tumour glutathione levels, stimulating apoptosis. Generally, cancer cells have higher glutathione levels than surrounding cells leading to higher cell proliferation rates and resistance to chemotherapy.
Other functions of glutamine include its ability to maintain gut mucosal integrity, improve immune competence, inhibit cell proliferation, increase apoptosis and glutathione levels in normal cells and reduce muscle loss during radio-chemotherapy in patients with advanced cancer.
Bio Concepts Media Release
14th February 2017
More government funded research to end the blame game
The Australian government should commit to funding more human clinical trials on the effects of nutrients and herbs in the treatment of disease, as a way of ending once and for all the constant finger-pointing the complementary medicines industry receives from certain sections of the medical profession.
Nutritional biochemist Henry Osiecki, who has been a leader of the natural medicine industry in Australia for more than 30 years, has made the call following last night’s Four Corners program which claimed there is no evidence that complementary medicines work.
The program aired statements from the head of the Australian Medical Association Michael Gannon that seven in ten Australians use supplements and all they have for their money is very expensive urine.
Many other university professors claimed that studies on complementary medicines were small and funded by big supplement companies, delivering favourable results.
“This is not an unusual situation these days as funding handed out by the Australian Research Council is very limited. Researchers have to get their funding from somewhere and increasingly, in all sectors, it is coming from industry. That includes, I might add, studies into pharmaceutical medicines,” Mr Osiecki said.
“I am calling for the federal government to make more funding available to the industry, to those practitioners in clinical practice who understand biochemistry, to conduct clinical trials on nutrients in disease states, not on healthy people as is current practice.”
Mr Osiecki said that everyone on the program agreed that deficiency syndromes could be treated with supplements, but he argued it depended on who was defining the deficiency.
“Doctors deal with disease and do not see the possibility that disease can be the result of a nutritional deficiency. If they do consider deficiency states as a cause of disease, they look to definitions established in the 1950s,” he said.
“Naturopaths and nutritionists are trained to look for deficiencies in the modern context but now we need research to update knowledge on nutritional deficiency states for the medical profession as a whole.”
Mr Osiecki dismissed claims on the program that supplements are not needed if people follow a good diet.
“How many of us follow a good diet these days? We currently have the highest rates of diet-related diseases of all time, and they are all diseases of deficiency,” he said.
“Most people would have selenium and zinc deficiencies at the very least, and here, I am talking about healthy people. The sick and the elderly have multiple deficiencies.
“We have soils that are no longer mineral-rich and most of the population have compromised digestive systems. Nutritional deficiencies are more common than not, even in people who eat a so-called healthy diet.”
Mr Osiecki said the TGA has mandated that all companies follow their strict guidelines by using high quality research as evidence to list therapeutic indications for their products. There are stringent requirements as to what constitutes quality evidence.
16th June 2016
Labor Party announces it will scrap taxpayer-funded private health insurance rebates on natural therapies if elected
The Labor Party has recently announced it will scrap taxpayer-funded private health insurance rebates on natural therapies if elected.
At least the Labor Party have come clean and made this announcement before the election which gives everyone who supports the retention of taxpayer-funded private health insurance the opportunity to cast their vote at the ballot box. Click on the link below link for more information on removal of taxpayer-funded rebates by the Labor Party: http://www.billshorten.com.au/labor_s_plan_for_bud...
ANTA is disappointed that the Labor Party has again shown its total lack of understanding and support for the health system and through a blinkered approach believes removal of funding for health fund rebates for natural therapies will fix the health system and budget problems. Nothing could be further from the truth, and removal of funding for rebates for natural therapies will significantly add to the issues and pressures the health system and budget faces.
If the Labor Party was serious about health reform it should introduce a policy of increasing funding of rebates for natural therapies and encouraging greater use of natural therapies to take pressure off the health system.
The Liberal Party has recently announced it will maintain the current private health insurance rebate for patients but will make changes including simplifying policies into 3 categories such as Gold, Silver and Bronze, simplify billing and other measures. Click on the link below for more information on the Liberal Party’s plans for private health insurance: http://www.liberal.org.au/latest-news/2016/06/12/c...
ANTA members and clients will make their own decisions on who to vote for, however we believe for members and clients who want to retain health fund rebates for natural therapies the only option is to vote for a political party that has the potential to govern in its own right and has previously shown support for rebates for natural therapies.
ANTA members can also play an important role by passing this communiqué to their patients and supporters of natural therapies and highlight that the removal of private health insurance taxpayer-funded rebates by the Labor Party could impact on the level of rebates they receive and/or the premiums they are required to pay and/or cover available for natural therapies.
Members and patients who are concerned by the Labor Party policy on private health insurance rebates should be encouraged to contact their local Labor Party candidate/member to voice and express their concerns and how removal of taxpayer-funded rebates for natural therapies could impact on their health, health services and health care they currently receive from their natural therapist.
ANTA National Council will be contacting political parties, releasing media statements and seeking support to ensure health fund rebates continue for natural therapies. The ongoing issue of rebates for natural therapies again highlights the need for natural therapists to be registered under the NRAS and ANTA is continuing its efforts and work to achieve statutory registration.
ANTA National Council
CMA Snapshot Report 2016
1st March 2016
Bio Concepts Donation
13th November 2015
In October we ran a limited time offer with our Super Six Packs. This included a few of our top selling products which were sold in six packs with up to a 20% discount. As part of this promotion for every six pack purchased during the month $1 was donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation for Pink Ribbon Day.
We are absolutely delighted to announce that we were able to raise a grand total of $1154 to go towards breast cancer research.
This is an amazing achievement and we’d like to pass on our sincerest thanks to all those involved. Your support and generosity is greatly appreciated by the entire team at Bio Concepts, the National Breast Cancer Foundation and most importantly by those living with a breast cancer diagnosis and their families.
You are all part of a special group of people who believe in the power of research. Many people are successfully fighting against breast cancer thanks to research and the amazing support of people like you!
Bio Concepts Education Centre Pod at Think College in Brisbane
5th November 2015
Henry Osiecki & the Bio Concepts Team are excited to celebrate the unveiling of the first Bio Concepts Education Pod-a revolutionary resource for students and lecturers alike!
In collaboration with ACNT and Think Education in the heart of Brisbane, the Bioconcepts Education Pod offers students a quiet & dynamic portal to enhance their educational experience. Students will have access to online webinars, podcasts and videos via the Bio Concepts Education Centre-an award winning source of education in the Complementary Medicine field.
Henry and the Bio Concepts team are passionate about under-graduate and post-graduate education, for both Nutritionists & Naturopaths. In light of which, Henry was delighted to share his passion with some aspiring students over an engaging Q&A session, sharing 30 years of experience, followed by a book signing for some very excited students!
"It was a pleasure meeting so many passionate students at Think College in Brisbane yesterday at the opening of the new BioConcepts Pod. There were so many thoughtful questions. I'm looking forward to more contact with the College. And good luck with your studies!"
- Henry Osiecki
International Headlines: Dietary Supplements Taken in Excess Linked to Cancer Risk
International media have reported on a study linking excess intake of dietary supplements to an increased cancer risk.
“Nutrition experts urge anyone taking vitamin supplements to use them as just that. They should be paired with a healthy diet in order to make up for deficiencies, not to make up for a lack of eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. If taken at the correct dosage, multivitamins can be good for you. But there is no substitute for good, nutritional food.”
The Bio Concepts Team
Important Industry News
As a member of Complementary Medicines Australia, today we received the following CMA Release. We thought that it was in the best interest of the Industry to circulate this announcement. You can also read the NHMRC statement here.
The Bio Concepts Team
The Bio Concepts Education Centre - 2014 Industry Award Winner
Thank you for your support!
The Bio Concepts Education Centre recently received the award for Outstanding Contribution to Research, Education or Training. This is the second time Bio Concepts have won this award. Henry Osiecki was honoured to win the award in 2012 for his research on cancer. The award recognises the role of the Education Centre in providing an innovative delivery platform and gold standard content to practitioners across a range of disciplines. A massive thank you to all our Education Centre members for your ongoing support!
The full list of winners and CMA media release can be viewed below. CMA Industry Awards are a celebration of excellence, and the Bio Concepts Education Centre team is honoured to be included in the award recipients this year.
Left to Right: Richard Henfrey, Murray Smee, Hayley Lewis
CMA Media Release
3 November 2014
CMA National Conference & Industry Awards
Complementary Medicines Australia (CMA) recently welcomed around 270 delegates and guests
to Sydney for the 2014 National Conference and Industry Awards. CMA chief executive, Mr Carl Gibson, said, “we were delighted to present an exceptional program of Australian and International speakers, each providing a fresh insight in exploring the theme ‘The Wellness Revolution’, a theme that encompasses a number of key approaches for how our industry can continue to innovate, grow, and contribute to improved consumer health.”
“Complementary medicines have been shown to play a significant role in allowing individuals to maintain a high level of physical and psychological wellness, and our industry holds enormous potential to assist in combating unsustainable health care costs. Our National Conference provided a strong reminder of how complementary medicines can help deliver preventative healthcare today for a better, healthier tomorrow.”
In summation, Mr Gibson said, “this is an exciting time for the complementary medicines industry. With two in every three Australians using complementary medicines on a regular basis, our industry has a central role to play in empowering consumers to care for their health, and in promoting a shift in policy focus from the traditional disease model to one of health and wellness.”
Once again, the 2014 Industry Awards were strongly contested. Mr Gibson noted the importance of the Awards to Industry as providing an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the outstanding contributions made by both individuals and companies. “CMA Industry Awards are a celebration of excellence, and a chance to recognise the commitment, integrity and contributions of our members to the complementary medicines industry and, ultimately, to consumers and consumer health.”
2014 Industry Award Winners
Alan Bensoussan – National Institute of Complementary Medicine
Vince Russell Retailer of the Year
Mr Vitamins – Abraham James
High Quality Manufacturer of the Year
Most Outstanding Contribution to Research, Education or Training
The Bio Concepts Education Centre
Quality Raw Material Supplier of the Year
Network Nutrition – IMCD
Most Outstanding Industry Contributor of the Year
The Blackmores Advisory Service Team
(Lead by Julie-Anne Atkinson)
Salesperson of the Year
Sue Rennie, Ferngrove Pharmaceuticals
Wholesaler or Distributor of the Year
Complementary Medicines Group
Most Outstanding Marketing Campaign
Swisse Wellness – The Swisse Color Run
Bio Concepts Holiday Closure
Bio Concepts will be closing for the holiday season as of 5.00pm Friday 19th December.
We will be returning back at 8.30am Monday 5th January 2015.
To ensure you receive your orders this year, please place them by Wednesday 17th December.
Natural Cures on Budget Hitlist
Dear Valued Practitioner,
Just in case you haven't seen the article titled "Natural Cures on Budget Hitlist" which was published on 3rd Jan 2015 in the Weekend Australian, click here for a copy for your review.
Given the context and implications raised in this article we felt it was in the best interests of all professional, qualified Healthcare Practitioners to be aware of the NHMRC review that is currently underway.
Bio Concepts has forwarded our response to this article to the Prime Minister, other Ministers of Parliament and to the TGA. Click here for a copy of our letter.
If you feel compelled to voice your opinion, we recommend that you contact the Federal Minister for Health, Sussan Ley and your local member of Parliament.
Regards, The Bio Concepts Team