The Science

Chica has been scientifically proven to treat a range of inflammatory and gut-related conditions that improves pet health, through safe, natural, plant-based foods. Backed by more than eleven years of research, global patents and successful clinical trials on both human and animal subjects, Chica delivers a safe, easy-to-use, effective and affordable treatment for animals.


The benefits of Chica to your pet’s health and wellbeing have been extensively researched. Both the underlying science and the real outcomes have been tested through scientific and animal trials.

These trials have demonstrated Chica’s effectiveness in:

  • Reducing systemic inflammation
  • Improving intestinal health
  • Improving control of blood sugar levels
  • Feeding and nurturing the microbiome (broad spectrum pre-biotic)
  • Lowering the glycaemic index of foods when consumed as part of a meal (makes your pet feel full for longer which reduces overeating)
  • Reducing recovery time after surgery
  • Reducing the incidence and severity of chronic constipation
  • Increased weight loss when used as a part of a diet.
Our research has been conducted over the past eleven years, with our scientists working in collaboration with five of Australia’s most prestigious universities (Macquarie University, Sydney University, the University of New South Wales, Queensland University of Technology, and Monash University), conducting multiple clinical trials in hospitals in Australia and overseas (including at Royal Melbourne Hospital (AUS), Royal North Shore Hospital (AUS), and the Advocate Group Hospitals, (USA)). And our research work has been published in over a dozen peer reviewed medical journals and resulted in three PhDs being awarded.

Better yet, our clinical research and testing has not been conducted on animals, but rather on you and I. That’s right, the research supporting the health benefits of Chica has largely been conducted on humans.

Chica Improves the Health of the Gastrointestinal Tract

Chica assists to normalise the Gastrointestinal tract. The best way to think about Chica and its health-giving properties is that it helps get an animal’s Gastrointestinal tract (which is central to overall health) back to normal.  

This means, that if an animal were already 100% healthy and 100% active, and their diet was perfect, then Chica would make little difference to them or their health. However, for the vast majority of animals (and humans), this isn’t the case, and so adding Chica to your pet’s diet moves their gut towards a more balanced equilibrium.

In recent years a huge amount of scientific work has shown that a healthy Gastrointestinal tract not only assists overall health and nutrition but also improves a diverse range of health conditions. It has become universally accepted that there is a direct link between the gut and the brain, and that many health issues are directly impacted by the quality of the Gastrointestinal tract.
Most pet foods are highly processed and made with “fillers” to save on price. Even so called premium pet foods have been shown to lack nutrients essential for good intestinal health.

Chica is derived from natural food ingredients. Chica contains a mixture of soluble and insoluble fibre and resistant starch. More importantly though, these fibres are not heavily processed, which means the associated nutrients that are naturally occurring in plants are still present in Chica. Chica is a complex food, not just an artificial fibre boost like many of today’s supplements.

How does it work?

The specific ways that a food or medicine interacts with the body’s biochemistry are referred to by medical scientists as “Modes of Action”.  Most pharmaceutical drugs have a single or narrow Mode of Action (pain killers block the pain receptors in the body for example), whereas Chica works on hundreds of pathways simultaneously generating a combination of effects that produce the overall health outcomes.

The three main Modes of Action in Chica are:
  • Physical/chemical interactions with the gut
  • Biochemical Interactions & Micronutrient Nutrition
  • Prebiotic effects on intestinal flora
Peristalsis is the process the body uses to push food from the mouth to the stomach through the oesophagus, then to push food and waste material from the stomach to the ‘drain’ (anus). Having a healthy bowel and effective peristalsis is critical to good health and is known to minimise the risk of many health problems including bowel cancer.

The combination of natural fibres found in Chica allows your pet to absorb nutrients more slowly and over the whole of the intestines rather than having a large dose quickly in the first section of the Gastrointestinal tract then none for the remainder. There are essential hormones that are only produced in the back portion of the gut “The Hindgut Mechanism” and these are only released into the body if the ‘Hindgut’ is actively stimulated. Highly processed pet foods can feed only the first quarter of the intestines. This can result in only a quarter of the gut producing signals of satiety, and three quarters signalling hunger. Not surprisingly these mixed signals can result in obesity and disease.
Contrary to common understanding, dogs are not designed to eat easy to digest foods (this is why their gut is so long). By adding Chica to a diet regimen, allows the micronutrients to be absorbed along the entire length of the intestines. This makes your pets digestive tract work better and when digestion works better, then it is more able to cope with specific problems.

Intestinal health is closely related to the health of the Villi which are tiny filaments in the intestines through which nutrients are absorbed from food. In a healthy animal these tiny filaments stand up and protrude into the small intestine and come into contact with the food as it passes through the Gastrointestinal tract. Nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstreams through these Villi (which greatly increase the surface area of the small intestine to maximise its ability to absorb nutrients). The Villi can be damaged by many things, including malnutrition and certain chemicals. Many Gastrointestinal tract issues are also caused by inflammation of the Villi. Chica helps maintain the health of the Villi by reducing inflammation.
An animal’s body can be considered as a massive complex school chemistry set. Literally billions of chemical reactions continuously occur from the time an animal is borne until just after they die. Science has already identified many thousands of types of reactions, with many more still to be discovered.

The nutrients that are required to synthesise these chemical reactions can be divided into two groups:
  • Macronutrients (like protein, fat, carbohydrate, dietary fibre) are mainly used as building blocks and energy and are needed in large quantities every day; and
  • Micronutrients (everything else) that are essential to make all of the chemical reactions in our bodies work but are needed in relatively small amounts compared to the macronutrients.
All mammals need both macro and micronutrients. Vitamins and minerals are commonly known examples of micronutrients.
While many micronutrients are common in nature (iron for example), it is important to understand that when they are used in the body, they often must have very specific forms. They  also require other molecules to be present to function. It is not enough for your dog to lick a nail to get iron into their system. The iron must already have been modified by a plant or animal into its biochemically active form for them to then change it again into the specific form they can use. This is why iron from meat is considered better than iron from plant sources, because it is more “bio-available” (meaning easier for many animals to absorb and use).

Many supplements sold for both human and animal consumption contain the micronutrients we need but in forms that are not easy to absorb. In addition, animals and humans are generally not designed to absorb large doses of single nutrients on their own. Instead, the body is designed to absorb all of the nutrients in a complex food at once. If the body cannot absorb all the nutrients, it may start using its own micronutrients to try and absorb the vitamins or minerals more efficiently. This means that taking large doses of concentrated vitamins or minerals can actually deplete the body’s micronutrients not increase them.

Chica ingredients contain a balanced and wide mix Micronutrients and Macronutrients in a form that our pets can easily absorb.
Chica is a Broad-Spectrum Prebiotic that feeds your microbiome. The “microbiome” is the common term for the trillions of bacteria that live inside the Gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus. Many different (>1200) species of microorganisms exist, and different species live in different parts of the Gastrointestinal tract. A prebiotic is a food that feeds the bacteria in the gut rather than your dog directly.

The bacteria in the gut reproduce in a short period of time (minutes to hours) so they need to be constantly fed and nourished to maintain the health of the microbiome. The short life cycle of the bacteria coupled with the importance of everything they do for our pets is why we can see dramatic changes to health, wellbeing, and mental state in such a short period of time after a healthy change in diet, or a deterioration if eating an unhealthy diet.
Some of the essential nutrients required to maintain good health, to recover from injury and resist infection are not found in plants or animals. They are only produced by the bacteria in the gut, so it is essential the bacteria are themselves healthy and well nourished.

University studies have shown that the ingredients in Chica are a ‘broad spectrum’ prebiotic, meaning they feed many different types of bacteria. The research has also shown that Chica specifically feeds the healthy bacteria and reduces the number of unhealthy (pro-inflammatory) bacteria in the gut, which improves overall health.

Research Studies

Our research team have partnered with clinicians and scientists at Royal Melbourne Hospital, Royal North Shore Hospital, The University of Melbourne, Monash University, the Queensland University of Technology, Sydney University, Macquarie University, the Advocate Group Hospitals in Illinois USA as well as numerous independent practitioners, to fully establish the benefits of the Chica product range. 

Human Hospital Trials

Some of the Hospital studies are described below. NutriKane+ is the equivalent Chica product developed for human consumption.


A 100-patient, open label longitudinal study noted an 88% improvement in bowel function (both constipation and faecal incontinence). Over 80% of participants were using a fibre supplement to treat their constipation and 50% were using stimulant laxatives without effect before being successfully treated with NutriKane+. At three months post discharge 88% of participants reported that bowel function was still normal indicating treatment translated to an uncontrolled environment.


A 66-patient randomised blinded head-to-head trial of trauma patients using NutriKane+ vs normal standard of care resulted in shorter length of stay, time to return of bowel function and lower need of additional treatment.


A 50-patient randomised controlled trial of Spina Bifida patients. The study found that participants in the intervention group had significant benefits to intestinal function (including reduction in constipation and faecal incontinence), cognitive function, Quality of Life (formal assessment), bladder function and overall ability to cope. At three months post discharge, 55% of participants indicated that these indicators were still improved suggesting results could translate into real world, uncontrolled environments.


A 31-patient open label randomised head-to-head study comparing NutriKane+ to pharmaceutical interventions or no treatment. Study resulted in comparable results to pharmaceutical interventions at 6% of cost to patient/hospital. Both interventions were significantly improved over control.

5 hospitals

To-date, 5 hospitals in Australia conducted head-to-head trials of varying protocols comparing to their own normal standard of care and found NutriKane+ resulted in improvement of outcomes in all cases.

Animal Trials

The following animal trials have been conducted by research teams around the world. These research trials have no association with Chica, however their research supported the health benefits of Chica’s key ingredient – Sugarcane fibre – in animals.
Controlled test measuring fermentable carbohydrates in the faeces of dogs with a normal dry pet food versus dogs taking additional substrates including sugarcane fibre. Findings concluded that gas production (and a healthier gut) was statistically much lower in dogs taking food with added substrates including sugarcane fibre.
Controlled test measuring the excretion of hairballs in cats with a normal pet diet versus a diet supplemented with sugarcane fibre.  Study found that sugarcane fibre helps prevent the hairball excretion in the faeces of cats. Coughing up hairballs is an indication of poor intestinal health (often caused by inflammatory diets).
Controlled and randomised test to measure the benefit of one of three dietary fibre supplements (beet pulp, wheat bran, and sugarcane fibre) and a control diet in overweight cats. Diets including sugarcane fibre reduced postprandial blood glucose levels and total calorie consumption.

Research Papers

The below are just some of the papers that have appeared in peer reviewed medical and science journals, demonstrating the medical health benefits of sugarcane fibre and other ingredients in improving the health. They include papers submitted by our own team of researchers or papers that support the medicinal benefits of the specific ingredients used in Chica. Articles in bold have been published or co-published by Chica’s chief research scientist, Dr Malcolm Ball.

Specific to humans

“Efficacy of Dietary Sugarcane Product on Bowel Function and Blood Sugar Level in Adult Diabetic Patients: A Randomised Controlled Trial”, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation International. 2018 Vol 5, Issue 5.

“Evaluation of the structured bowel management program in inpatient rehabilitation: a prospective study”, Disability and Rehabilitation. 2015 Early Online 1-8.

“Rehabilitation Outcomes of Persons with Spina Bifida: A Randomized Controlled Trial”, Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine. 2015 47.

“Comparing the chemical composition of dietary fibres prepared from sugarcane, psyllium husk and wheat dextrin”, Food Chemistry. 2019 298.

In Vitro

“Fiber Supplements Derived From Sugarcane Stem, Wheat Dextrin and Phyllium Husk Have Different In Vitro Effects on the Human Gut Microbiota”, Frontiers in Microbiology. 2018 Vol 9.

“Polyphenol extracts from dried sugarcane inhibit inflammatory mediators in an in vitro colon cancer model”, Journal of Proteomics. 2018 177.

Specific to Animals

“Effects of combined use of keratinolytic enzymes and sugarcane fibre on the hairball excretion in cats”, Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition. 2019

“Sugarcane fibre may prevent hairball formation in cats”, Journal of Nutritional Science. 2014 Vol 3.

“Fermentation characteristics of several carbohydrate sources for dog diets using in vitro gas production technique”, Italian Journal of Animal Science. 2013 Vol 12 No 1.

“Fiber fermentability effects on energy and macronutrient digestibility, faecal traits, postprandial metabolite responses, and colon histology of overweight cats”, Journal of Animal Science. 2012 90.

“Organic matter disappearance and production of short - and branched - chain fatty acids from selected fibre sources used in pet foods by a canine in vitro fermentation model”, Journal of Animal Science. 2019
“The effect of age and carbohydrate and protein sources on digestibility, faecal microbiota, fermentation products, faecal IgA, and immunological blood parametres in dogs”, American Society of Animal Science. 2017 95.

“Changes in dietary fiber intake in mice reveal associations between colonic mucin O-glycosylation and specific gut bacteria”, Gut Microbes. 2020 Vol 12, No 1.

“Comparing the effects of nano-sized sugarcane fibre with cellulose and psyllium on hepatic cellular signalling in mice”, International Journal of Nanomedicine. 2012 7.

“Symbiotic Supplementation Containing Whole Plant Sugar Cane Fibre and Probiotic Spores Potentiates Protective Synergistic Effects in Mouse Model of IBD”, Nutrients. 2019, 11, 818.
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