VitalNext improving the protein/energy balance

VitalNext is a product under development that specifically targets elderly that suffer from malnutrition. Malnutrition has a high prevalence among elderly. Independent research in several European countries has shown that 20-30% of people aged over 75 suffer from malnutrition depending on the exact definition. Thus, in Europe alone, 33 million people suffer from malnutrition. The WHO defines malnutrition as a state of nutrition in which a deficiency of energy, protein, and other nutrients causes measurable adverse effects on tissue/ body form (body shape, size and composition) and function, and clinical outcome. Most experts believe that people suffer from malnutrition when they involuntarily lose a significant amount of weight, especially muscle mass and/or when their BMI is too low compared to internationally recognized standards and/or when they show a deficiency for specific nutrients. The main cause of malnutrition in elderly is a combination of losing appetite and reduced efficiency in uptake of proteins which, actually, requires them to consume more protein instead of less.

The problem with this group of people is a.o. increased ‘self-protein’ degradation leading to muscle weakness ultimately leading to such problems as loosing grip strength, immobility and impaired immune function. Malnutrition is closely linked to increased mortality and morbidity although the causal relationship has not yet fully been established. Nevertheless, there is widespread consensus that addressing malnutrition is beneficial for healthy aging.

Current market and existing products

Current products are basically protein shakes made from concentrated milk powder with some added sugar and vitamins. They generally suffer from poor taste and flavour and, in our view, are of suboptimal quality with respect to nutritional value.

VitalNext: the product

VitalNext B.V. believes that there is a strong need for better and affordable consumer products in this field. VitalNext will fill a gap where there are very few, if any, high quality affordable products currently present at all. VitalNext is being developed to address the need for better and effective products by combining a number of ingredients which have a strong evidence base for beneficial effects in malnourished elderly people. Its composition is novel and protected by Intellectual Property Rights.

The basic design of VitalNext stems from the observation that the underlying physiological problem (insufficient protein intake or increased protein degradation) bears resemblance to issues being faced by top-athletes. During an intense activity they have a distorted protein/energy ratio. To compensate for this imbalance, internal muscle tissue is being used to generate sufficient energy. In fact, this is a temporary form of malnutrition. Normally speaking, a healthy body will quickly recover and no additional measures are necessary. However, these sportsmen need to recover much more quickly than normal people, in order to be able to keep performing at high levels during prolonged periods of time. Thus, these athletes commonly use nutritional products that will help them to build muscle tissue and improve the protein/energy balance. This is exactly what malnourished elderly also need. VitalNext B.V. will use this principle as basis for its VitalNext product.

The second principle of the product is to add ingredients that improve the uptake of these protein components/hydrolysates (amino acids) into muscle, to grow existing muscle tissue and to regenerate lost muscle tissue. This active repair will make a noticeable difference for people with weakened muscles, often the most relevant physiological sign of malnutrition and the main cause of the extra health care that these people need. Regaining strength and physical functioning are important physiological parameters and an important aim of the use of VitalNext.

Although several compounds are known that further improve muscle growth and/or muscle regeneration -such as anabolic steroids- they mostly suffer from severe negative side effects. Recently, compounds that have a much higher safety profile have been identified, that either improve muscle/fat ratio by growing existing muscle tissue (often at the expense of fat tissue) or that regenerate muscle tissue already lost. VitalNext B.V.,  includes such ingredients in its VitalNext product.

The third principle of our product is to include components that have a beneficial effect on the health of ageing people. Once the acute problem of malnutrition has been addressed it is important to improve the general condition of the person or, at least, prevent, as much as possible, further health problems. For instance, several studies have shown that elderly people may benefit from supplementing their diet with specific vitamins and nutrients. Therefore, vitamins and spore-elements for which elderly easily develop deficiencies (due to dietary habits and changing uptake characteristics) have also been added to the product to improve general health.

We are convinced that our product has a superior quality compared to existing products. It is based on top research in sports nutrition combined with cutting edge research in life sciences. Its composition has a proprietary nature.

Anticipated use

VitalNext will be ideally suited for use in malnourished people, in particular elderly. The product is positioned as a medical nutrition to be recommended by a professional (medical doctor, dietician, other health care professionals).

We assume that, if and when available, VitalNext will be the product of choice for people with severe malnutrition and/or a desire to regenerate muscle in a short period of time. If the product is taken in compliance with the recommended use, people will start to experience benefits within a relatively short timeframe, depending on their overall condition. At that moment consumers can consider to lower the dose to stay in good condition or focus on a healthy and protein-rich diet in consultation with their health care professional.

Positioning of the product

The product will support people in the nutritional management of their overall condition, it helps faster recovery of poor condition, it helps better physical performance, it supports muscle recovery and repair. Depending on the addition of ingredients associated with healthy ageing (as described above) additional statements may be made. The product has a unique composition caused by its (proprietary) ingredients. VitalNext B.V. will have an exclusive position in producing this product during the lifetime of the relevant patents. We intend to position the product as a high quality product with strong scientific evidence for the anticipated use. Further evidence for the safety and effectiveness of the product well be built by execution and publication of appropriate studies in human volunteers.