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Multivitamin startup offers formulas targeted to different times of day

By Hank Schultz , 25-Apr-2014
Last updated the 07-May-2014 at 08:36 GMT

Different approaches have been taken to differentiate the multivitamin sector over the years.  Formulas that target specific populations, like men, women or kids, or different delivery systems like gummies have all been tried.  Now comes a new idea:  targeting multivitamins to different times of the day.

Vital Formulas, a startup based in Chestnut Ridge, NY,  is launching a set of products called Balanced Trio. The grouping is a patent-pending synergistic multivitamin system that includes vitamins, minerals, fish oil, CoQ 10, antioxidants, and highly concentrated whole food extracts. In what the company is calling a first for the industry, Balanced Trio groups complementary ingredients into three distinct formulas that provide supplements for the body's three unique daily phases, helping to bring energy in the morning, endurance during the day and relaxation in the evening.

Jumbled formulas

The product is the brainchild of Natalia Lukina, who studied biology at CalTech and has done research in cell biology at the Scripps Institute.  Lukina said the all-in-one approach taken by many multivitamin formulators, while convenient for the consumer, may not be the best way to get functionality in the body.

“We have seen a lot of articles recently about how multivitamins don’t work or are not effective. My answer to that is that when you put all those ingredients together they can fight with each other. We know that certain elements can inhibit the absorption of each other,” Lukina told NutraIngredients-USA.

“The most well-known example is calcium and iron. People have intuitively known about this for a long time; that’s why it was recommended not to drink milk and eat meat at the same time. Another example is calcium and zinc.  Up to half of the zinc will not be absorbed if calcium is present,” Lukina said.

“So I thought that if you group these ingredients separately the effectiveness will be much higher,” she said. “And you could group these ingredients according to their effects. Some vitamins and minerals have an energizing effect on the body and others have a relaxing effect. Conventional formulations of multivitamins do not take these facts into account,” she said.

Fat soluble vitamins

Another absorption issue the formulas are meant to address is the issue with fat soluble vitamins. These are known to be poorly absorbed in the absence of fat in the stomach, Lukina said.  Most multivitamin products ignore this issue altogether or may address it sideways by recommend the products be taken with food.  Her formulas address this issue head on with the inclusion of fish oil in the mid day formula that also contains the fat soluble vitamins.

The morning formula contains vitamin C and the B vitamins and also contains pomegranate extract.  The mid day formula has vitamins A, D, E and K along with the fish oil and CoQ10, lutein, astaxanthin and zeaxanthin while the evening formula takes advantage of the calming effect of calcium teamed with magnesium and also includes chamomile, lemon balm and hops. 

Lukina designed the system to be all inclusive, supplying everything a consumer might want out of a basic supplementation regime to support optimum health.  From that standpoint, she doesn’t think that asking a consumer to take three pills a day as opposed to one is going to be much of an additional burden.

“When people feel better after taking our product, they don't view taking it three times a day as a great burden. Also, it's very clear when to take each pill, just like they eat three times a day,” she said.

Lukina has developed a trial run of products and is now seeking crowd funding for a full production run. She has launched a campaign on indiegogo.com which is now set to run for an additional 45 days.  NutraIngredients-USA will have more on the crowdfunding aspect of nutritional startups in an article set for next week.

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