Brain health, including cognitive function, stress relief, mood, and sleep, was a big focus at this year’s SupplySide West trade show.
Brain health ingredients were one of the trending topics during October’s SupplySide West trade show in Las Vegas. Makers of brain health ingredients, ranging from established names to market newcomers, discussed their latest science and achievements.
Cognizin Celebrates 20th Anniversary
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Cognizin citicoline, one of the longest-established branded ingredients for cognitive health in the supplements market. At SupplySide West, Cognizin’s maker Kyowa Hakko USA (New York City) celebrated the milestone with cake and a toast for show attendees.
At SupplySide West, Danielle Citrolo, PharmD, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs at Kyowa Hakko USA, discussed how Cognizin remains a leader in the supplements category today and a prominent brand name even as the cognitive space grows more competitive.
In fact, brain health has become one of the most popular health categories in supplements. Cognizin has seen growing demand because it has a history of science and usage in the market, Citrolo said. “We’re seeing so much traction with Cognizin,” she added. “Even at this show, people who we’re trying to talk to about Cognizin say, ‘Oh, we already know about it. We understand it.’ That’s a really proud moment for us because we’ve worked really hard to get there” by educating the market about Cognizin’s benefits, she said.
Cognizin remains strong in the market because of the number of human clinical studies done on the ingredient. Even among clinical studies on citicoline in the public domain not sponsored by Kyowa Hakko, of which Citrolo said there are hundreds, many of those studies were likely done on Cognizin itself, she said, because it is the leading citicoline brand.
Cognizin’s strong clinical backing keeps the ingredient competitive even as new ingredients come to market. “There are other new players that come in, and everyone likes the new and hot ingredient, but the reality is that science wins when it comes to claims substantiation,” Citrolo said. “We have a great research team in Japan that has over the years really built the science behind this ingredient. They understand it at a level that even experts in the cognitive health space don’t always understand. We have expertise on selecting the right type of test to see an outcome, because we know exactly how it works in the brain and what it’s going to affect to show the benefits.”
To keep Cognizin future-forward, the company is renewing emphasis on Cognizin’s applications in food and drinks, a growing preference among supplement consumers. Earlier this year, Kyowa Hakko released a white paper describing how functional ready-to-drink beverages are a growing delivery format for brain-health ingredients like Cognizin. At this year’s Natural Products Expo West trade show in Anaheim, CA, Kyowa Hakko celebrated the recently launched CENTR Enhanced beverage featuring Cognizin. Other RTDs featuring Cognizin include the Launch Hydrate sports drink and the C4 line of energy drinks.
Even the trendiest of brands are choosing Cognizin. Last fall, Kourtney Kardashian Barker launched her first gummy supplement brand called Lemme whose Lemme Focus supplement touts Cognizin.
So far, Cognizin-containing beverages have outpaced Cognizin food launches, but Citrolo predicted that the food market will grow. “I think you’re going to see an explosion within food,” she said.
As for the current popularity of brain health in supplements, Citrolo said, “When you look at the data year after year, brain health has always been a top category…I think that through great marketing and brand awareness, we are able to capitalize on the growth of that market. But I do see the future being even bigger, and we are looking at different avenues for benefits [aside from] what we’ve traditionally used [Cognizin for] that we can expand into and that are aligned with cognitive health, other benefits that we know Cognizin can work on…”
Novozymes Launches ProbioBrain Psychobiotic
Novozymes OneHealth (Lyngby, Denmark) introduced a new brain health ingredient at this year’s SupplySide West show. Called ProbioBrain, the ingredient is derived from the trademarked probiotic strain Bifidobacterium longum 1714 and supports the health of the gut-brain axis.
At SupplySide West, Véronique Rufin-Soumine, global marketing and customer engagement manager at Novozymes OneHealth, said that ProbioBrain is an ingredient that was “15 years in the making.” The strain was first discovered in a healthy person who had originally been screened for polyps at Cork University Hospital. At APC Microbiome Ireland at University College Cork in 2005, Professor Fergus Shanahan isolated B. longum 1714 from a mucosal biopsy taken from the colon sample of that healthy human.
Since then, B. longum 1714 has been studied in numerous placebo-controlled clinical trials, which have studied the strain’s effects on psychological and physiological stress response in healthy adults, including in response to social stress, Rufin-Soumine said. Looking forward, studies have now been submitted for publication examining the strain’s effects on sleep and low mood, she added. Novozymes OneHealth is now commercializing B. longum 1714 as ProbioBrain.
According to Novozymes OneHealth press materials, “The mode of action of ProbioBrain with B. longum 1714 involves the interaction between stress, the immune system, and tryptophan metabolism, which are all uniquely connected in our body’s physiology.”
It continues: “Tryptophan is a key amino acid in the synthesis of serotonin, which plays a role in sleep, mood, and many other body functions.” Inflammation and stress can alter tryptophan metabolism, which can then negatively impact mental wellness.
Bacteria in the gut can also produce tryptophan, which helps produce serotonin. ProbioBrain, the company explains, is a bacterial strain that helps promote tryptophan production and alter the tryptophan metabolism pathway, with positive effects on mental wellness. Specifically, ProbioBrain can help with “blocking inflammation and stress, directing tryptophan metabolism towards the neuroprotective pathway; lowering tryptophan availability towards the neurotoxic pathway; [and] driving tryptophan metabolism towards the neuroprotective pathway by increasing kynurenic acid (neuroprotective),” the company states.
As a result, studies have shown that ProbioBrain can help significantly reduce cortisol output in response to everyday stress, help positively modulate brain function during stressful times, and help maintain a calm state of mind during occasional stressful times.
Though the psychobiotics market is still in its infancy, Rufin-Soumine said it will be a key ingredient category in mental health. Globally, consumers have come to rank mental wellness as the number-one health concern, she said. Consumer research that Novozymes OneHealth commissioned earlier this year on 100 participants found that the key terms people associate with mental wellness are: stress, sleep, anxiety, and low mood.
The company is now highlighting mental wellness as a key component not only of cognitive health but of health overall. As its brochure states, “When we think about brain health, we should consider both ‘mental wellness’ indication such as stress, sleep, mood, and energy/fatigue, and ‘mental performance’ such as learning, memory, attention, and focus.”
New Research on Herbals
At SupplySide West, Sabinsa Corp, (East Windsor, NJ) discussed continuing research on the cognitive-health ingredients in the company’s portfolio, including Sabroxy (Oroxylum indicum), Shagandha ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), and LactoSpore Bacillus coagulans probiotic strain. The company’s cognitive health efforts now focus on general, active wellness, of which cognitive health is a part.
The company’s Sabroxy ingredient is the subject of both recently completed and currently ongoing studies, with research showing that it may positively impact both neurogenesis and neuroplasticity, said Anurag Pande, PhD, vice president of scientific affairs at Sabinsa, during SupplySide West. This means, he said, that “you’re not just improving neuron connections where memory is held; you’re also helping the survival of neurons, or neuro-protective action.”
Meanwhile, the company’s Shagandha ashwagandha ingredient, which is standardized per U.S. Pharmacopoeia monograph to 2.5% withanolides, has been studied in two clinical trials.
And the company’s LactoSpore probiotic strain has been shown to improve mental wellness in patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. Sabinsa also recently completed a clinical study on LactoSpore in children, Pande added.
General wellness continues to be the key for Sabinsa moving forward, Pande said. “Our focus has not been to develop or restrict ourselves to a nootropic,” he said. “General wellness is always the key…you need the focus, mental wellness, acuity, anxiety. All these things come together in more of a package.”