For a number of years NAI sold CarnoSyn through a distribution partner. Now that the company has brought the distribution in house, it was time to have a discussion with brand partners about how much of the ingredient was being included in their products, said Kenneth Wolf, president and COO of NAI, which in addition to manufacturing CarnoSyn also has a large contract manufacturing operation in Southern California.
Dosage levels cover the spectrum
Wolf said the research behind CarnoSyn and its ability to boost carnosine levels in the body is compelling, but that research applies to certain dosage levels. And it also implies the need for a certain ‘loading’ protocol—i.e. a certain number of days of consistent usage—in order to achieve those benefits. When surveying the marketplace, Wolf said that dosages and instructions for use were all over the map, and the time had come to do something about it. So the company launched what it calls its ‘Loading & Dosing Education Initiative.’
“We took over as the direct seller of the ingredient in April 2015. We had a distribution partner and it was a good relationship, but we sort of outgrew each other. We were fat and happy, just collecting our royalties, and then we realized that there were a lot of things we didn’t know about how CarnoSyn was being presented in the marketplace,” Wolf told NutraIngredients-USA.
“We were surprised to find out that a lot of consumers did not know what the correct dosage is supposed to be,” he said.
Branded ingredient suppliers are always walking a tightrope with customers. In the case of CarnoSyn, NAI has a fairly tight patent-protected lock on the supply of beta-alanine, one that the company defends vigorously (“We have been known as a litigious company,” Wolf admitted). But all of that IP comes at a cost, and sometimes the temptation can be to take on a customer and then look the other way as to how the customer uses the ingredient after they have paid for it. So the tightrope walk becomes, do I demand the proven efficacious dosage be put into the finished product, or do I acquire the customer even if I might suspect they will use a low dosage in their bottles?
Wolf said the studied protocol for CarnoSyn is specific.
“You have to take a certain amount—3.2 grams a day—and for a certain time, 28 days. Our studies have shown that when you build up that amount of CarnoSyn within your system, about 90 grams, is when you start to see benefits,” Wolf said.
“I have told some of our manufacturing partners that if you give someone 1 gram a day for however long the consumer might want to take it, I don’t have a study that proves that does anything for you,” Wolf said.
Wolf said some sports nutrition manufacturers have been including the ingredient at various dosages in ‘stacks,’ or the suite of products recommended during training phases. Using all of the products in concert might get a consumer to the 3.2 gram dosage level, but Wolf said the flaw in the approach is that strength trainers typically don’t consume the stacks on their off days.
Rather than jumping straight to the draconian approach of requiring the 3.2 gram dosage in a contract, Wolf said NAI’s first choice is education.
“We’ve had this relationship with these brands for six or seven years now and we are trying to bring them back into focus with what they should be doing. We will be working with the biggest brands to try to use them to drive compliance across the board. I think you will see a lot more products using the 3.2 gram dosage,” he said.