The emerging field of stem cell nutrition has the “potential to eclipse the massive antioxidant supplement business” according to the boss of the Californian firm responsible for creating a completely new category in nutritional supplements.
Ray Carter Jr, CEO of Stemtech International, was speaking to NutraIngredients-USA after signing a multi-million dollar deal with Australian biotech firm Marinova to include its proprietary Fucoidan ingredients in Stemtech’s new ‘SE2’ supplement.
The next generation of Stemtech’s best-selling StemEnhance supplement, SE2 also includes a concentrate of blue-green algae Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA), the herb Polygonum multiflorum and the fungus Cordyceps sinensis.
Adult stem cells, tissue maintenance and repair
SE2 helps increase the number of adult stem cells or ‘master cells’ that are released into the bloodstream before migrating into tissues where they reproduce and become new healthy cells, effectively helping the body renew and repair itself, claimed Carter.
Stemtech products have already generated more than $200m in sales since 2005, he added: “Stem cell nutrition addresses a brand new way to support health… [and] has the potential to eclipse the massive antioxidant supplement business.
“When consumers first heard the words ‘stem cell’, they were inundated with media reports about the controversy and promise of embryonic stem cell (ESC) research.
“Fast forward to today, and they are beginning to learn that adult stem cells actually show much more clinical promise without the ethical and moral controversy surrounding ESCs.”
The body’s natural renewal system
Adult stem cells “have been shown to be the body’s natural renewal system”, he claimed.
“Whenever a tissue or organ is in need of assistance, that area of the body will signal adult stem cells via chemical messengers, to release from their primary resting place (the bone marrow), circulate through the bloodstream, and migrate to the tissue or organ in need to help renew it.
“This natural process of regeneration through adult stem cells can be supported in many ways: through rest, exercise, and now most recently stem cell nutrition. Conversely, poor diet, smoking and stress dampen your stem cells’ ability to regenerate tissues and organs.
“So now stem cells can be viewed from a wellness model instead of just a future promise of therapies to cure disease.”
Human clinical data
Asked about human clinical data to back up his firm’s claims, Carter said a study published in 2007 in Cardiovascular Revascularization Medicine (click here ) demonstrated that supplementation with StemEnhance supported an increase in the number of naturally released adult stem cells circulating in the blood stream.
Another study published in Cell Cycle in 2010 showed that taking StemEnhance increased muscle recovery, he said. Click here .
A new study on the advanced formula, SE2 conducted at NIS Labs in Oregon, is being submitted for publication shortly, but showed it delivered a significant increase in the number of circulating stem cells, he said.
“We are also about to submit a study for publication that showed the product helped to renew hair color.”
There is a direct link between health and the number of circulating stem cells
Chief science officer Christian Drapeau added: "There is a growing body of evidence... that there is a direct link between health and the number of circulating stem cells, as the development of many degenerative diseases has been linked to a reduced number of naturally circulating stem cells when compared to a healthy population.
"Fewer stem cells in the bloodstream means that fewer stem cells can contribute to the process of day-to-day tissue repair, leading to the slow development of organ dysfunction. Therefore increasing the number of circulating stem cells supports the day-to-day process of tissue repair and helps the body maintain health."
The stem cell nutrition market
But are consumers interested in stem cell nutrition, and how do you market it?
According to Carter, “consumer acceptance has been exceptional for the Stemtech brands”, which he said has generated more than $200m in sales to date.
And the target customers? “Baby boomers for anti-aging benefits and professional athletes/sport enthusiasts for focus, performance and recovery benefits”, said Carter.
“These types of products are being marketed via many channels, including direct sales/network marketing, online retailers and physical retail health stores. Stemtech markets its patented and clinically-studied products exclusively via network marketing, utilizing over 100,000 independent distributors in 21 countries.”
Health claims and stem cell nutrition
Stemtech is “far and away the leader in research on this new category of supplements”, claimed Carter, who said that many competitors in this space “have no clinical data to back up their claims”.
The most important health claim for Stemtech is ‘supporting the natural release of adult stem cells’, he said.
The ingredients in SE2 have been “proven to increase the number of circulating stem cells, while also showing enhanced tissue renewal”, he claimed.
“Another health claim is ‘supporting the natural circulation of adult stem cells’. Stemtech’s StemFlo product has been clinically-shown to improve overall micro-circulation to allow stem cells to more effectively reach target tissue.
“A third claim is ‘supporting the natural migration of adult stem cells into tissue’. Stemtech’s ST-5 with MigraStem has been clinically-shown to assist stem cells out of the bloodstream and into tissue.”
He added: “Stemtech is also in the process on conducting clinically studies on athletes at a top exercise physiology university in the US, to further show the efficacy of its stem cell nutrition product StemSport.”
Click here to read part two of the article, which looks at Fucoidan’s role in stem cell nutrition and its other health benefits.