Improving bone health during menopause with Bonolive

Improving Bone Health During Menopause With Bonolive®

Improving Bone Health During Menopause With Bonolive®

February 3rd, 2022

The menopause transition is a critical period for bone health in women. More than ever, to address this key health concern, consumers are shifting away from calcium-only products and seeking out more complex formulas with clinically-backed ingredients.
Bonolive® is a patented ingredient rich in olive polyphenols that offers the possibility of formulating innovative bone health solutions tailored to women to counteract bone loss risk associated with menopause.

Improving bone health during menopause with Bonolive

Menopause transition and bone health

Healthy bones are needed to support our body, providing structure, allowing us to move and protect our organs. They also store essential minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus, and release them into the blood whenever needed.

Bone health depends on a dynamic equilibrium maintained between the constant production of the new bone matrix via osteoblasts – the cells responsible for bone synthesis – and the resorption of old bone by osteoclast activity– the cells responsible for bone breakdown.

The menopause transition is the most critical period for bone health in women because this fine equilibrium is broken due to hormonal changes.

The onset of the rapid bone loss phase is due to the drastic drop in estrogen levels, which play an important role in maintaining bone strength. This can result in bone resorption exceeding bone formation, leading to thin, fragile bones subject to spontaneous fracture.

Rapid losses in bone mass and strength usually occur in the 3-year window since the date of the final menstrual period [1].

Decreased levels of estrogen cause osteoprotegerin levels to decline. Osteoprotegerin is a protein secreted by osteoblasts, which antagonises the process of bone breakdown mediated by osteoclasts.

Therefore, with the lowered estrogen levels associated with menopausal changes, osteoclast activity increases leading to decreased bone mass and, in many cases, osteoporosis. This results in reduced bone strength and increased risk of fractures.

Although it is essential to build strong and healthy bones during the early stages of our lives, there are also important factors to take care of during adulthood, particularly during menopause, such as sufficient physical activity, proper nutrition and supplementation.

Traditional bone health management

With the world population getting older, bone health issues are increasing. In postmenopausal women, the prevalence of osteoporosis and osteopenia is estimated to be almost 20% and 52%, respectively [2].

Bone health is indeed a key concern for this vulnerable group. This reflects that 25% of women who use dietary supplements are already consuming products to support their bones and there are different ingredients that can be consumed to support bone health.

Over the last decade, supplementation with calcium and vitamin D and exercise has been the most used measure for preventing bone loss during menopause.

It is known that a sufficient calcium intake contributes to an increased bone density and Vitamin D is crucial for bone health because it plays a crucial role in calcium absorption [3].

While this strategy has proven marginal improvements, consumers are becoming more demanding. In fact, the popularity of innovative, nutraceuticals with a clinical back-up addressing bone health is growing.

Scientific evidence has shown that bone physiology can be modulated by phenolic compounds found in olives.

These powerful antioxidant compounds can indeed stimulate markers involved in osteoblast proliferation, differentiation, and maturation, and ultimately lead to a counteracting effect against bone loss risk.

What is Bonolive® and how does it support healthy bones?

Bonolive® is a patented, olive-polyphenol-based ingredient researched and developed by BioActor, with demonstrated efficacy in increasing bone formation in postmenopausal women.

Bonolive® is standardised for highly bioavailable oleuropein, the powerful phytonutrient deemed responsible for the increase in the number and activity of osteoblasts observed during BioActor’s research.

The randomised, double-blind clinical trial demonstrated that an intake of 250mg/day of Bonolive® is sufficient to re-balance the bone turnover [4].

Additionally, after 12 months, a 32% increase in osteocalcin was observed in the treatment group, compared to a 6% decrease in the placebo group.

Osteocalcin is a key component for building new bone, as it forms the scaffold for new bone tissue and binds calcium within a rigid structure.

The increase in osteocalcin is also reflected by the DEXA scan results, which show that subjects taking Bonolive®, displayed protection of bone mineral density at the lumbar spine and a higher gain of bone mineral density at the femur neck, compared to those taking placebo.

Opportunities for new product development with Bonolive®

As consumers are shifting away from calcium-only products and seek out more complex formulas with clinically-backed ingredients, Bonolive® offers the possibility of developing innovative consumer products specifically crafted to help women support healthy bones during menopause.

For a synergistic effect, Bonolive® can be successfully combined with calcium, vitamin D and magnesium, as well as other vitamins, minerals and plant extracts.

This Mediterranean-inspired ingredient can be easily included in various dietary supplements, functional drinks and foods, with a daily dose of only 250mg.

Apart from innovative blends, further product development opportunities in this growing market lie in convenient formats like gummies and ready-to-drink beverages.


Not all arabinoxylans are the same

Not all Arabinoxylans are the same: let's find out the difference

Not all Arabinoxylans are the same: let’s find out the difference

January 21st, 2022

Arabinoxylans are soluble fibres extracted from cereal grains, such as the wheat endosperm. However, not all arabinoxylans share the same structure, which affects not only the physicochemical properties, but also their health benefits. They vary in the degree of polymerization, solubility, degree of substitution or presence of antioxidants, such as ferulic acid.

Not all arabinoxylans are the same

What are arabinoxylans?

Arabinoxylans are soluble fibres extractable from cereal grains. Arabinoxylans have been identified in all major cereal grains, including wheat, barley, oats, rye, rice, sorghum, maize, and millet. In cereal grains, arabinoxylans are localized mainly in the cell walls of starchy endosperm and the aleurone layer, in the bran tissues, and in the husk of some cereals.

Arabinoxylans can be used as a dietary supplement due to their beneficial effects on gut health, glycaemic control and immune health.

Moreover, due to the physicochemical and technological properties of these molecules (e.g. water-binding capacity, gelation), arabinoxylans can also be used as a baking additive to improve dough consistency, increase loaf volumes and improve crumb structure.

The general structure of arabinoxylans

Arabinoxylans are very long molecules consisting of a copolymer of two pentose sugars: arabinose and xylose. The general structure of arabinoxylans is formed by a backbone of xylose with arabinose residues attached to xylose units in different positions.

The relative amount and the sequence of distribution of these structural elements vary depending on the source of arabinoxylans. The majority of arabinose residues in arabinoxylans are present as monomeric substituents; however, a small proportion of oligomeric side chains consisting of two or more arabinose residues have been reported.

Therefore, although arabinoxylans share a common general structure, one important distinction between them is chain length. Chain length is an important feature, as it influences the industrial applications and health benefits of arabinoxylans. For instance, while arabinoxylans from wheat endosperm have an average chain length higher than 60, arabinoxylan-oligosaccharides (AXOS) extracted from wheat have an average chain length of 2–10.

On the other hand, the molecular structure of arabinoxylans from rice, sorghum, finger millet, and maize bran is slightly different than the one from wheat, rye, and barley, since the side branches contain, in addition to arabinose residues, small amounts of other compounds, which can confer additional health benefits or physicochemical properties.

Arabinoxylans general structure

Not all arabinoxylans share the same structure

Arabinoxylans from various cereals and different plant tissues share the same general molecular structure. However, depending on the genus and species, the amount and structure of arabinoxylans in a particular tissue may differ drastically, which affects not only their physicochemical properties, but also their health benefits.

Arabinoxylans as part of dietary fibre have many potential physiological effects along the gastrointestinal tract. These effects are dependent on a complex mixture of molecular and physical properties of arabinoxylan preparations, as well as on the site, rate, and extent of their digestion and fermentation in the gut.

These differences are reflected, among others, in the degree of polymerization (chain length), solubility, degree of substitution or presence of other substituents, such as feruloyl groups.

• Degree of polymerization

It represents the length of the arabinoxylan chain, and it is related to a greater bifidogenic effect. [1]

For instance, native arabinoxylans from wheat endosperm have an average degree of polymerization higher than 60 and, often, higher than 100; while other fibres such as arabinoxylan-oligosaccharides (AXOS) and inulin typically have a degree of polymerization of 2–10. [2]

• Solubility

The wheat endosperm contains the highest amount of soluble arabinoxylans, which is associated with a greater bifidogenic effect.

Insoluble arabinoxylans are typically found in the bran, stalks or corn stover, and are not likely to be digested in the large intestine.

Moreover, the extraction of water-insoluble arabinoxylans requires the use of cell wall blasting enzymes or strong alkaline chemicals.

Such heavy enzymatic or chemical treatment has a negative impact on both chain length and ferulic acid bonds. [1] Often, these extracted molecules are no longer arabinoxylans, but have become AXOS.

• Degree of substitution

It represents the ratio of arabinose to xylose residues. The presence of arabinose substitution also affects the fermentation ability of microorganisms.

While arabinoxylans support the growth of some bacterial species, unsubstituted xylans are not fermented by any of the probiotic bacteria.

Unsubstituted xylans form insoluble aggregates and hinder the accessibility of the bacteria. [1]

• Presence of substituents

The beneficial role of arabinoxylans in the human diet may also be associated with the presence of other substituents, such as ferulic acid covalently bound to these polymers.

Ferulic acid is considered a natural antioxidant, food antimicrobial agent, anti-inflammatory agent, photoprotectant and food flavour precursor. [3]

In conclusion, although arabinoxylans from various cereals share the same general structure, the specific structure varies greatly. These differences in structure are characterized by different factors (degree of polymerization, solubility…), which determine the potential health benefits and physicochemical properties of arabinoxylans, thus affecting the industrial applications of these molecules.


Which ingredients shoul be included in a pre-workout formula

Which ingredients should a pre-workout formula include?

Which ingredients should a pre-workout formula include?

January 13th, 2022

If you are looking for the ideal pre-workout formula, you came to the right place. In this article, we explore the most relevant ingredients that your pre-workout formula should include to target power, focus and endurance.

Which ingredients shoul be included in a pre-workout formula

Tingles and rashes, this is what the average gym visitor is looking for in a pre-workout formula. However, sometimes it can be difficult to choose the right product due to the endless lists of ingredients.

You may find yourself asking questions like: “Do I really need all these things?”, “What is it that really matters?”. If this is the case, in this article, we explore a few effective ingredients to target the 3 main benefits a high-quality pre-workout should provide: power, focus and endurance.

What is a pre-workout?

Pre-workouts are known to most as cocktails of rash- and tingle-causing formulations. However, these days, formulations are more sophisticated than they used to be. They are consumed by athletes from all disciplines briefly prior to their workout or training.

The goal of consuming these types of formulas is to enhance acute exercise performance [1]. You can find pre-workouts in different forms, like drinks, gels or capsules, yet ready-to-drink powders are by far the most common format.

Getting the most out of your workout

If you are considering consuming a pre-workout for improving your performance, you can pay attention to a few things before buying.

First, you would like to have an effective product that addresses three main benefits: power, focus and endurance.

Further, you would like this product to have a rapid onset of these effects, ideally within 15-30 minutes of intake.

Finally, you can consider choosing a formula that contains natural ingredients and avoid consuming high amounts of stimulants like caffeine.

In the next section, we look at the ingredients that you should be looking for in a pre-workout.

Ingredients for power

These ingredients provide fuel to maximize high-intensity movements within your training or workout [2].

Citrulline malate. Clinical dose: 6 g

This ingredient consists of citrulline, a non-essential amino acid, and malic acid, an intermediate in the citric acid cycle.

Citrulline malate is linked to improved blood flow during exercise by augmenting nitric oxide (NO) levels, as citrulline is a NO precursor [3].

Currently, it is unclear whether the performance improvement is linked to this mechanism, but several studies support an improvement in peak power output after citrulline malate consumption [4,5].

Creatine. Clinical dose: 3 g

Creatine is one of the most well-researched ingredients in sports nutrition. Creatine supplementation increases intramuscular creatine levels. Short-term energy generation in muscle tissue comes virtually 100% from creatine – the phosphorylated isoform, Cr-P.

Daily intake has been demonstrated to promote anaerobic performance in the gold standard Wingate Test [6]. Researchers also found beneficial effects on exercise recovery with creatine intake, reducing exercise-induced muscle damage [7].

Ingredients for focus

These ingredients make sure that you can focus on your movements to execute them with high precision [2]. Focus is more famously referred to as mind-muscle connection.

Berry anthocyanins. Clinical dose: 15 mg

If you are looking for an alternative to caffeine, you should check out berry anthocyanins. This group of bioactive compounds has been demonstrated to increase neurotransmitter levels, improving connectivity in the brain.

Specifically, Aronia melanocarpa anthocyanins aid in improving cognitive functions: eye-hand coordination, psychomotor speed and focus [8,9].

Caffeine. Clinical dose: 200 mg

Similar to creatine, caffeine is one of the most well-researched ingredients in sports nutrition [2], often referred to as the primary ingredient responsible for acute ergogenic effects.

Low doses (3 mg/kg body weight) have been linked to improved alertness, vigilance, mood and cognitive processes during exercise [10].

However, a comparison between non-caffeine and caffeine-containing pre-workout formulas concluded that the caffeine-containing pre-workout reduces calmness. If you are training in the evening, this might be a reason to pass on caffeine [11].

Ingredients for endurance

These ingredients are important to provide nutrients to feel energized until the end of your workout [2].

Beta-alanine. Clinical dose 4-6 g

Beta-alanine is a carnosine precursor, a compound that buffers lactate build-up in the muscle tissue, prolonging the feeling of soreness.

It has been shown that 4-6 g of beta-alanine consumption per day for two weeks improves high-intensity exercise performance. Regular consumption maintains a certain level of intramuscular carnosine levels, as beta-alanine is the limiting factor in carnosine production [12].

Carbohydrates. Dose depending on exercise type [13]

This ingredient depends a lot on the exercise type you are performing. Typical gym sessions last between 45-120 minutes, for which a small amount of rapidly absorbed carbohydrates shortly before exercise can be beneficial.

Carbohydrates are the main energy source during resistance exercise and are mobilized from glycogen stores. A small amount of carbohydrates is able to support glycogen store replenishment [14].

Endurance exercise is typical of a longer duration and would require a larger pre-workout carbohydrate amount to optimize glycogen stores. Slow-release carbohydrates could be a consideration for this type of athlete, as they deliver energy over a longer period of time.

Citrus flavonoids (hesperidin) – Power and endurance in one ingredient

If you want to take your pre-workout to the next level, an additional ingredient you may want to include in your pre-workout formula, are citrus flavonoids (hesperidin).

WATTS’UP® is a natural Citrus sinensis extract researched and developed by BioActor. The recommended daily dose (clinical dose) for this ingredient is 400-500 mg.

Two randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials conducted by BioActor confirmed that WATTS’UP® is able to significantly improve peak force, endurance capacity and anaerobic power in trained subjects.

Further research revealed that WATTS’UP® works by stimulating nitric oxide (NO) synthesis in blood vessels, thus stimulating a better blood flow, and by increasing mitochondria efficiency and respiration capacity [15, 16].


A promising ingredient for gaming supplements

Brainberry® – A promising ingredient for gaming supplements

Brainberry® – A promising ingredient for gaming supplements

January 11th, 2022

Brainberry® is an Aronia melanocarpa extract that provides an innovative and natural way to boost gaming performance in a safe and effective way. If you plan to get rid of typical sugar- and stimulant-loaded supplements and energy drinks, Brainberry® may be the healthier alternative you are looking for. Thanks to its high content in functional anthocyanins, it promises to enhance gamers’ experience by providing sustained crash-free energy, as well as clinically proven brain benefits.

A promising ingredient for gaming supplements

Why are supplements relevant for gaming?

Gaming has grown exponentially over the last few years, not only in amateur gamers but also in professional ones– eSports.

If you are a gamer yourself, you may have already noticed that gaming requires an incredible number of mental skills. Indeed, gaming is continuous and with very few breaks. Therefore, you need to manage a high cognitive workload, especially if your session will last for an extended period of time.

Visual-spatial skills are essential. These skills allow you to analyse, recognize and rapidly respond to changes on the screen. In addition, as gaming sessions can last for hours, enhanced attention and focus are crucial too. You need to have the skills to stay focused and alert, without getting sleepy and distracted.

Lastly, when gaming, it is important that you manage emotions, such as anger, anxiety and stress, as these can negatively impact your performance.

Even though nutrition has been often overlooked by most gamers, the supplement industry for this segment is growing exponentially, showing that more and more attention is being paid to this important aspect.

Over the last year, in fact, several brands have launched gaming formulas on the market and supplement use is continuously increasing amongst gamers looking to up their gaming performance. There is a wide range of products tailored to gamers, ranging from powders to capsules, functional drinks and even gummies.

Whether you are a competitive gamer or not, taking care of your body and mind through proper nutrition, supplements, and rest can yield the best results.

What is the main problem with most gaming supplements and energy drinks?

Supplements have the potential to enhance your cognitive performance when gaming. As mentioned, together with the increased number of gamers, gaming supplement and energy drink interest and consumption has significantly grown in the last years.

However, as you may have experienced, many of these products contain high amounts of caffeine and sugars. High intakes of these two compounds are generally associated with negative health effects.

After a high caffeine intake, you may experience tachycardia, jitters, headaches or disrupted sleep [1, 2, 3]. In fact, excessive caffeine consumption can have a negative impact on your brain performance.  On top of this, a high caffeine consumption during the teenage years is associated with an increased risk of suffering from anxiety disorders in adulthood [4].

On the other hand, a high sugar intake may lead you to unhealthy weight gain and dental caries, both undesired health effects. Moreover, high sugar spikes in the blood are often followed by an energy crash, which is not ideal when you need to be focused.

If you plan to get rid of typical sugar- and stimulant-loaded supplements and energy drinks, Brainberry® may be the healthier alternative you are looking for.

What is Brainberry®?

Brainberry® is an Aronia melanocarpa extract, standardized for high levels of the anthocyanin cyanidin-3-O-galactoside. This ingredient is clinically validated to improve focus and psychomotor control.

The consumption of anthocyanins has been associated with an improvement in cognition skills, such as memory, attention and psychomotor speed [5, 6, 7].

The active cyanidins present in Aronia berry extract in the form of cyaniding-3-O-galactoside are able to cross the blood-brain barrier and contribute to brain perfusion.

In the hippocampus, cyanidin-3-O-galactoside lowers the activity of acetylcholine esterase, triggering an increase in acetylcholine, which results in improved neuronal signalling. This leads to faster and more accurate reactions due to improved visual processing speed and psychomotor control.

Brainberry® is water-soluble, easy to formulate and has a pleasant taste. Its possible applications include liquid forms (e.g. ready-to-drink formulas), chewable tablets, gummies, effervescent tablets, stick packs and capsules.

What makes Brainberry® an ideal ingredient for gaming supplements?

Brainberry® is the ideal ingredient for gaming supplements for several reasons:

• 100% natural. Extracted from high-quality Aronia berries from the Baltics, it is a completely natural ingredient.

• Clinically proven. It has been validated in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

• Increased visual processing speed. Its hero compound, cyanidin-3-O-galactoside, significantly improves psychomotor control, resulting in better eye-hand coordination.

• Tested in gamers. It has been successfully tested in a consumer study with active gamers.

• Low dosage and stimulant-free. The recommended daily dose is 65 mg. It does not contain stimulants, which are usually accompanied by undesired side effects. This makes it a healthier option compared to other solutions high stimulants.

• High bioavailability. The bioavailability of the active compound present in Brainberry®, cyanidin-3-O-galactoside, has been evaluated and it has demonstrated a rapid absorption.

• Easy to formulate. Thanks to its excellent solubility and pleasant taste, it is possible to include it in a wide range of forms (e.g. drinks, gummies, capsules…).

What type of research has been conducted with Brainberry®?

Double-blind placebo-controlled trial

Brainberry® has been investigated in the first-ever study to link Aronia berry extract to improved cognitive performance. A 12-week double-blind placebo-controlled clinical study that included 101 subjects linked Aronia berry extract (Brainberry®) to a significant increase in psychomotor speed, eye-hand coordination, and focus.

After only 6 weeks of supplementation with 65 mg of Brainberry® daily, a significant improvement in psychomotor speed was observed, with even a further increase for the rest of the trial (12 weeks).

Brainberry psychomotor speed result

After 12 weeks, concentration was increased by 43% in the group supplemented with 65 mg of Brainberry®. [8]

Brainberry focus result

Consumer study with active gamers

More recently, a consumer study was conducted in active gamers using Brainberry®. Twenty-one healthy young recreational active gamers consumed 65 mg of Brainberry® daily for 7 days.

After just one dose of Brainberry®, participants successfully reported a significant improvement in the most relevant measures for gaming performance, such as eye-hand coordination, focus, reaction time and energy.

As gamers need fast-acting noticeable effects, the significant improvements in eye-hand coordination, focus, energy and reaction after a single dose, confirmed the effectiveness of Brainberry®.

What’s perhaps even more important, is that these improvements were sustained after one week of supplementation.

Brainberry gamer study results

As mentioned before, mood is also key during a gaming session. In fact, not being able to deal with difficult emotions (i.e. anger, stress, anxiety) that are likely to arise while competing, negatively impact performance. Interestingly, the participants in the study reported an improvement in mood parameters after one week of supplementation with Brainberry®.

It is important to point out that supplementation with Brainberry® after the seven days, did not have any negative effects on fatigue, sleep quality and anxiety levels. It is well-known that these types of complaints are frequently reported by subjects (often gamers) who consume large quantities of sugar- and stimulant-loaded energy drinks.

The bottom line

Brainberry® is an Aronia melanocarpa extract that provides an innovative and healthy solution to boost gaming performance in a natural and safe way. Thanks to its high content in functional anthocyanins, it promises to enhance gamers’ experience by providing sustained, crash-free energy and clinically proven brain benefits.

Brainberry® is the perfect alternative to supplements and energy drinks that are high in sugar and caffeine. It allows limiting these compounds in your diet while offering sustained crash-free energy, as well as clinically proven brain benefits.