“The reception has been very encouraging,” Dr. Yepuri told NutraIngredients-USA.
The active ingredient in the supplement is an olive oil-derived metabolite called oleoylethanolamide, or OEA for short. NutriForward filed an NDI for the ingredient in 2015 and received no objections from the FDA.
On its website, the company claims that the supplement ‘supports healthy weight’ by supporting ‘low calorie consumption’ and ‘efficient metabolism of body-fat.’ Additionally, it claims that the body would need 12 liters of olive oil to produce as much OEA in one bottle of RiduZone.
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Further down the front page are graphs from an abstract RiduZone presented as a poster at the Obesity Medicine Association’s conference in 2016—data from the first human clinical trial conducted using the supplement, which revealed that the supplement may have an effect of the consumer’s BMI.
The company also included three studies on OEA in general, published in peer-reviewed journals in its FAQ section.
“We’ve taken a very careful approach in speaking to our reliance on our science, and we’ve been really careful in how we’ve brought ourselves out there and gotten our message out,” Dr. Yepuri said.
“We don’t purport nor do we market ourselves as a weight loss agent. There are over 250 peer-reviewed articles in top medical and scientific journals looking at the safety and efficacy of this molecule, OEA. We rely a lot on that science, and we hold it up very proudly,” he added.
A search of the terms ‘oleoylethanolamide’ and ‘obesity’ on PubMed returned 476 results, 209 studies of which received NIH grants.
Relying on word-of-mouth
As part of the company’s cautious marketing strategy, NutriForward has relied heavily on word-of-mouth to market RiduZone. The company is sold mainly online directly to consumers.
Dr. Yepuri said that one of the biggest challenges in marketing the product is to get the safety and efficacy message out “with a lot of noise and a lot of other products in the space [and] separate yourself from the others in a trustworthy way.”
“We’re very careful to make sure that folks understand that we don’t intend for this to be used by itself in terms of weight management, control cravings, appetite control. We really speak more to this as a part of a healthy diet and exercise regimen, and this should be taken as part of that. We’ve been very consistent and very emphatic about its role as a piece of a larger plan.”