It’s become very clear that vaccinations are not a threat to the immune support category. In fact, immune health and vaccines go hand in hand, according to Martin Floreani.
“One does not really work without the other, vaccines are only as good as your immune system. The vaccine is the blueprint, but ultimately your immune system is the one doing all the work,” explained Floreani, CEO of Vacci Prep. “The challenge that the immune system is put up to when vaccinating is higher. So vaccines basically are teaching the immune system to target a new enemy that is difficult for the immune system to identify otherwise. So in that process, there's a lot of things going on that are triggered in the immune system.”
Vacci Prep is a formulation that is taken before and after the vaccination process. The dietary supplement brings together micronutrients and ingredients that have been associated with immune response when vaccinating in clinical studies.
Floreani’s father, an internist, as well as a hematologist oncologist, developed the formula many years ago.
“He had been changing the formulation over the course of his lifetime, but it was always based on the concept that a healthier immune system will respond better to vaccines or really to any kind of any kind of immune challenge if it's healthy versus weak.”
While Vacci Prep does contain many established vitamins, it also has a few unexpected ingredients that Floreani said is a key differentiator from other immune support products.
“Vitamin A is something that has been widely studied in association with vaccines around the world. And so it's more important to ensure that there's no deficiency of vitamin A when vaccinating. The other one is selenium, there are independent studies showing the correlation between selenium and vaccine effectiveness. Even with the COVID vaccine, there are some more recent studies that have looked at selenium deficiencies in association with vaccines. So we include a blend of BCAAs that also helps with the protein building and protein synthesis,” explained Floreani. “The other is quercetin, which is a very difficult micronutrient to blend in because of its flavor, but quercetin has also been associated with immune response. And then one thing that's typical of all of our products is the inclusion of an adaptogenic herb, like astragalus, which is in this formulation. It's an ingredient that we included because it helps reduce inflammation and it helps reduce stress, salt stress in particular. And then also a very unique aspect to this formulation is inclusion of probiotics. You might see probiotics combined with one or two other ingredients, but never a blend that has the amount of ingredients that are included in box.”
The product comes in a powder format because fitting all the vitamins, minerals, botanicals, amino acids, metabolites and probiotics into one capsule would be nearly impossible.
“If it were available in capsules, they would be huge. I mean, it would be like horse pills,” Floreani laughed. “You wouldn't really enjoy taking it so it's available in a powder that mixes into into a flavorful drink and then dosed in a way that also is aligned with clinical evidence that shows that for the week leading up to your vaccinations or one or up to two weeks after vaccinating, that's when your immune system needs to be at an optimal level, at its best. And so we created a dosing schedule that was 14 days so that you could start before or even up to the day of vaccination and then continue to take it to help support your immune system throughout that process.”
No warning letters
Since the coronavirus pandemic began sweeping across the country last year, the FDA has been keeping a close eye on product claims and social media accounts.
The agency has sent out dozens of warning letters to natural products companies for selling products with claims to prevent, treat, mitigate, diagnose or cure the coronavirus.
Floreani told us that he did seek legal counsel in order to avoid any misunderstandings of what Vacci Prep can and cannot do.
“There's a couple things that we call out on the packaging, specifically one is that this is not to treat the side effects or the symptoms of vaccines—that's not the intent of this product nor is it a replacement for vaccines in any way, shape or form. This is a product that is simply intended to help support your immune system when you're vaccinating and so that's a little different than just supporting your immune system on a daily basis,” Floreani said. “We're doing it with a blend of ingredients that is specifically intended to help you when you're vaccinating with ingredients that have shown some sort of clinical relation to immune response when vaccinating.”
Since officially launching in January, Floreani said the reaction has been very good, with strong online sales.
The review process is still underway at many brick and mortar retailers, which is fine with Floreani since the immune support category is becoming less seasonal and more of a year round category.
“So most likely the product will start hitting retailers closer to July or August, which is fine with us because we also don't want it to be perceived as a product only for the COVID vaccine because it’s not. It’s really a product for any type of vaccine and the bulk of vaccinations after COVID-19 occur between September and January with flu and so on, so we want to make sure that this is a product that is understood to be for any type of vaccine. There's 13 vaccines with COVID that are given on a recurring basis, so we're in that process with all major retailers.”
To sell on Amazon or not to sell on Amazon?
“Most retailers have a strong preference if you're not on Amazon, but we're debating whether to launch it on Amazon or not,” said Floreani. “It's very tempting to launch it on Amazon just because of the sheer exposure, but from a strategic standpoint, if major retailers show a strong preference to us because we're not on Amazon, then we may hold off.”
In the meantime, Floreani said he simply appreciates the attention vaccines are calling to overall immune health.
“I think people are understanding the value of vaccines—which is which is tremendous— but also even more importantly, the role of their immune system in protecting them.”