It might not be obvious, but diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s, cancer and heart disease all have something in common. They are related to Metabolic Syndrome (MetS), which affects no less than 25 % of the world’s population. The INNOPREFAT (Natural Food formulation for the prevention and treatment of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome obtained with herbal extracts) project proposes to tackle MetS with Metabolaid, a compound activating a metabolic switch called AMPK. The latter can inhibit fat accumulation in the adipose tissue and liver, all this while favouring energy usage in muscle cells. “We have ample experience in analysing the effects of various active, purified compounds from botanical extracts found in the Mediterranean,” says Dr Arturo Lizón, coordinator of the INNOPREFAT project on behalf of Spanish company Monteloeder. “In the case of Metabolaid, we first added a battery of possible purified extracts to cell cultures derived from human adipose tissue. We then proceeded to assess which of these extracts activated AMPK with the most efficiency. The next step consisted in formulating a combination of the most efficient extracts to identify possible synergies.” Losing weight, regulating hunger Lemon verbena and hibiscus stood out. Initial clinical studies showed that individuals taking Metabolaid while following a controlled diet were losing twice as much weight as those only following a diet. Furthermore, parameters such as blood pressure, cholesterol/triglycerides and blood glucose levels were shown to decrease significantly in patients who had used Metabolaid for two months. “Of course there are many ingredients that can make you lose weight, regulate your cholesterol or control glucose metabolism. But Metabolaid is the first to do it all and, with a total of six clinical studies conducted so far, it is also the one providing the most science-backed evidence,” says Dr Lizón. Another major benefit of Metabolaid lies in how it regulates hunger. By analysing several appetite-regulating hormones, the team found that their product was able to maintain the levels of ghrelin – a hunger-inducing hormone secreted by the stomach – unchanged as patients underwent an eight-week diet. Likewise, these patients expressed over 50 % more satiety-inducing GLP-1 hormone than the Placebo group undergoing a diet only. “This ultimately caused the group taking Metabolaid to lose more weight while feeling more satisfied with the amount of food they consumed. They also felt an overall improved sense of wellbeing,” Dr Lizón explains. Worldwide orders Clients from the US, Europe and Asia have already placed their first orders for Metabolaid, whose production was recently scaled up thanks in part to funding under the SME Instrument. Shipments will start in June 2019. Monteloeder has also signed several multi-year supply contracts with pharma and nutraceuticals companies in Europe and America. Patients buying Metabolaid will also benefit from a dedicated app tracking consumption, evaluating habits and providing advice. “As technology advances, measurements of other product effects, such as improving cardiovascular conditions (heart rate, blood pressure), cholesterol and glucose, will be readily available to the consumers as wearable devices. These parameters will be incorporated into the app, providing it with a second life”, Dr Lizón concludes.
INNOPREFAT, Monteloeder, Metabolaid, obesity, plants, metabolic syndrome, lemon verbena, hibiscus