Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

City company's product helps flush diarrhea

Protein powder made from eggs

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John Hare (left), with Vita Health Fresh Market president Mathew Holtmann, holds a container of Gastro Aid Plus.

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

John Hare (left), with Vita Health Fresh Market president Mathew Holtmann, holds a container of Gastro Aid Plus. Photo Store

John Hare might be the only entrepreneur in the world whose business card depicts a man sitting on a toilet.

The knees-down side shot, which features the word "help" written out on a roll of toilet paper, is a light-hearted approach to a very common problem and one he's hoping to address with his company's newest product.

Gastro Aid Plus is an egg-based protein powder designed to boost the immune system. In particular, it has proven effective in combating diarrhea.

"Seventy per cent of people will get some kind of digestive upset each year, but who wants to talk about that? We try to make it a little less serious because it is very common," Hare said.

Every chicken egg contains about 150 mg of natural immunity that can be passed down from the mother hen to the chick in the same way a human mother passes on immunity to her baby in the womb through the umbilical cord.

Hare's company, Winnipeg-based Gastro Natural Solutions Inc., takes the passive immunity in unfertilized eggs and processes it.

"If you're going to be stuck on a desert island, bring a chicken with you," Hare said.

The company is taking its success with animal applications -- it developed a vaccine several years ago to prevent diarrhea caused by E. coli in baby pigs -- and applying it to humans.

"Nobody wants to know what saves a pig, even though the pig's digestive system is almost the same," Hare said.

Hare gets his eggs from a Hutterite colony near Plum Coulee and has the processing done at the Inovatech Egg Products plant in Fort Garry.

About 80 per cent of the human immune system is in the gastrointestinal tract, where there's a non-stop battle being waged between good and bad bacteria.

"It's like a bouncer at a high-end night club. He's assessing who's coming in, and if there are any rowdy guys he gets rid of them. But if a whole bunch of rowdies show up at once, he can't take care of them and you've got a problem," he said. "We call in more bouncers."

Mathew Holtmann, president of Vita Health Fresh Market, a local organic and natural foods chain, said he was sufficiently impressed by Hare's data to put it on the shelves of his six stores last week. The product is available in 240-gram containers and four 14-gram "stick packs" for travelling.

"It's a clean product; it's just eggs. The results he's getting with it are fantastic," he said.

The fact both companies are based in Winnipeg didn't hurt either.

"Any time we can help a local entrepreneur get their product off the ground, we like to do that," he said.

Hare also has a U.S. patent to help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by eliminating the methane that is emitted into the atmosphere when 260 million dairy cows around the world belch.

"One cow has the same carbon footprint as a car. If you could treat them with our product, you could take (the equivalent) of 260 million cars off the road," he said.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 29, 2013 B11

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