The new company, called Moonstone Nutrition, is the work of seasoned entrepreneur Salim Rayes and a team of kidney experts.
Rayes said he’s had a more than 30 year career in food and beverage brands. He worked in the bottled water industry as well as working with one of the largest food and beverage brands in Dubai. Rayes has also worked in private equity, which he said gave him an eye for a good opportunity, which is what he believes Moonstone offers.
“I have always been interested in the intersection of food and science,” Rayes told NutraIngredients-USA. "I liked the concept (of the Moonstone products) and I liked the fact that there was whitespace in the category."
Rayes said the original idea came from Dr Arnold Sholder, MD, a urologist practicing in Pittsburgh, PA. Dr Shoulder is listed as a cofounder of the company and board chairman. Other kidney specialists associated with the brand as cofounders and advisory board members include Dr David Goldfarb, MD, who's named on the patent used in developing the company's products, Dr Brian Eisner, MD Dr Marshall Stoller, MD.
Moonstone offers a line of RTD beverages as well as stick packs of powdered drink mix. The patented products provide 30 mEq (milligram equivalents) per serving of citrate salts, which consist of magnesium citrate, sodium citrate and potassium citrate.
Tools to deal with stones
Kidney stones arise from several different avenues, and Moonstone claims that its formula provides the body the tools it needs to deal with them all. High enough levels of alkali citrate helps prevent calcium-based kidney stones by lessening the ability of this mineral to bind with oxalate and form an insoluble crystal which can then grow with further accretions. The alkali citrate provided by the Moonstone products binds calcium in a soluble form so that it can be quickly excreted, the company says.
But there are uric acid stones and cysteine stones, too. According to Moonstone, its citrate formula boosts urine pH and helps both to dissolve and to prevent these sorts of stones.
Rayes said long term trends augur well for the company. The lifetime incidence of kidney stones is calculated at nearly 13% for men and 7% for women. And the risk of kidney stones rises with hypertension, obesity and in particular after bariatric surgery. The prevalence of all three has been rising.
Rayes said the company did its first production run with a soft launch last fall. The product was then reformulated to improve the flavors and was relaunched in early 2020. At the moment it is being sold direct to consumer via the company’s website, though he said other distribution channels are in the works. Moonstone sells its products for $2.50/serving for the RTD forms and $1.67/serving for the stick packs.