Special Edition: Tackling diabetes: Formulating for healthy blood sugar

Glucose management ingredient gets UAE distribution, ‘needs to be in food supply,’ founder says

By Maggie Hennessy

- Last updated on GMT

ATM Metabolics cofounders Dr. Daryl Thompson and Dr. Joseph Ahrens
ATM Metabolics cofounders Dr. Daryl Thompson and Dr. Joseph Ahrens

Related tags Nutrition

Sometimes the best way to build a new market is to step back. 

This is the case for ATM Metabolics, whose cofounders Dr. Daryl Thompson and Dr. Joseph Ahrens created Emulin, a patented blend of plant-sourced chlorogenic acid, myricetin and quercetin that claims to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels and facilitate weight loss in diabetics.

Facing hesitation from American corporations about incorporating Emulin into foods, the company has signed a licensing deal with United Arab Emirates development company Mubadala to distribute Emulin as both a medical food and as an additive to fortify diabetically sensitive food products. The firm hopes the distribution and resulting“dramatic improvement in glycemic management for type 2 diabetics,” ​who make up a growing percentage of the population in the UAE, will be a springboard to deploying Emulin as a medical food in the US.

“We need this to be in the food supply,”​ Thompson told FoodNavigator-USA. Emulin is currently available in the US as Diabetix, a dietary supplement supplied by VREV.


Blocks GI of the ‘whole meal’

Developed by ATM Metabolics cofounders Dr. Daryl Thompson and Dr. Joseph Ahrens, Emulin works by interrupting the metabolic pathways of carbohydrate metabolism. It claims to reduce glucose synthesis in the liver, enhance glucose uptake from the bloodstream, and increase the sensitivity of insulin receptors in the signaling pathways—thereby making insulin more efficient, according to Thompson.

What makes it so important for Emulin to be incorporated into food, he added, is it will not only block the glycemic impact of what you’re eating and drinking, but the whole meal. In other words, it addresses the glycemic impact of both the milkshake you’re drinking and the cheeseburger you're having with it.

“Emulin when added to foods had the ability to reduce the entire glycemic impact and caloric impact of a whole meal by up to 30%,”​ he said. “This is because Emulin actually inhibits or ‘puts to sleep’ the enzymes in the body that are responsible for breaking down, transporting and storing sugars while inducing activity in metabolically useful enzymatics such as those in muscle tissue. Emulin reduces the amount of sugars that the body absorbs and at the same time enhances the body's ability to utilize the sugars instead of storing them as fat.

“The good thing about this is that it is a ‘chaperone’ process that was developed by nature to properly regulate sugar transportation and usage in the human body. Our research team was lucky enough to identify this process and learn how to adapt it to our processed foods to make them safer glycemically.”

Thompson claims that Emulin works at both the acute and chronic level, meaning “the longer you take it, the less diabetic you become.”

Reeducating corporate America on ‘disruptive technology’       

The primary motivators for taking Emulin to the UAE were twofold: the growing incidence of diabetes in the UAE and the hesitance of American food companies to embrace new, disruptive technology in the diabetes realm.

The UAE has experienced remarkable economic growth in a relatively short period of time, which has raised the prosperity of its population. But this new-found wealth has also brought with it a growing incidence of metabolic syndrome and diabetes. According to the World Health Organization and International Diabetes Federation, 32% of the adult UAE population (age 20-79) may have diabetes or pre-diabetes, with other data indicating that the adult UAE population (ages 18 and above) has already reached a diabetes or pre-diabetes rate of 44%.

“The UAE is rife with diabetes and metabolic syndrome, but it also has a very forward-thinking healthcare system. And they’ve shown they really want to address this growing problem,”​ Thompson said. “We’re developing a plan there to get this distributed throughout the country and use it as model of how we will model foods here.”

The second reason for crossing the pond is the resistance of American food companies to embrace  “We’ve met with every American food company out there and the story is the same: they’ve gotten too big to be able to properly handle new disruptive technology,” he said. Thus, by spearheading the effort in the UAE, ATM Metabolics can demonstrate the practical approaches to dealing with metabolic diseases like diabetes with physical evidence. The product will be rolled out in the next six months, and Thompson expects to bring it back to the US within a year.

“We are working diligently to use UAE as a showcase to show how diabetes can be rapidly treated using Emulin in the food supply,"​ he said. "We’re hoping that this will serve as a blueprint for reeducating corporations here in the US.”

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