Cyanidin-3-O-Galactoside: A Natural Compound for Brain Health

A Natural Compound for Brain Health

February 23rd, 2022

Cyanidin 3-O-Galactoside is a powerful anthocyanidin naturally present in some foods and found in particularly high concentrations in Aronia melanocarpa berries (chokeberries). Research has demonstrated that this active compound is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and play a beneficial role in brain health and cognition. Cyanidin 3-O-Galactoside is believed to stimulate neurogenesis, improve neuron plasticity and reduce neuronal damage.


What is Cyanidin 3-O-Galactoside?

Cyanidin 3-O-galactoside (Cy3Gal), also known as ‘Idaein’, belongs to the class of organic compounds called anthocyanins and, more specifically, to the anthocyanidin-3-O-glycosides.

Cy3Gal is a water-soluble molecule found in high concentrations in some fruits –red-skinned apples and berries in particular– and it is responsible for their characteristic pigmentation.

Aronia melanocarpa berries, also known as chokeberries, contain the highest Cy3Gal content of all fruits, and are the most practical and efficient natural source to use for mechanical, water-based extraction of Cy3Gal in a high concentration.

Several health benefits of Cy3Gal in humans have been researched due to its excellent antioxidant capacity as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties [1].

However, brain health benefits and improved cognition are perhaps the most interesting when it comes to the health benefits provided by this active compound.

Cyanidin 3-O-Galactoside and brain health benefits

One of the most interesting properties associated with Cy3gal is the potential effect on brain health and cognition.

Cy3Gal is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and enter a wide range of brain regions, including the cortex, cerebellum and hippocampus.

In the hippocampus, Cy3Gal lowers the activity of acetylcholine esterase, triggering an increase in acetylcholine, which results in improved neuronal signalling.

At the same time, Cy3Gal increases the activity of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), resulting in increased neuron plasticity. [2]

Moreover, according to a recently published study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry administration of Cy3Gal for 8 weeks in ageing mice relieved neuronal damage in the hippocampus and cortex [3].

The researchers determined that protein kinase B (AKT) may be the target by Cy3Gal, which played a beneficial role in controlling the brain’s energy metabolism, suggesting that early intervention with Cy3Gal could promote neuroprotection.

All in all, scientific evidence shows that Cy3Gal may produce neuroprotective activity and improve cognitive function [1, 4, 5].

Cyanidin 3-O-Galactoside: Brainberry®’s hero compound

Cy3Gal is one of the main focuses of BioActor, which together with Maastricht University (“UM”) established a Public-Private Partnership (“PPP”) to study the effects of Brainberry® on brain fitness and cognition.

Brainberry® is an Aronia melanocarpa extract standardized for high levels of Cy3Gal, developed by BioActor.

Brainberry® was 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 [6].


The Link between Gut and Brain Health

The Link between Gut and Brain Health

February 21st, 2022

The bidirectional communication system between your gut and brain is called the gut-brain axis. These two organs are connected through the vagus nerve, neurotransmitters, production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) by gut microbiota and the immune system. This gut-brain link works in both directions. Gut bacteria affect brain health and, therefore, altering your gut bacteria through compounds such as probiotics and prebiotics may improve your brain health.


The Gut-Brain Connection

Did you ever “go with the gut” to make a decision? Have you ever felt “butterflies in your stomach” when nervous? This is because the brain and the gastrointestinal system are closely connected.

The bidirectional communication system between your gut and brain is called the gut-brain axis. These two organs are connected both physically through the vagus nerve and biochemically through hormones and neurotransmitters.

Gut microbiota has an important impact on the gut-brain axis, interacting not only locally with intestinal cells and enteric nervous system (ENS), but also directly with the central nervous system (CNS).

The Vagus Nerve

Your gut contains 500 million neurons, connected to your brain through the nervous system [1].

One of the biggest nerves connecting your gut and brain is the vagus nerve, which sends signals both ways. Gut microbiota communication with the brain, therefore, involves the vagus nerve [2].

Conditions such as Chron’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) involve brain-gut dysfunctions where the vagus nerve is an important component.

People suffering from these conditions actually have a reduced vagal tone, which indicates a decreased function of the vagus nerve [3].


Your gut and brain are also connected through neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters produced in the brain have an impact on our feelings and emotions.

Many of these neurotransmitters are produced by our gut cells and microbiota as well.

Around 90% of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of happiness, is produced by enterochromaffin cells, a group of gut mucosal cells [4].

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that helps control feelings of fear and anxiety, is also produced by many species of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium in the gut microbiota [5].

Production of SCFAs by gut microbiota

Gut microbiota produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), such as butyrate, propionate and acetate.

SCFAs can affect brain function in different ways. They are able to stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, mucosal serotonin release and influence the memory and learning process in the brain [6].

Immune system

Your gut and brain are also linked through the immune system. The microbiota provides essential signals for the development and function of the immune system.

The microbiota, its metabolites and components are not only necessary for immune homeostasis, but they also influence your susceptibility to many immune-mediated diseases and disorders [7].

If the gut barrier becomes leaky, bacteria and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) –an inflammatory toxin produced by some bacteria– can enter the blood, causing inflammation.

Inflammation and high LPS content in the blood are associated with brain disorders, such as depression and dementia [8].

The Role of Probiotics and Prebiotics in the Link between Gut and Brain

The gut-brain connection works in both directions. Gut bacteria affect brain health and, therefore, altering your gut bacteria may improve or worsen your brain health.

Probiotics are beneficial live bacteria. Psychobiotics are a class of probiotics that are able to produce and deliver neuroactive substances such as GABA and serotonin, which act on the brain-gut axis [9].

Studies have found that some psychobiotics have antidepressant or anxiolytic activity. These effects may be mediated via the vagus nerve, spinal cord, or neuroendocrine systems [10].

Prebiotics are compounds derived from non-digestible carbohydrates, mostly fibre. Prebiotics may also affect brain health by lowering cortisol levels, the stress hormone [11].

Beneficial Foods for the Gut-Brain Axis

Some foods can be beneficial for the gut-brain axis. These include the following:

• Probiotic foods. Probiotics can be found in fermented foods and drinks, such as yoghurt, kefir, tempeh or kombucha.

Prebiotic foods. Prebiotics can be found in high fibre foods, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and whole-grain products.

• Omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fatty acids can improve microbiota diversity [12]. These fats can be found in fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring and sardines.

• Polyphenol-rich foods. Polyphenols are found in foods such as cocoa, citrus, green tea, olive leaf and coffee. These compounds, digested by gut bacteria, increase healthy bacteria strains and may improve cognition [13].

• Tryptophan-rich foods. The amino acid tryptophan is the precursor of serotonin. Tryptophan is found in milk, cheese, oats, turkey and chicken, among others.

Press release new publication on Bonolive BioActor

New clinical study on patented olive leaf extract Bonolive® shows joint health benefits

New clinical study on patented olive leaf extract Bonolive® shows joint health benefits

Maastricht, Netherlands, February 8th, 2022

Press release
Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease has recently published a new clinical study with Bonolive®, a patented bone and joint health ingredient based on olive polyphenol. The new publication suggests that Bonolive® may improve joint functional capacity and reduce knee pain.

Press release new publication on Bonolive BioActor

New randomized clinical trial published with Bonolive®

Bonolive® is a natural polyphenol extract from olive leaves, developed by BioActor. Bonolive® was already studied for bone protecting effects in post-menopausal women and is covered by a patent on the bone health application of the extract.

A recent randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial including 124 subjects demonstrated a large and significant treatment effect of Bonolive® in improving joint discomfort and reducing pain in subjects with knee pain.

Participants in the study received either a placebo or supplementation with a 125mg capsule containing Bonolive® (40% oleuropein), twice a day for 6 months.

The conclusion indicates that Bonolive® was able to improve the KOOS score (Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome) and to reduce walking pain in subjects with knee pain.

The researchers from the Liege University Hospital suggested that oleuropein may relieve nociceptive pain triggered by the mechanical strain because of its calcium channel blocker property.

N-type calcium channels are indeed important for neuronal excitability and play a role in pain genesis. As a blocker of these channels, Bonolive® seems to produce an antinociceptive effect, thus reducing pain.

These benefits were not associated with any adverse effect after 6 months of treatment, showing excellent tolerability of the extract. Moreover, the study confirmed yet again the great bioavailability of Bonolive®. The main metabolites of the extract, oleuropein aglycone, hydroxytyrosol and homovanillyl alcool were measured and showed a rapid rise in the urine of all treated subjects.

This study was conducted in the context of a collaboration with Nestlé Health Science, aiming to strengthen the scientific evidence for the benefits of Bonolive®.

“We are proud of the results achieved thanks to this collaboration”, says Hans van der Saag, CEO and founder of BioActor. “Mobility is extremely important for the quality of life and a core indicator of healthy ageing. These new scientific insights on Bonolive® will allow us to expand its applications to mobility targeting products”.

About BioActor

BioActor, based at the Maastricht Health Campus, Netherlands, is a life science company that has developed a range of proprietary bioactive ingredients for the nutrition & consumer health industries. The company focuses on the development of plant-based health ingredients for active living and healthy ageing. The goal is to provide the nutrition & consumer health industries with clinically tested innovations that confer a real health benefit to the consumer.

Feel free to contact BioActor via for more information on the possibilities Bonolive® has to offer.

Further information can be found on: and

What are prebiotics

What are prebiotics? Types and health benefits

What are prebiotics? Types and health benefits

February 7th, 2022

Prebiotics are a big topic in nutrition these days. As with probiotics, their relationship with human health has gathered a lot of interest in recent years. Prebiotics are compounds derived from non-digestible carbohydrates that confer health benefits to the host by selectively stimulating the growth of intestinal bacteria.

What are prebiotics

What are prebiotics?

Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that confer health benefits to the host by selectively stimulating the growth and/or activity of a limited number of our intestinal bacteria [1].

Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), and trans-galacto-oligosaccharides (TOS) are the most common prebiotics.

Fermentation of prebiotics by gut microbiota produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), such as lactate, butyrate, and propionate. These products have multiple beneficial effects on the body, as SCFAs are small enough to enter blood circulation through gut cells.

The difference between probiotics and prebiotics is that, while probiotics are beneficial bacteria, prebiotics are the food for these bacteria. Both are important for human health, but they have different roles. Probiotics are live bacteria and prebiotics are compounds derived from non-digestible carbohydrates –mostly fibre.

What are the different types of prebiotics?

There are various types of prebiotics. These include:

• Fructans. In this category, we can find inulin and fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS). Several bacterial species can be promoted directly or indirectly by fructans.

• Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS). GOS can greatly stimulate Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, as well as Enterobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes to a lesser extent [2].

• Hemicellulose-derived oligosaccharides. These are derived from hemicellulosic macromolecules such as arabinoxylans. Arabinoxylans have demonstrated to produce a strong prebiotic activity, in particular bifidogenic.

• Starch and glucose-derived oligosaccharides. Resistant starch, a type of starch resistant to the upper gut digestion, can stimulate the production of butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) [3]. Polydextrose, a glucose-derived oligosaccharide, can also stimulate Bifidobacteria [4].

• Pectic oligosaccharides (POS). Some oligosaccharides come from a polysaccharide called pectin. This type of oligosaccharide is called pectic oligosaccharide (POS).

• Non-carbohydrate oligosaccharides. Although carbohydrates are more likely to meet the criteria to be considered prebiotics, there are other compounds not classified as carbohydrates, but that can be classified as prebiotics, such as some flavanols [5].

What are the health benefits of prebiotics?

Research shows that prebiotics have several health benefits. These include the following:

• Modulation of the microbiota. Prebiotics provide energy sources to gut microbiota. This way, they are able to modulate the function and composition of these microorganisms [6].

• Modulation of the immune system. SCFAs have multiple benefits in the immune system, such as increasing antibody responses toward viral vaccines, like influenza and measles [7].

• Prevention of colorectal cancer. Fermentation products of probiotics, such as butyrate, have protective effects against the risk of colorectal cancer [8, 9].

• Prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis. Prebiotics can prevent the development of this life-threatening disease in preterm infants [10].

• Decrease the risk of allergic skin diseases. Prebiotics decrease both the risk of development and the severity of atopic dermatitis [11, 12].

• Reduction of the risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Prebiotics are able to lower the risk of CVD by reducing the inflammatory elements, improving lipid profile [7].

• Increase in calcium absorption. Some prebiotics can help increase calcium absorption [13].

How can I add prebiotics to my diet?

Prebiotics play an important role in human health, so it is important to consume them. They can be found in foods that are high in fibre, such as vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole-grain products. Foods that are high in prebiotic fibre include:

• Wheat
• Soybeans
• Oats
• Bananas
• Tomatoes
• Berries
• Asparagus
• Garlic
• Leeks
• Onions
• Chicory

Another option to increase prebiotic intake are supplements. They can be purchased in health food stores and online. They can be found in capsule form, in powder blends or even in bars.

Prebiotics are generally considered safe. They can have some minor side effects, such as diarrhea, bloating and flatulence. However, prebiotics’ chain length is the main parameter related to the development of these side effects.

Prebiotics with a shorter chain length have more side effects because they are fermented earlier and more rapidly, while longer chain prebiotics –such as arabinoxylans from wheat– are fermented later and slower.