Startup Spotlight

Amia's snack bars are formulated with migraines in mind

This content item was originally published on, a William Reed online publication.

By Deniz Ataman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Snack bars startups food as medicine

In this episode of Startup Spotlight, Jon Katz, founder of baked oat and seed bar brand, Amia Snacks, focused on using functional ingredients to address migraines, as outlined by a trigger-free diet, which includes eliminatings ingredients that may trigger migraines and headaches.

Inspired by his personal experience with migraines and research from neurologist David Bucholz, Katz removed foods that were common triggers for migraines, including those high in tyramine, histamine, sulfites and nitrates, and saw a 50% reduction in his migraine frequency after several months, helping him identify an opportunity for a food-as-medicine brand.

“There was a huge opportunity with what I’m coining as a trigger-free option for people, [which] is similar to gluten-free, allergen-free,” Katz explained.

Amia’s ​bars, in Coconut Cinnamon and Original flavors, are made of coconut oil, gluten-free oats, oat flour and superfoods like chia seeds, pepita seeds, flax seeds and hemp hearts. They are sweetened with agave and brown rice syrup, which Katz noted was an intentional natural sweetener blend for the formula.

“The reason we blend the two of agave and brown rice is to keep the glycemic index down. Brown rice has fairly high glycemic but agave is much lower. So by blending them together, it comes to a much lower glycemic, and that is a potential trigger for people,” he elaborated.

With neurologists, like Alexander Mauskop, founder and director of New York Headache Center, who recommends Amia to patients, and registered dietitians, Katz is building a medical advisory board to help raise funding and credibility for the bars’ food-as-medicine concept.

“When I explain ... the trigger-free concept of avoiding foods high in [migraine triggers], they totally get it. They’re not someone who necessarily believes you can cure migraines with diet, but they believe that it plays a role,” Katz said.

Amia also partnered with migraine advocacy group, Migraine Strong, and works with one of its registered dietitians whose work is built on the links between headache, diet and food.

“I work with her on the formulas. I work with my doctors. I run all of my ingredients by my doctors before I go to production,” Katz added.

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