Muniq to pinpoint functional shakes’ health benefits in first clinical trial
The company’s new chief medical and science officer is also eyeing further microbiome solutions
02 Aug 2021 --- Muniq is set to run its first clinical trial to quantify and bring context to the impact of its gut-friendly functional shakes on various health markers.
Following his appointment as Muniq’s chief medical and science officer, Chris Damman speaks to NutritionInsight about improving Muniq’s gut health products and the impacts of the company’s clinical trial.
“We plan to initiate our clinical trial by the end of this year. We’ll be assessing the comparison between the placebo and the Muniq shake, which will allow us to evaluate the active ingredients,” Dr. Chris Damman, chief medical and science officer, tells NutritionInsight.
Specifically, the trial will examine how the fiber impacts blood sugar levels, diabetes and quality of life.
“We’re also comparing the Muniq shake to standard dietary guidance that you might get in a physician’s office to evaluate the meal replacement aspect of the shake on weight loss.”
Muniq appointed Damman, who previously spent five years in the gut health, microbiome and functional food initiative at the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, after its US$8.2 million series A fundraising round concluded in January.
The appointment is a “big step forward” in the company’s objective of improving public health through nutrition and the gut microbiome.
Future directions under Damman’s vision
Damman will lead the company’s clinical validation efforts, which are intended to quantify and clarify the results of consuming Muniq shakes.
Additionally, he will collaborate with Muniq’s development team to identify future products that may benefit the consumer’s health.
His research interests at the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation focused on the role of diet and microbiome-targeted therapies in the treatment of gastrointestinal, metabolic and neurologic disease. This aligns with Muniq’s “food as medicine” ethos of empowering people to take control of their health through the science of the gut microbiome.
“The clinical validation is critical to the company’s ethos, which is about delivering products that work. Given our foundation built on efficacy and results, that clinical validation has always been a hallmark of our approach to ensure that our products deliver on the promise,” Damman notes.
“While existing literature on the ingredients in our formulation has compelling evidence in the literature, it was important for us to validate our solution clinically.”
Gut microbiome insights
Muniq’s nutritional shakes are made with prebiotic resistant starch, which can help with blood sugar management, weight loss and digestive health.
A customer survey conducted in May of this year found that after two months of drinking the shakes regularly, four out of five consumers reported improved health.
In addition, 25 percent of frequent Muniq drinkers reported results such as decreased A1C (diabetes indicator), lower blood sugar levels and weight loss.
“The gut microbiome is core to how Muniq’s first product has been designed and how future products will be designed,” Damman continues.
“The microbiome helps inform what ingredients might be missing and which ones we ought to add back.”
“One class of ingredients [that target gut health] are fibers (prebiotics) that feed our gut microbes, which in turn produce factors that promote health,” he notes.
“Beyond fibers, other components that we’re interested in are the polyphenols and phytochemicals that are present in fruits and vegetables but missing in a lot of our diets. These can impact the composition of the microbiome and gut barrier function.”
Eyeing gut health
The gut and microbiome affect metabolic health and impact diseases like obesity, diabetes and heart health, Damman comments.
“The gut and microbiome also affect the immune system impacting allergy and auto-immune diseases and the brain, impacting depression, anxiety and even neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s.”
In this space, a study conducted at Stanford School of Medicine found that a diet rich in fermented foods can boost the diversity of gut microorganisms and reduce molecular indicators of inflammation.
Moreover, in a digestive health trial, Dolcas Biotech’s ginger extract reduces dyspepsia symptoms.
By Nicole Kerr
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