What Is Creatine? Understanding Its Benefits And Side Effects

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A lot of creatine experts are sick of the way we talk about creatine. Some are tired of cotton candy-flavored energy drinks hawking “super creatine” on neon cans, protein bars infused with the supplement, social media posts confusing creatine with steroids. Others are tired of the slew of “before and after” TikToks in which trim young men show off bulging muscles after a handful of weeks taking the supplement, or women display rippling abs they attribute only to the powder.

“I don’t know why people make up things about this particular supplement,” said Jose Antonio, an associate professor of health and human performance at Nova Southeastern University in Florida who has studied creatine. The world of creatine is rife with misinformation, he said, in spite of the large — and growing — body of evidence that the supplement can improve short bursts of athletic performance and enhance muscle mass.

Is the powder a miracle workout supplement, or is the hype overblown? Here’s what to know.

Creatine is formed in the body from compounds similar to amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. It serves as a type of fuel for your skeletal muscles, and can promote muscle growth when paired with exercise. It’s produced in the liver and kidneys, but you likely get creatine through your diet, too — red meat, fish and chicken contain it.

Throughout the day, your body naturally replenishes creatine in your muscles, but supplements can help “top up the tank,” said Eric Rawson, a health, nutrition and exercise science professor at Messiah University in Pennsylvania.

Creatine monohydrate — the form of creatine typically found in commercial powders — has been rigorously studied. “There’s probably more data on creatine monohydrate than any other supplement in existence,” Dr. Antonio said.

Creatine has specific, focused benefits for exercisers. The supplement can power you through short bursts of activity, like lifting a weight or dashing through a short race. If you’re in the middle of a Peloton workout, for instance, you might be able to increase your speed for a sprint, said David Creel, an exercise physiologist and a psychologist and dietitian in the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute at the Cleveland Clinic.

But the effect is usually small. Creatine makes the most sense for certain competitive athletes eager for a split-second advantage, said Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at N.Y.U. Langone Health. “For your average gym-goer, someone who’s a cyclist, someone who plays soccer on the weekends — they don’t need this,” she said.

Scientists have studied creatine and exercise performance since the early ‘90s. A recent review of 35 studies found that creatine supplementation, combined with resistance training, increased lean body mass — the body’s weight, minus fat — by more than two pounds in adults, regardless of age. The difference is small, but significant, although men reported higher gains than women. Vegetarians and vegans are more likely to have a larger response to the supplements, since they don’t get as much creatine in their diets, Dr. Rawson said.

Creatine may provide a small boost in muscle mass, but “whether it’s a 2 or 3 or 4 percent gain, no dietary supplements compare to proper training and sleep and nutrition habits,” Dr. Rawson said. Still, the increase could have a notable effect on older adults in particular, he said. “A very, very small improvement in strength could be the difference between a fall and not a fall.”

And emerging research suggests that creatine could have cognitive benefits, potentially enhancing memory and attenuating symptoms of concussions or traumatic brain injuries, although that data is much more limited than studies on creatine and muscular fitness.

“There really doesn’t appear to be any major hazards to it, which is kind of unique for a supplement,” said Dr. Creel. People who take the supplement, especially in large quantities, might experience some gastrointestinal distress, said Ms. Heller. People may also bloat or experience weight gain.

There are some claims floating around social media that creatine causes hair loss, but doctors said there was not significant research to verify that. And you won’t get any kind of high from creatine — it’s not like the jolt of energy you get from downing an espresso, Dr. Creel said.

The supplement is popular with teenagers, but there isn’t data on prolonged long-term use, especially in people who are still growing, said Dr. Pieter Cohen, an associate professor of medicine at the Cambridge Health Alliance, who studies supplements. Out of an abundance of caution, he suggested that teens refrain from using the supplement.

As with any supplement, you should talk to your primary care doctor before you start taking creatine. And just like other dietary supplements you can pull off the shelves, creatine is not tested by the Food and Drug Administration, said Dr. Cohen. That means there’s no guarantee that a powder you’re buying actually contains the amount of creatine it claims, or even any at all. The Department of Defense’s Operation Supplement Safety program recommends four third-party companies that test and evaluate dietary supplements, which you can use to ensure you’re really getting creatine. 

You should also stick with the recommended dose, which is usually around three to five grams per day. There isn’t substantial data for how long people can safely take the supplement beyond five years.It’s also important to come up with specific goals before taking the supplement, Dr. Cohen said, and to determine what the pill or powder could actually help you achieve — keeping in mind that it’s not a guaranteed ticket to building muscle. “People think creatine’s a steroid,” Dr. Antonio said. “That’s like saying water is fire.”

Source: What is Creatine? Understanding its Benefits and Side Effects – The New York Times

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Critics to Creatine:

Creatine was first identified in 1832 when Michel Eugène Chevreul isolated it from the basified water-extract of skeletal muscle. He later named the crystallized precipitate after the Greek word for meat, κρέας (kreas). In 1928, creatine was shown to exist in equilibrium with creatinine.[3] Studies in the 1920s showed that consumption of large amounts of creatine did not result in its excretion. This result pointed to the ability of the body to store creatine, which in turn suggested its use as a dietary supplement.[4]

In 1912, Harvard University researchers Otto Folin and Willey Glover Denis found evidence that ingesting creatine can dramatically boost the creatine content of the muscle.[5][non-primary source needed] In the late 1920s, after finding that the intramuscular stores of creatine can be increased by ingesting creatine in larger than normal amounts, scientists discovered phosphocreatine (creatine phosphate), and determined that creatine is a key player in the metabolism of skeletal muscle. The substance creatine is naturally formed in vertebrates.[6]

The discovery of phosphocreatine[7][8] was reported in 1927.[9][10][8] In the 1960s, creatine kinase (CK) was shown to phosphorylate ADP using phosphocreatine (PCr) to generate ATP. It follows that ATP, not PCr is directly consumed in muscle contraction. CK uses creatine to “buffer” the ATP/ADP ratio.[11]

While creatine’s influence on physical performance has been well documented since the early twentieth century, it came into public view following the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. An August 7, 1992 article in The Times reported that Linford Christie, the gold medal winner at 100 meters, had used creatine before the Olympics. An article in Bodybuilding Monthly named Sally Gunnell, who was the gold medalist in the 400-meter hurdles, as another creatine user. In addition, The Times also noted that 100 meter hurdler Colin Jackson began taking creatine before the Olympics.

At the time, low-potency creatine supplements were available in Britain, but creatine supplements designed for strength enhancement were not commercially available until 1993 when a company called Experimental and Applied Sciences (EAS) introduced the compound to the sports nutrition market under the name Phosphagen.[14] Research performed thereafter demonstrated that the consumption of high glycemic carbohydrates in conjunction with creatine increases creatine muscle stores.

Creatine is a naturally occurring non-protein compound and the primary constituent of phosphocreatine, which is used to regenerate ATP within the cell. 95% of the human body’s total creatine and phosphocreatine stores are found in skeletal muscle, while the remainder is distributed in the blood, brain, testes, and other tissues. The typical creatine content of skeletal muscle (as both creatine and phosphocreatine) is 120 mmol per kilogram of dry muscle mass, but can reach up to 160 mmol/kg through supplementation.

Approximately 1–2% of intramuscular creatine is degraded per day and an individual would need about 1–3 grams of creatine per day to maintain average (unsupplemented) creatine storage.[18][19][20] An omnivorous diet provides roughly half of this value, with the remainder synthesized in the liver and kidneys.

Creatine is not an essential nutrient. It is an amino acid derivative, naturally produced in the human body from the amino acids glycine and arginine, with an additional requirement for S-Adenosyl methionine (a derivative of methionine) to catalyze the transformation of guanidinoacetate to creatine. In the first step of the biosynthesis, the enzyme arginine:glycine amidinotransferase (AGAT, EC:2.1.4.1) mediates the reaction of glycine and arginine to form guanidinoacetate.

This product is then methylated by guanidinoacetate N-methyltransferase (GAMT, EC:2.1.1.2), using S-adenosyl methionine as the methyl donor. Creatine itself can be phosphorylated by creatine kinase to form phosphocreatine, which is used as an energy buffer in skeletal muscles and the brain. A cyclic form of creatine, called creatinine, exists in equilibrium with its tautomer and with creatine.

Related contents:

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The Cancer Custodians Hidden Truths

woman-with-headscarf-getting-chemo-treatment-article

Part of Dennis Plenker’s daily job is growing cancer. And a variety of different ones, too. Depending on the day and the project, different tumors may burgeon in the petri dishes stocked in the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory where Plenker works as a research investigator. They might be aggressive breast cancers.

They might be glioblastomas, one of the deadliest brain tumors that rob patients of their ability to speak or read as they crowd out normal cells. Or they might be pancreatic cancers, the fast and vicious slayers that can overtake a healthy person within weeks or even days.

These tiny tumor chunks are transparent and bland—they look like little droplets of hair gel that accidentally plopped into a plastic dish and took hold. But their unassuming appearance is deceptive. If they were still in the human bodies they came from, they would be sucking up nutrients, rapidly growing and dodging the immune system defenses.

But in Plenker’s hands—or rather in the CSHL’s unique facility—these notorious killers don’t kill anyone. Instead, scientists let them grow to devise the most potent ways to kill them. These tumor chunks are called organoids. They are three-dimensional assemblages of malignant growths used to study cancer behavior and vulnerability to chemotherapy and the so-called “targeted drugs”—the next generation therapies.

Scientists used to study tumors at a single-cell level, but because tumors grow as cell clusters in the body, it proved to be inefficient. The three-dimensional structures make a difference. For example, chemo might destroy the tumor’s outer cell layer, but the inner ones can develop resistance, so where single cells may die, a 3D mass will bounce back. Organoids can provide a window into these little-known mechanisms of drug resistance.

They can reveal how normal tissues turn malignant and where the cellular machinery goes off-track to allow that to happen. As their name suggests, organoids are scientists’ windows into organs, whether healthy or stricken with disease. You need to know your enemy to beat it, Plenker says, and cancer organoids offer that opportunity.

Taken from patients currently undergoing cancer treatments, these tumor chunks will reveal their weaknesses so scientists can find the cancers’ Achilles’ heel and devise personalized treatments. “Organoids are essentially patients in a dish,” Plenker says. Only unlike real patients, the organoids can be subjected to all sorts of harsh experiments to zero in on the precise chemo cocktails that destroy them in the best possible way.

And they will likely provide a more realistic scenario than drug tests in mice or rats, as animal models aren’t perfect proxies for humans.

These notorious killers don’t kill anyone. Instead, scientists devise the most potent ways to kill them.

The way that cancer proliferates in the body is hard to reproduce in the lab. Stem-cell research made it possible. After scientists spent a decade understanding how various cells multiply and differentiate into other cell types based on molecular cues and nourishment, they were able to make cells grow and fuse into tissues.

To stick together like bricks in a nicely laid wall, cells need a biological scaffold that scientists call an extracellular matrix or ECM, which in the body is made from collagen and other materials. Today, the same collagen scaffolds can be mimicked with a gooey substance called Matrigel—and then seeded with specific cells, which take root and begin to multiply.

Some tissue types were easy to grow—Columbia University scientists grew viable bones as early as 2010.1 Others, like kidney cells, were trickier. They would grow into immature tissues incapable of performing their job of cleaning and filtering blood. It took scientists time to realize that these cells wanted more than scaffolding and food—they needed to “feel at home,” or be in their natural habitat. Kidney cells needed the feeling of liquid being washed over them, the Harvard University group found, when they first managed to grow functioning kidney tissue in 2018.2

Cancers have their own growth requirements. In the body, they manage to co-opt the organism’s resources, but keeping them happy in a dish means catering to their dietary preferences. Different cancers need different types of molecular chow—growth factors, hormones, oxygen and pH levels, and other nutrients. Pancreatic adenocarcinoma thrives in low-oxygen conditions with poor nutrients.3 Glioblastomas feed on fatty acids.4 These nutrients are delivered to organoids via a specific solution called growth medium, which the lab personnel regularly doles out into the dishes.

Plenker is charged with keeping this murderous menagerie alive and well. He is the one who designs the cancers’ dietary menu, a specific protocol for each type. And while his official title is facility manager and research investigator who works closely with David Tuveson, director of the CSHL’s Cancer Center, he is essentially a cancer custodian, a curator of a unique collection that aims to change the paradigm of cancer treatment.

Plenker’s research area is pancreatic cancer—one of the most notorious killers known. Often diagnosed late and resistant to treatment, it is essentially a death sentence—only 8 to 10 percent of patients remain alive five years after diagnosis. The chemo drugs used to treat it haven’t changed in 40 years, Plenker says. In the past decade, physicians tried combining multiple drugs together with relative success. Identifying winning combos can save lives, or at least prolong them—and that’s what the organoids will help clinicians do better.

In a groundbreaking clinical trial called PASS-01 (for Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma Signature Stratification for Treatment), Plenker’s team collaborates with other American and Canadian colleagues to identify the most effective chemo cocktails and to understand the individual patients’ tumor behaviors, which would lead to more personalized treatments.5

Scientists know the same cancer types behave differently in different patients. Typically, all malignancies have the so-called “driver mutation”— the cancer’s main trigger caused by a mutated gene. But tumors also often have “passenger mutations” that happen in nearby genes. These additional mutated genes can generate various proteins, which may interfere with treatment.

Or not. Scientists call these mutated gene combinations tumor mutational signatures, which can vary from one patient to the next. With some cancers, doctors already know what mutations signatures they may have, but with pancreatic cancer they don’t have good tale-telling signs, or biomarkers. “There aren’t many biomarkers to help clinicians decide which chemo may be better for which patient,” explains oncologist Grainne O’Kane, who treats pancreatic cancer patients at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Canada.

That’s the reason O’Kane participates in the PASS-01 trial—it will give doctors a better view into the exact specifics of their patients’ malignancies. As they take their patients’ biopsies, they are sending little cancer snippets to the CSHL to be grown into organoids, which will be subjected to chemo cocktails of various combinations to design more personalized regiments for them.

The hospital treats all patients with the so-called standard of care chemotherapy, which is more of a one-size-fits-all approach. Some patients will respond to it but others won’t, so the goal is to define the second line of chemo defense in a more personalized fashion. “That’s where the biopsies we send to Tuveson’s lab might be useful,” O’Kane says. “They can help us find something to benefit patients after the first line of chemo stopped working.”

Organoids are patients in a dish. Unlike real patients, organoids can be subjected to experiments.

Scientists can try all kinds of combos on the tumorous organoids, which they can’t do in living people. “You can treat 100 organoids with 100 different compounds and see which one works, or which compound does a good job and which ones don’t work at all,” Plenker says. That would also allow scientists to define the precise amount of chemo, so doctors wouldn’t have to over-treat patients with harsh drugs that create sickening side effects. Ultimately, organoids should take a lot of guesswork out of the process.

With about 150 patients’ adenocarcinomas already collected, the team hopes to come up with some answers. O’Kane says her team already has three patients for which they were able to design the more personalized second line of defense chemo, based on what their organoids revealed. They haven’t yet tried it, because the trial has only started recently, but this would be the next step.

“Being able to piece all this information together in real time as patients are moving through their therapies can really improve the outcomes,” O’Kane says. And while they may not be able to save all of those who graciously donated their biopsy snippets to science, it will help build better treatments in the future. “Even if we won’t be able to help these specific patients we’re hoping to use this info in the future clinical trials,” O’Kane says.

Organoids can also help understand how cancer develops. This is particularly true for breast cancers, says Camilla dos Santos, associate professor and a member of the CSHL Cancer Center. She studies the inner life of human mammary glands, more commonly referred to as breasts, and is also part of the cancer custodian crew. The hormonal changes that women go through during pregnancy subsequently modify breast cancer risk, sometimes lowering it and sometimes increasing—a complex interplay of the body’s chemicals.

“We know that women who get pregnant for the first time before they turn 25 years old, have a 30 percent decrease in breast cancer incidents later in life,” dos Santos says. “When they turn 60 or 70, 30 percent of them will not develop cancer.” On the contrary, those who are pregnant past 38 have a 30 to 50 percent increase in developing aggressive breast cancer types. Clearly, some molecular switches are involved, but they are very hard to study within the body. That’s where organoids can provide a window into the surreptitious process.

Using breast organoids, scientists can model the complex life of mammary glands at various stages of a woman’s life. And while most women wouldn’t want their breasts poked and pierced when they are pregnant or breastfeeding, many donate their tissues after breast reduction surgery or prophylactic mastectomy due to high-risk mutations like the BRCA gene.

That’s where organoids shine because scientists can not only grow them, but also give them the pregnancy hormonal cues, which will make cells generate milk, stop lactating, or do it again—and study the complex cellular interactions that take place in real life.

There’s a lot to study. At birth, mammary glands are similar in both genders—just little patches of the mammary epithelium tissue. But when puberty hits, the female glands fill up with the so-called mammary tree—a system of ducts for future milk production, which fully “blooms” in pregnancy.

“When a woman becomes pregnant, the duct tree expands, growing two types of cells—luminal and myoepithelial ones,” explains Zuzana Koledova, assistant professor of Masaryk University in Czech Republic who also uses organoids in her work. When the baby is born, the luminal cells, which line the inside of the ducts, produce the proteins that comprise milk.

The myoepithelial cells reside outside the ducts and work as muscles that squeeze the ducts to push milk out. Dos Santos likens this pregnancy mammary gland growth to the changes of the seasons. The images of sprouting ducts look like blossoming trees in the spring while later they shrivel like plants do in the fall.

The body governs these processes via the molecular machinery of hormones, which stimulate breast cells growth during pregnancy, and later cause them to die out. The two pregnancy-related hormones, prolactin and oxytocin, are responsible for milk production. Prolactin induces the luminal cells to make milk while oxytocin makes the myoepithelial cells contract. Once the baby is weaned, the levels of these hormones drop, causing cells to shrink back to their non-pregnant state.

With organoids scientists can observe these cellular dynamics at work. Koledova’s team had watched breast organoids secrete milk based on biological cues. They even recorded movies of cells pumping tiny milk droplets in the dish they were growing in. Using tiny snippets of donated breast tissue, the team grew the organoids inside the Matrigel matrix in the growth media and then added the two pregnancy hormones into the mix, explains Jakub Sumbal, a mammary gland researcher in Koledova’s group.

As they began to secret proteins that compose milk, the organoids, which looked like little domes inside the dish, changed from translucent to opaque. “At first, you can see through them, but then as they produce these proteins, they kind of darken,” Sumbal says. “And you can see them pushing out these little droplets.”

Cancer patients would no longer have to undergo chemotherapy by trial and error.

Dos Santos’s team, who also did similar work, outlined molecular changes that follow such dish-based hormonal cues in their recent study.6 In response to hormonal messages, cells produce proteins, which they display on their surfaces, like status symbols. During pregnancy the burgeoning cells prepping for milk production display the “proteins flags” that make them look important, attracting nourishment. When it’s time to die, they commit a cellular suicide.

They signal to the bypassing macrophages—immune system cleanup crew—to devour them. “They essentially say ‘come eat me!’ to the macrophages,” dos Santos says. “Because I’m no longer needed.”

The ability to mimic these processes in a dish, allows scientists to study the molecular switches that trigger breast cancer development—or minimize it. Scientists know that cancerous cells can hide from the immune system and even co-opt it into protecting themselves. They do it by displaying their own “do not eat me” protein flags on the surface and avoid destruction.

“Sometimes cancer cells can recruit specific types of immune cells to protect them,” dos Santos says. “They can not only say ‘do not eat me,’ but say ‘come hang out with me’ to the macrophages, and the macrophages will send suppressive signals to the B-cells or T-cells, the body defenders.” It is as if the cancer requests protection—a crew of guardians around it to defend against other cells that would otherwise wipe it out.

Scientists can’t telescope into the body to peek at these interactions, but they now can watch these stealth battles unfolding in a dish. “Right now we are looking at the proteins that are secreted by the organoids—the proteins that go on the surface of the organoids’ cells and what they would communicate to the immune system,” dos Santos says.

“Even when there’s no immune system surrounding them, they would still be doing that.” There’s a way to mimic the immune system, too. Scientists can add B-cells, T-cells, macrophages, and other players into the growth medium and watch the full-blown cellular warfare in action. “That’s the next step in our research,” dos Santos says.

Understanding what hormonal fluxes trigger breast cancer, and how it recruits other cells for safekeeping, can give scientists ideas for pharmaceutical intervention. “We can find drugs that pharmacologically turn off the switches that trigger cancer or interrupt its signaling for protection,” dos Santos says. “That opens novel ways to treat people.”

Can organoid research lead to a new standard of care for cancer patients? That’s the ultimate goal, researchers say. That’s why Plenker works at keeping his collection of cancer glops alive and well and thriving—he calls it a living biobank. And he keeps a stash in the cryogenic freezer, too.

He is also developing protocols that would allow commercial companies to grow organoids the same way chemical industries make reagents or mice suppliers grow rodents for research. A benefit of organoid experiments is they don’t involve animals at all.

Hospitals may one day start growing organoids from their patients’ biopsies to design and test personalized chemo cocktails for them. Once science crosses over to that reality, the entire treatment paradigm will change. Cancer patients won’t have to undergo chemotherapy by trial and error.

Instead their cancer organoids will be subjected to this process—knocked out by a gamut of drug combinations to find the winning one to use in the actual treatment. Plenker notes that once enough data is gathered about the tumors’ mutational signatures, scientists may create a database of tumor “mugshots” matching them to the chemo cocktails that beat them best.

And then just sequencing a biopsy sample would immediately inform oncologists what drug combo the patient needs. “We may be about 10 years away from that,” Plenker says, but for now there’s a lot more research to do. And a lot more cancers to grow.

By: Lina Zeldovich

Lina Zeldovich grew up in a family of Russian scientists, listening to bedtime stories about volcanoes, black holes, and intrepid explorers. She has written for The New York Times, Scientific American, Reader’s Digest, and Audubon Magazine, among other publications, and won four awards for covering the science of poop. Her book, The Other Dark Matter: The Science and Business of Turning Waste into Wealth, will be released in October 2021 by Chicago University Press. You can find her at LinaZeldovich.com and @LinaZeldovich.

Source: The Cancer Custodians – Issue 102: Hidden Truths – Nautilus

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Critics:

Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumors, which do not spread. Possible signs and symptoms include a lump, abnormal bleeding, prolonged cough, unexplained weight loss, and a change in bowel movements. While these symptoms may indicate cancer, they can also have other causes. Over 100 types of cancers affect humans.

Tobacco use is the cause of about 22% of cancer deaths. Another 10% are due to obesity, poor diet, lack of physical activity or excessive drinking of alcohol. Other factors include certain infections, exposure to ionizing radiation, and environmental pollutants. In the developing world, 15% of cancers are due to infections such as Helicobacter pylori, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, human papillomavirus infection, Epstein–Barr virus and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

These factors act, at least partly, by changing the genes of a cell. Typically, many genetic changes are required before cancer develops. Approximately 5–10% of cancers are due to inherited genetic defects. Cancer can be detected by certain signs and symptoms or screening tests. It is then typically further investigated by medical imaging and confirmed by biopsy.

Most cancers are initially recognized either because of the appearance of signs or symptoms or through screening. Neither of these leads to a definitive diagnosis, which requires the examination of a tissue sample by a pathologist. People with suspected cancer are investigated with medical tests. These commonly include blood tests, X-rays, (contrast) CT scans and endoscopy.

The tissue diagnosis from the biopsy indicates the type of cell that is proliferating, its histological grade, genetic abnormalities and other features. Together, this information is useful to evaluate the prognosis and to choose the best treatment.

Further reading

Nestlé Health Science Acquires Vital Proteins

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Nestlé Health Science (NHSc), a global leader in the field of nutritional science, has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Vital Proteins, America’s top-selling collagen brand. This is the first major acquisition of a collagen-based wellness company to date. Vital Proteins was founded in 2013 by Kurt Seidensticker based on the belief that whole-food-based collagen nutrition is fundamental to maintaining overall health and longevity. Since launching, Vital Proteins has become the leading collagen brand in America, growing their annual sales above $100 million within the span of four years. The company’s brand’s portfolio includes over 150 collagen-based supplements, vitamins and food and beverage products.

Vital Proteins will continue to operate as a standalone business, “remaining committed to its founding mission of helping people live healthier lives through high quality, sustainably-sourced collagen nutrition,” according to a company statement. Seidensticker said that becoming a part of the NHSc portfolio will equip Vital Proteins with a variety of resources to scale the company’s reach and innovation. “I spent a lot of time having conversations with people I respected in the CPG space, in addition to leadership from companies that could eventually be a future partner. Through those conversations it became clear that NHSc was really aligned with our brand values, our mission and purpose to empower healthier lives,” he said.

“I’ve always envisioned Nestlé as the ideal partner and have enjoyed getting to know their team, their vision and their values. I also spent time talking to the founders of another like-minded wellness company whom I respect, to see who they thought was a good fit for their organization, and they felt Nestlé was the ideal partner as well. With Nestlé’s support, we will be able to leverage new resources, scale and capabilities, moving towards a future with an expanded global offering of high-quality nutrition products. The possibilities with Nestlé have reignited my imagination of all that Vital can be.”

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Vital Proteins complements NHSc’s other vitamin, mineral, supplement and wellness brands, including Atrium Innovations, Garden of Life, Pure Encapsulations and Persona. “This is an exciting opportunity for Nestlé Health Science to enter a growing area of nutrition with a successful brand,” said Greg Behar, CEO of NHSc. “The collagen nutrition market is growing, and Vital Proteins has shown its strength by becoming a full lifestyle brand which will perfectly complement our other vitamin, mineral and supplement brands.”

Board member and investor Brett Thomas, cofounder and managing partner of CAVU Venture Partners, credits much of the company’s success to Seidensticker’s leadership. “Kurt was a visionary founder who set out not only to create a category but to define a lifestyle—and we were believers,” said Thomas. “It was this passion, paired with his exceptional leadership skills and clear ability to execute that ultimately drove the brand’s success.” Seidensticker will remain in his role as Vital Proteins CEO, based out of the company’s headquarters in Chicago, IL.

“It speaks volumes about Vital Proteins as a wellness platform and moreover Kurt as a leader that such a great strategic partnership was formed amidst all the uncertainty in the world,” added Thomas. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Vital Proteins has seen a more than 50% increase in demand for their products. “Consumers are now even more focused on their health and well-being in the midst of this pandemic. The appetite for authentic wellness brands that are rooted in science should remain high, particularly ones which know how to effectively communicate with Millennials and Gen-Z,” explained Romitha Mally, Vice Chairman at UBS who helped orchestrate this deal, as well as Dollar Shave Club and Sundial Brands/SheaMoisture’s sales to Unilever, Bai’s sale to Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and Primal Kitchen’s acquisition by Kraft Heinz.

To support the growth of the business, Nestlé plans to explore geographic and product expansion while maintaining the elements of the Vital Proteins brand that make it popular among consumers. Vital Proteins’ 150 unique products (representing a total of 250 variants of those products) are sold across 35,000 retail doors in North America and Europe, including Whole Foods, Costco, Target, Walgreens and Kroger.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out some of my other work here.

Writer of all things and host of ‘I Suck At Life‘ podcast.

Source: http://www.forbes.com

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