Not so fast: First fasting supplement takes cautious approach to claims

By Lynda Searby

- Last updated on GMT

 Supplement start-up looks to offer a 'modern yet natural solution for a world in which healthy fasting has become more difficult'. © iStock.com / alexkich
Supplement start-up looks to offer a 'modern yet natural solution for a world in which healthy fasting has become more difficult'. © iStock.com / alexkich

Related tags: Immune system, Nutrition

Start-up Nowrish has launched the first fasting supplement - a mix of vitamins, minerals and herbs formulated to support the body’s cleansing, immune, digestive and energy production systems during periods of fasting like Ramadan, but without making any on-pack claims.

Launched to coincide with the start of Ramadan, Nowrish supplements are composed of ten vitamins (vitamin C, thiamine B1, riboflavin B2, niacin B3, pantothenic acid B5, pyridoxine hydrochloride B6, folic acid B9, cyanocobalamin B12, biotin and D3) and ten herbs (chamomile, wheatgrass, valerian root, rosemary, echinacea, turmeric, cumin, liquorice root, green tea and lavender extracts).

These individual ingredient were chosen for their reputed health benefits - for example, antioxidants vitamins C and D, green tea and wheatgrass for cleansing, turmeric, valerian root and green tea for mental support and cumin, liquorice root and rosemary for digestion.

Although in theory, EU authorised claims exist for some of the ingredients listed, Nowrish has chosen not to make any on-pack claims, demonstrating a cautious approach that is uncharacteristic of the supplement manufacturing industry as a whole.

Risk-averse attitude to claims

Explaining the thinking behind this decision, Khaldoun Shehadeh, the company’s founder, told NutraIngredients: “Although we were cleared legally by our experienced Dutch manufacturer to include claims related to supporting the energy production system (based on vitamins C, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 andbiotin) and the immune system (through vitamins C and B6) for example, we do not make any on-pack claims.

"This was a conscious, low risk decision to simplify the process and avoid any potential legal matters at this early stage.”

Nowrish Fasting Supplement-3

The company has also erred on the conservative side in its choice of ingredients, avoiding hunger suppressants.

“Although allowed, we have stayed away from hunger suppressants such as the hormone leptin so as not to interfere with the natural physical sensations associated with fasting… We also chose not to focus on caffeine unlike some energy pills and drinks due to its dehydration effect as well as the short lived effect it delivers,” s​aid Shehadeh.

“We wish to make fasting healthier and not hunger free per se. That said we did include ingredients to give people who are fasting more energy and mental clarity, the main point being that they are often expected to continue to work and deliver results during Ramadan and need that extra support to do so.”

The healthy side of fasting

Besides being a religious ritual, the ancient practice of fasting has a health role in traditional medicine.

There is also growing research to support fasting as a way of recalibrating the body’s hormonal sensitivities, especially to insulin and cortisol, with potential benefits for obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Other emerging research has linked fasting to stimulating stem cell generation in adults, improving testosterone and growth hormone production to reverse some of the effects of ageing, and treating degenerative diseases.

However, Shehadeh’s argument is that in a world of longer working hours and increased pollutants, many of the traditional health benefits of fasting have been eroded.

The idea of Nowrish is to “redress that imbalance”​, by providing a “modern yet natural solution for a world in which healthy fasting has become more difficult”​.

Each pack contains a month’s supply of pills. Users take one a day, outside of fasting hours, to “naturally support the cleansing, digestion, immune and energy production systems”.

Beyond Ramadan

The supplement was launched prior to the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, but Shehadeh said that as an “inclusive” ​company, Nowrish was looking to support all those who fast.

“The supplement is vegan which makes it suitable for Muslims and Hindus amongst others,” ​he said.

Nowrish confirmed it was initially focusing its efforts on 13 countries, where Ramadan is part of the culture: the UK, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Bahrain and India.

However, on the back of interest from healthy fasting and weight loss fasting enthusiasts,  Shehadeh said that as Ramadan draws on, the marketing focus would now shift to healthy fasting, intermittent fasting and weight loss, targeting consumers in developed countries (mainly Europe and the USA).

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