Nora Khaldi: Empowering Health Through Scientific Discovery

Nora Khaldi, CEO, Nuritas
Nora Khaldi, CEO, Nuritas

Innovation is key in navigating the rapidly changing industry of healthcare and nutrition. As the world struggles with mounting health challenges, the need for transformative solutions has never been more pressing. The central focus of this innovation is Nuritas, a pioneer in leveraging technology to revolutionize the way we approach food and its impact on health.

Nuritas distinguishes itself through its pioneering approach, progressing state-of-the-art artificial intelligence with molecular biology to create groundbreaking ingredients that promote healthier living. This merging of science and innovation has paved the way for unprecedented advancements in healthcare and nutrition, offering hope for a healthier future.

Leading this revolutionary charge is Nora Khaldi, the visionary CEO behind Nuritas. With a background in mathematics, bioinformatics, and computational science, Nora brings a unique perspective to the table. Her journey from academia to entrepreneurship reflects a relentless commitment to driving positive change in global health outcomes.

Join us as we delve into Nora Khaldi’s inspiring journey and uncover how Nuritas is reshaping the healthcare and nutrition industry!

Nora, can you share with our readers a bit about your background and journey that led you to establish Nuritas?

I’m a mathematician by vocation. I completed my PhD in bioinformatics and computational science, and the majority of my research was focused on protein evolution and comparative genomics. I became interested in the area of nutrition soon after completing my PhD, simply because of the massive role it plays in our health and the overall quality of our lives. We eat and drink every single day of our lives, multiple times a day. From my standpoint, there’s no greater influence on human health than the food we consume. Yet, the problem today is that many of the ingredients used in everyday products that we consume have been developed mainly for two purposes: taste and cost and many are not necessarily healthy. Health has been a secondary consideration, yet it should be our primary focus.

The question is – and it’s a conundrum – how would you create ingredients that are both cost-effective, have no adverse effects on taste, and also have a health benefit? How can we bring back the nutrition element to the industrialization of food? The realization for me, coming from a mathematical-computational perspective, was that to solve this problem and to create ingredients that the industry can use, we can’t simply use the traditional ways of finding ingredients anymore. These traditional R&D techniques take too long, are too expensive, and actually offer very little chance of discovery, even when you do spend the money and time.

We needed to find a new way of doing things, and that’s where the artificial intelligence (AI) part of Nuritas comes in. To succeed, we need to integrate new technologies in order to create ingredients in a faster and cost-effective way that allows the industry to use them. Nuritas brings together very different scientific fields including AI and molecular biology to discover and bring to market ground-breaking ingredients that are both sustainable and clinically proven to improve our health and wellbeing. This will allow brands around the world to differentiate and deliver what consumers are looking for today – products that address their various health and nutrition needs.

As a mathematician with expertise in molecular evolution and bioinformatics, how do you bridge the gap between these fields to drive innovation in healthcare and nutrition?

Individuals with interdisciplinary backgrounds are very interesting, because they see the same problem from very different perspectives. More importantly, they understand what can be done in each field, the limitations of that field, helping them solve the problem in an educated way. Besides this, they can speak very different languages, and deeply understand people in those different fields and how they view the problem and solution.

This is the same with mathematics, molecular evolution, and entrepreneurship. How do you bring them all together and make something meaningful for the world? Simply put, it’s about identifying a key problem, viewing it from different angles and then solving it in an educated way. I think if I were to describe myself in one sentence, it would be, “I see things in a very different way than others.”

Could you elaborate on Nuritas’ mission and vision, and how it aligns with your personal values and professional aspirations?

A key driver for Nuritas as a company and personally for me has been the goal of improving people’s health, maintaining our youth and vitality for as long as possible, and prolonging our healthy years our “healthspan” vs. our lifespan. Many chronic diseases are avoidable, but we know that it’s hard for people to change their habits. However, we know that all people eat and drink, so making everyday foods healthier can have dramatic effects on overall global health. Especially considering that the industrialization of food has come with huge negative impacts on overall health, it is paramount that we make our everyday nutrition healthier for us.

What sets Nuritas apart from other companies in the healthcare and biotech industries, particularly in terms of your approach to research and development?

We create ingredients that are backed by various double-blind, placebo controlled clinical trials to support the consumer of today take charge of their health and live healthier stronger lives. We create solutions for consumers’ needs where today there are no effective solutions. This is truly our uniqueness; different brands can now make healthier, more sustainable products using our ingredients.

Not only is what we do unique, but the way we do it is also unique. We have been focused on creating a two-fold approach to our discovery process which has shown 80% success at clinical trials to date. We are focused on unmet health needs, where food can play a part in improving longevity in every major health area from neurocognition, to inflammation, to cardiovascular and metabolic health. We started in muscle health as it plays the largest part in all-cause mortality reduction and our PeptiStrong™ bioactive peptide ingredient works to increase muscle strength, energy, recovery and bone density.

Aligned to this, we continue to develop our AI platform, “Magnifier,” where we have the largest library of plant sourced peptides (more than 8 million) and marry these to receptors and biological activity alongside gut survivability and absorption, to look at sustainable sources, and improved target receptor focus, accelerating both success in our search but also in the speed to market.

Your TEDx talk emphasized the importance of developing new foods containing natural molecules for healthier living. How does Nuritas contribute to this vision, and what impact do you hope to achieve in the broader context of public health?

Since the time of my TEDx talk, we have developed and brought to market various health transforming bioactive peptide ingredients, all supported by clinical studies. We are tackling various health areas, such as:

Strength and muscle decline: It has been shown that an improvement in strength can reduce all-cause mortality by as much as 17%1 Muscle is the heart of our metabolism and movement. We discovered PeptiStrong™, a natural peptide network from fava bean that has been shown in clinical trials to improve strength by 20% in two months. It is four times better than the standard of care today, which is mainly milk based, animal protein, at promoting muscle production. This ingredient is also shown to reduce fatigue by more than 50%, and doubles women’s muscular endurance, endurance in this case is feeling more energetic and being able to tackle the day stronger.

Bone density: We’ve discovered and brought to market an ingredient clinically shown to augment bone density by 1% after two months (a medically significant growth). The decline in bone density has been well documented to have negative effects on health. Many people begin to experience a decline in bone density as early as their 30s, making this a relevant issue for more of the population that simply the 50+ crowd.

The negative impact of sugar: Improving our bodies’ response to sugar has been shown to reduce all-cause mortality by up to 50% . We have developed a solution that is currently under clinical investigation to help the body reduce the impact of high glycemic index foods. By smoothing the spike of glucose seen after eating, we could reduce the insulin requirement and inflammation associated with circulating blood sugar. An array of peptides in the ingredient target different pathways to achieve this clinical result, reducing the demands on our bodies and improving health, all from within what we eat.

Sleep health: We have developed an ingredient that is currently under investigation in human clinical trials to help reduce stress, lower cortisol and improve the time it takes to go to sleep, allowing the body to take over and restore the natural cycle, without excessive drowsiness. We are using wearable technology in the trial so the end user can see the effectiveness of the ingredient. We think it’s vital to integrate wearable technologies in our trials moving forward.

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