The company, which until fairly recently was known as Myos Corp., markets a line of finished products based on the ingredient which is an extract of special proteins derived from fertilized hens’ eggs. The ingredient, which is said to contain more than 80 proteins and 700 peptides, was based on the work of Carlon Coker, MD, from whom the company purchased the ingredient. The company said Coker was interested in the effects of the proteins in the yolk of hen’s eggs after fertilization, when the yolk undergoes rapid chemical changes. The resulting proteins and peptides are now almost entirely absent from the Western diet, as modern egg production doesn’t involve fertilization.
These altered proteins and peptides work to inhibit the action of myostatin, a signaling molecule in the body that limits muscle development. Maghsoud Dariani, head of science and technology for Myos Rens, said myostatin has an important function, in that it puts muscle development into lockstep with skeletal changes. As the system is stressed, as in the case of weight training, muscles grow and get stronger, but the skeletal system responds, too, but at a slower rate. Bones get stronger under repeated stress, and connective tissue responds similarly. If muscles were allowed to grow unchecked, Dariani said, they could become strong enough to overtax the junctions where they attach to the skeleton, as well as causing other issues.
But a little bit of myostatin inhibition can be a good thing, he said, especially for older consumers. As people age, the myostatin feedback loops gets a little out of whack, and muscles don’t respond to stress signals as effectively as they did when younger. Thus, the promise of the ingredient for combatting sarcopenia is seen as its promise for the future, and is one of the reasons for an infusion of capital from Chinese agricultural sciences firm RENS Technology Inc. The firm was renamed in that transaction about a year ago in which RENS acquired 35% of the company. The ingredient’s sarcopenia potential was a selling point; the population of people over age 60 in China is expected to hit 300 million by 2025.
Dariani said the company has entered into a research partnership with Kansas State University to support the sarcopenia story. A double-blinded, placebo-controlled study will look at how well the ingredient supports the maintenance of muscle tone in dogs that have had leg surgeries that require limb immobilization. The data will supplement the company’s existing evidence on the ingredient’s mode of action, he said.
“In our previous research in a rodent model we showed that the ingredient is active in three separate pathways,” Dariani said. “The data from dogs will be useful because dogs and humans are similar mammals.”
Having data from humans would be ideal, of course, Dariani said, and that is the company’s long term goal. But sarcopenia as a condition target is a particularly difficult and expensive one to study, he said.
“Sarcopenia is a progressive disease, and it really accelerates after age 60,”Dariani said. “Based on the rodent mechanism of action study we believe this ingredient may be very useful for sarcopenia sufferers. We are having discussions with thought leaders in this area as to how we can study this. If you really want to do a sarcopenia study you are talking about a five to ten year study. You can’t just do a study for three months and say it will have this effect,” he said.
The company feels confident enough in the ingredient’s potential benefit to sign on as a sponsor for the International Conference on Frailty and Sarcopenia Research (ICFSR), that started yesterday in Barcelona, Spain. The company will have a table top where it will be promoting its new finished product line called Qurr Well.