MYOS has been built around the action of Fortetropin, formerly known as MYO-T12, an ingredient isolated from fertilized hen eggs. The ingredient has been shown to inhibit the production of myostatin, a naturally occurring protein that is part of a metabolic regulatory pathway in the body that puts a brake on muscle growth and has other effects, such as enhancing insulin sensitivity. In some mammals, such as the Belgian Blue breed of cattle or certain whippet dogs, a genetic anomaly leaves these animals with very low levels of myostatin and as a result they produce an almost grotesque amount of musculature.
The goal of Fortetropin is not to mimic that effect, but rather to gently suppress myostatin production to allow greater muscle growth with moderate exercise. The company says it has evidence from a study done with 10 male subjects showing that a 10 mg dose of Fortetropin resulted in a temporary 46% drop in myostatin from baseline. The company has completed another study on male subjects who did moderate amounts of resistance training, showing muscle gains. That study awaits publication. And the company is in the midst of a study on healthy adult females.
So the company was confident the ingredient worked, said chief medical officer Robert Ashton, MD. It just wasn’t sure precisely how it worked.
“We’ve shown previously that the product worked in the myostatin pathway primarily through selective binding. It decreased serum myostatin levels in human subjects,” Ashton told NutraIngredients-USA.
But studying the effects of the ingredient on human muscle tissue is complicated by costs and comfort issues relating to muscle biopsies, so the latest research was done in a rat model, Ashton said. It showed the ingredient has wider ranging effects than previously thought, he said.
“When we looked at the results for Fortetropin it appears to work in three pathways. One is the myostatin pathway that we had already identified. Another is the mTOR signaling pathway that regulates muscle growth and protein synthesis. The third was the Ubiquitin pathway that regulates protein degradation.
“So we showed effects on both the anabolic and catabolic sides of the equation,” Ashton said.
The abstract on the study, titled "The Effects of Fertilized Egg Yolk Isolates on Anabolic and Catabolic Signaling in Skeletal Muscle," was accepted for poster presentation at the Experimental Biology Conference focused on cross-disciplined research, being held March 28-April 1, 2015 in Boston. The company also announced recently that it will present its research at the Keystone Symposia Conference on the Human Proteome to be held April 24-29, 2015 in Stockholm, Sweden.
Additional market opportunities
Fortetropin has been on the market in a tub-like format called Myo-X and formulated into a nutrition bar and a meal replacement shake. The ingredient is also featured in a muscle-health supplement marketed by healthy aging specialists Cengenix. It is this market that is particularly bolstered by the new mode of action data, Ashton said.
“There is no question that when you start working with the Ubiquitin pathway you you clearly are going to be dealing with aging individuals. We don’t turn that pathway off, but Fortetropin can work to reset it at a level that it was at when you were younger,” Ashton said.