Florida-based ATM Metabolics is in advanced negotiations with some of the biggest food and beverage brands in the US and Europe about incorporating Emulin - the insulin-mimicking active ingredient in GNC’s top-selling glucose control supplement GC7X - into packaged foods and drinks.
Developed by ATM Metabolics co-founders Dr Daryl Thompson and Dr Joseph Ahrens, Emulin is a patented blend of plant-sourced chlorogenic acid, myricetin and quercetin they claim could turn the tables in the fight against metabolic syndrome by helping to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and promoting weight loss.
Incredible if Emulin could do for diabetes what folate did for birth defects
In addition to the “top three soda makers on the planet”, Ahrens and Thompson are now talking to sugar manufacturers about dissolving Emulin in a sucrose solution that can be re-crystalized and sold as ‘diabetic’ sugar under the ‘Sugir’ brand.
They are also talking to manufacturers in the medical food space about incorporating Emulin in new products, Thompson told NutraIngredients-USA.
“It would be incredible if Emulin can do for obesity and diabetes what folate did for birth defects. We know something like 75% of the US population is on its way to becoming prediabetic."
Added Ahrens: "If it gets incorporated into main line foods and beverages, it really can reverse the diabetes and obesity epidemics."
Office has been ‘on fire’ since 60 Minutes ‘toxic sugar’ episode aired
Thompson added: “Ever since the 60 Minutes show on ‘toxic sugar’ aired, our office has been on fire. Sugar is not the problem, but rather how much sugar we consume. And we have a way to tackle the problem.
“However, the challenge for food and beverage companies interested in Emulin is communication. They don’t want to give the impression that their products are causing diabetes.”
The active components in Emulin do not react directly with carbohydrates in foods, claim its inventors.
“Rather, the effect on carbohydrate metabolism is due to a direct chemical reaction of the components with the enzymes involved in carbohydrate metabolism.
“When added to a carbohydrate-containing foodstuff in an effective amount, the composition enables a diabetic (or non-diabetic) person to consume the foodstuff without experiencing the same glycemic response as that of the foodstuff without the composition added thereto.”
What is Emulin?
Ahrens (chief science officer) said the firm is using green coffee bean extract as the chlorogenic acid source, bayberry bark extract as the source of myricetin, and sophora japonica flower as the source of quercetin.
“They are all natural, not synthesized, and standardized to a specific concentration of the active molecules..."
But he added: “We do not mind these compounds (myricetin, chlorogenic acid, quercetin) coming from any natural source.”
Ahrens and Thompson secured a composition patent (US patent #7,943,164 ‘A composition and method for treating diabetes and metabolic disorders, and for achieving weight loss in a subject comprising a combination of naturally occurring compounds’) last May.
A second patent was granted in February, 2012 and will be published May 16, said the firm, which says Emulin remains un-oxidized and is stable at high temperatures.
As for regulatory approvals, chlorogenic acid and quercetin are both GRAS, said Ahrens, adding: “We are in the process of self-affirming myricetin.”
How it works
Emulin works by interrupting the metabolic pathways of carbohydrate metabolism, claimed Thompson.
It inhibits glucose absorption in the gut, enhances glucose absorption by muscle tissue, inhibits carbohydrate transport, inhibits glucose/fat storage and inhibits the manufacture of glucose by the liver (gluconeogenesis), he said.
It also increases the sensitivity of insulin receptors in the signaling pathways, making insulin more efficient, he claimed.
Emulin emulates insulin at several key enzymatic control points
Thompson, who is in negotiations to introduce the GC7X supplement to Walmart and Walgreens following its success at GNC (where it was launched last year), is best known for developing one of GNC’s highest-selling weight management supplements, the Grapefruit Solution.
Research on subjects with metabolic syndrome at the Scripps Clinic in San Diego, CA, suggested something in grapefruit was aiding weight loss and decreasing insulin resistance, although the mechanism was unknown, said Thompson.
The desire to get to the bottom of it drove Thompson and Ahrens to rent time on supercomputers from UCLA to dissect the components of more than 700 fruits in order to identify the phytochemicals that could potentially be causing these metabolic effects, he said.
In 2006, they identified three phytochemicals that combined in certain ratios seemed to be promising. Because this combination emulated insulin at several key enzymatic control points and increased insulin sensitivity, it was trademarked under the name ‘Emulin’.
Animal and human studies
The pair then commissioned Eurofins to conduct a study in 2007 on diabetic rats treated with Emulin, who showed sharp reductions in fasting, two hour postprandial, and area under the curve (AUC) blood glucose, claimed Thompson.
This was then followed by a human study at The Diabetic and Glandular Disease Clinic in San Antonio, Texas, on 40 adults with type 2 diabetes and a BMI of more than 30. Ten subjects were on Emulin only, ten on placebo, ten on diabetes medication Metformin and ten on Emulin and Metformin.
Those taking Emulin demonstrated a drop in fasting, two hour postprandial, actual peak glucose and AUC blood glucose by up to 15% at one week, outperforming the results of those subjects on Metformin alone. When taken with Emulin, Metformin’s efficacy increased significantly.
Ahrens added: “The human study is being published in an upcoming edition of the Journal of Medicinal Food and is currently in final editorial review.”
Metabolic syndrome is characterized by a group of metabolic risk factors including central obesity, atherogenic dyslipidemia (eg. high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol etc), elevated blood pressure, insulin resistance or glucose intolerance, and being in a pro-inflammatory state (eg. high C-reactive protein levels in the blood).
Those with some or all of the above factors are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes or heart conditions.