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MLM model increases meal replacement compliance, Qivana's new chief science officer says

By Hank Schultz , 27-Feb-2013

Donald Layman has taken on the position of chief scientific officer with Provo, UT-based supplment manufacturer Qivana, cementing a relationship that began when the company developed a line of meal replacements and supplements based on his nutritional discoveries.

Qivana’s multilevel marketing sales mode is ideal for the nutritional plan he developed, Layman told NutraIngredients-USA.  It provides a level of support that the retail channel simply can’t match.

Layman taught for more than 30 years as a professor of nutritional biochemistry at the University of Illinois. His research focus there set him on the path that led to Qivana, where he previously served as a member of the scientific advisory board, he said.

“My research was focused on muscle health, muscle development, muscle metabolism.  We were researching malnutrition in Africa and athletes’ muscle development and recovery after surgery,” Layman said.

“We were studying the process called protein synthesis.  We realized that the process was changing metabolism, it was changing how the body used insulin, how it used carbohydrates and how it used fat.”

Protein blend cut fat

During the research process Layman developed a blend of amino acids, proteins and carbohydrates to stimulate muscle synthesis.  In so doing, he noticed a side benefit in his research.  Test subjects using the blends had improved muscle metabolism, but they lost fat, too.

“Around 2000 I decided that all of those high protein diets out there were missing the point as to why there were beneficial.  It really had to do with muscle, as opposed to having to do with losing fat and calories,” Layman said.

From there we developed the weight loss program and developed a number of clinical trials.

“That’s what I brought to Qivana. It was this holistic nutrition program. It’s a lifetime program that focuses on correcting the metabolism in muscle and when you do that you naturally start to lose fat,” Layman said.

Qivana launched a line of meal replacement shakes, bars and supplements called Metaboliq based on Layman’s blends.  But beyond the products, the company offers the information channel that makes the plan succeed for customers.

Supporting compliance

Compliance is the key, Layman said.

“One of the problems in nutrition is to get a health change you really have to get a behavior change,” he said.

Customers can be overwhelmed with the number of meal replacements and other weight loss products on the shelf.  And, Layman said, these vary in quality, with some being “reasonably good” and others being “awful.” Without help, a customer’s chance of choosing the right product and using it successfully are small, he said.

“In the MLM channel I know every person who is using the product and I can have contact every month with them.  We continuously have input to them. So unlike the retail chain, where you go out and buy the product and misuse it for a week and then throw it away, in our case if something’s not right, we can adjust,” he said.

“Every person that is in our channel gets a monthly mailing from me.  I have now initiated a blog.  We give them continuous update on how products should work.  We have a level of contact that no retail chain could deal with,” Layman said.

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