Ways to increase focus in students

Ways to increase focus in students

January 19th, 2023

Studying can become an overwhelming task due to focus loss. However, the good news is that there are plenty of productive ways to improve your focus. Planning tasks beforehand, practicing meditation, exercising and also changing your eating habits are just a few things you could do as a student to gain that extra kick of focus.

Focus loss in students

The process of studying can become a quite challenging task for students these days. A lot of effort is needed to concentrate on study materials for various reasons such as information load, distractions, lack of focus and other external factors.

Students however tend to overlook the obstacles they face and therefore get used to bad studying habits. These lead to physical and mental fatigue making studying an unattainable goal.

Why do students lose their focus?

Even if the end of the pandemic has alleviated students from isolation, online courses, and reinstated interaction with their peers; it has also distorted their focus when following courses on academic grounds.

Distractions caused by social media are an important reason for focus loss. This is because the use of mobile phones and the internet is an integral part of their daily life, especially since it has become the primary communication tool these days.

Bad eating habits and unstable sleeping patterns can also lead to the loss of focus. Most students tend to “make their lives easier” by avoiding nutritious meal preparations and thus consuming unhealthy snacks and food options.

Also, studies have shown that students have an overall poor sleep quality consisting of disrupted and short sleep patterns (1). These factors can all affect mental health and the ability to concentrate leading to nonproductive behaviors (2).

How to increase your focus as a student

The good news is that there are plenty of productive ways to improve your focus as a student.

First of all, a planner might narrow the overwhelming feeling and help reach achievement when starting a new task by maintaining effective schedules. This will also reduce anxiety and stress and will eventually improve concentration and productivity.

Practicing mindfulness and meditation can also help with building focus. Taking short breaks in between study sessions will aid with clearing your mind. This is vital to mental health and concentration.

Another way to enhance focus is brain training. The brain benefits from regular exercise and there are ways to specifically train your brain. Memory games, sudoku and word searchers are a successful way to stay off your phone while activating different parts of the brain and boost your concentration.

These are all exciting tips, but did you know nutrition and eating patterns also have an influence on your ability to focus?

Foods that can improve your focus

Nutrition affects your brain performance. There are foods known for improving attentiveness when incorporated in one’s daily diet. Berries, fatty fish, nuts, and eggs are just some options which have shown to have great effects on brain health (3).

While diet is key to a healthier lifestyle, students often find it difficult to retain a nutritious diet due to preparation time and costs. While keeping in mind that healthy balanced diet is essential, adding supplements is a way to boost your nutrient intake!

Essential vitamins and minerals

Supplements are an effective way to get the vitamins and minerals you need. Omega-3, vitamin D, C & B12 and magnesium are good options for memory and concentration and have been found to contribute to overall enhanced concentration and focus.

In fact, studies have shown that people with a low Vitamin B12 and D intake show a poor learning ability (4).

Anthocyanins

Fruits containing antioxidants are highly necessary to be included in your diet, especially when willing to boost your focus. More specifically, a category of antioxidants shown to have beneficial effects related to focus are anthocyanins. These anthocyanins have been associated with increasing cognitive performance in several studies.

Anthocyanins are antioxidants better known for giving fruits and vegetables a distinctive blue, purple or red color. (5)

Examples of antocyanin-containing fruits are blueberries, cherries, red grapes, and black plums. However, one of the highest concentrations of anthocyanins has been found in Aronia Melanocarpa, also known as the black chokeberry.

Aronia Melanocarpa contains high levels of the anthocyanin Cyanidin-3-0-Galactoside which has been shown to have effects on brain health and cognition. (6)

Curious to know more about the anthocyanin Cyanidin-3-O-galactoside? Click here!

Boost your focus with these tips

Studying properly is a skill that is learnt over time. Being able to concentrate on studying is an integral part of this skill. However, by integrating the above-mentioned techniques in your daily lives, you can certainly get an extra boost of focus and allow yourself to come close to your ideal studying practice.


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What is (peri)menopause and which changes occur?

What is (peri)menopause and which changes occur?

January 4th, 2023

Menopause leads to changes in women’s bodies and marks the end of the childbearing years. It involves hormonal changes that can lead to both physical and mental symptoms that are better known as menopause symptoms. Because menopause does not occur overnight, a distinction is made between the period called perimenopause and the period that comes after, namely (post)menopause. Each of these periods comes with their own issues and symptoms.

What-is-perimenopause-and-what-are-the-symptoms

What is menopause?

Menopause is marked by the moment that no menstruation has occurred for at least 12 months. This occurs on average when women are between 45 to 55 years of age. However, this varies from woman to woman and depends on multiple factors.

Entering menopause is not an immediate process and does not happen overnight: it is a process that can last for years (1). For this reason we make a distinction between menopause and perimenopause.

What is perimenopause?

The explicit sign that menopause has started is the definitive cessation of menstruation. This does not occur suddenly, but after a long period of irregularity, which begins to manifest itself during perimenopause.

Perimenopause is the phase in which the first bodily changes related to menopause occur. These changes are evident signs of decreasing levels of estrogen and progesterone. (2)

During perimenopause, estrogen deficiency occurs that can no longer be compensated by changes in ovarian hormone production. This decline in ovarian function is a characteristic trigger of natural menopause and because of it circulating estradiol levels will go down. This reduction in estradiol levels will prevent the ovulation from happening, which is thought to be the reason for irregular menstruation.

Postmenopause is the period that begins after 12 consecutive months without menstruation. From this moment on the discomforts related to (peri)menopause will become lighter.

What are the symptoms of perimenopause?

The hormonal changes associated with menopause can affect physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being. The symptoms that are experienced during and after menopause vary greatly from one person to another.

While some women suffer few to no symptoms, others may experience severe symptoms affecting their daily activities and quality of life. In some cases, the symptoms may last for various years (3).

Symptoms of perimenopause

Symptoms that can occur during perimenopause include, but are not limited to:
Irregular menstruation cycle, this is a clear sign that hormones are starting to act up.

Menstruation that is heavier or lighter than normal, which indicates a change in hormonal balance

Weight gain, and a general accentuation of roundness can become a very delicate aspect to manage, also from an emotional point of view.

Changes in hair quality, most women find that their hair loses volume and length around menopause.

Headaches, the hormone changes that happen as women approach menopause mean that all types of headaches, including migraines, become more common.

Muscle aches, estrogen affects your cartilage (which is the connective tissue in joints) as well as the replacement of bone, this plays a part in inflammation and pain.

Bone issues, though it is less noticeable, bone health diminishes during menopause. For this reason, a lot of products exist to improve bone health during (peri)menopause.

Symptoms of (post)menopause

As stated before, after perimenopause starts the actual menopause, which brings its own types of symptoms. These symptoms include:

Night sweats and hot flashes are one of the most typical effects of hormonal imbalance. Many women experience such a sudden rush of feeling hot.

Anxiety or irritability. There are a lot of physical changes during menopause, but emotional changes often occur as well. This happens because the drop in estrogen and progesterone lead to a decrease in expression of several brain chemicals that make you feel calm, happy or energetic. This can cause women to feel anxious or irritable.

Mood swings also occur due to the hormonal changes. Fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone lead to fluctuations in other brain chemicals as well, leading to these mood swings.

Depression is a symptom that can occur during both perimenopause and menopause and is more severe compared to anxiety, irritability or mood swings. Changes in hormones might put women more at risk for depression and this also falls under the emotional changes during menopause.

Insomnia: overall studies show that women in menopause have more trouble with sleeping. These disturbance include difficulty getting to sleep, to stay asleep, early morning wakenings and problems with the overall quality of sleep.

Fatigue, Low energy is one common effects that many women experience before, during, and after this transition time. This often is a result of the sleeping problems described before, but has to do with the previously mentioned ‘energetic’ chemicals in your brain as well.

Dry skin, due to decreasing estrogen levels can become less supple, smooth, and soft. Fine wrinkles, dark spots, and less elasticity are usually not far behind.

Relieving symptoms of perimenopause and (post)menopause

Menopause is a period of hormonal changes marked by physical and emotional changes. A lot of people worry about this and it can be hard to experience these symptoms. For this reason, there are several ways to alleviate these symptoms. Of course, medicinal products are available, but natural ways to relieve symptoms exist as well. Changes in diet and physical activity could be a way to relieve symptoms associated with menopause.


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Short-chain fatty acids and their importance to gut health

Short-chain fatty acids and their importance to gut health

December 14th, 2022

Short-chain fatty acids are saturated fatty acids that play an important role in gut health. They have several functions in human metabolism. Increasing the level of short-chain fatty acids in the gut might be a beneficial strategy to support overall health. Consumption of prebiotics and/or postbiotics can lead to higher levels of short-chain fatty acids.

Short-chain-fatty-acids-help-your-gut-health

What are short-chain fatty acids?

The gut microbiome is the community of microorganisms that can be found living in the gut. Evidence that bacteria in the gut are important to your health is growing each day. That’s why it is important to have a good balance of different bacteria in the gut. Not having a well-balanced microbiome is an indicator for several health issues, such as obesity (1).

The bacteria in the gut partially fulfill their role in health by making short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs are saturated fatty acids that contain six or fewer carbon molecules.

SCFAs are produced by the microbiota when they break down dietary fibers and resistant starches that are not metabolized by the body. To break these substrates down, the microbiota do not need oxygen, which is why this process is called anaerobic fermentation.

The most important SCFAs that are produced in the gut are acetate, propionate, and butyrate, and all of them have different effects on gut health (2).

Following the production of SCFAs by microbiota, they are taken up by the first layer of gut cells. They are used directly as fuel by these gut cells and if the colonocytes don’t metabolize them, they are used elsewhere, for example as an energy source for liver cells (3).

The benefits of short-chain fatty acids

Other than being fuel for different types of cells, SCFAs have a beneficial effect on your gut health.

Short-chain fatty acids maintain the intestinal barrier

One of the benefits of SCFAs is that they help maintain the intestinal barrier. The intestinal barrier is important because it forms a layer of cells that separates the inside of your body from everything that passes through your gastrointestinal tract.

The structural integrity of the gut wall is key, as pathogens (e.g., viruses, bacteria, and toxins) can enter the body if there are gaps between cells of the gut wall.

SCFAs help preserve the intestinal barrier by feeding the cells of the gut wall and by stimulating the dilation of blood vessels, resulting in more blood flow to these cells. This is positive as the cells will get more oxygen.

 

Short-chain fatty acids increase mucus production in the gut

SCFAs have also been shown to increase mucus production in the gut. Mucus is a slimy substance that forms a protective layer on your gut wall.

An increase in mucus production is beneficial since the protective layer between the intestinal cells and the contents of your gut will be thicker. The thicker the better, meaning that this improves the function of the mucus and decreases the risks of pathogenic infiltration (3).

 

Short-chain fatty acids reduce gut inflammation

Gut inflammation is often seen in older people or people with irritable bowel syndrome. SCFAs help bring this inflammation down by altering the DNA expression of gut cells.

The result of this alteration is a decrease in the release of chemokines, which are signaling proteins that are usually involved in white blood cell attraction. Reducing the recruitment of white blood cells is an anti-inflammatory action (4).

 

Short-chain fatty acids can induce satiety

Researchers have demonstrated that SCFAs are able to modify food intake by promoting satiety and the SCFA responsible for that is propionate, which is also produced by the gut bacteria.

Propionate is transferred to the liver where it can bind to specific receptors and this leads the liver to start making gut hormones that induce satiety and thus lower hunger (5).

In short, SCFAs are relevant for gut health, but for overall health as well, which means it is valuable to raise the level of SCFAs in the gut. One way to achieve a higher level of SCFAs is by consuming prebiotics and, less familiar to most people, postbiotics.

What are prebiotics?

Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that have a health benefit to the host. There are different types of prebiotics, and they have several health benefits. These health benefits range from supporting your immune system to providing energy to microbiota that help maintain gut health.

Prebiotics are food compounds, such as fibers and starches, that are not digested by the human digestive system. This means that the prebiotics reach the gut and the microbiota while still intact. The microbiota can digest them, leading to the creation of substrates that can be useful for human health.

How can prebiotics lead to higher levels of short-chain fatty acids?

Prebiotics go through anaerobic fermentation, which results in SCFA production. This means that taking prebiotics can help increase SCFA levels in the gut. As we have mentioned above, there are several reasons why you would want this! 

There are several food products that contain high levels of prebiotic fibers, but it is also possible to increase prebiotic intake by taking supplements.

One example of a prebiotic fiber food is chicory root. It contains high amounts of prebiotic fiber inulin. Other good foods are arabinoxylan rich foods, such as wheat, corn, rice and oat. Arabinoxylans have a lot of health benefits and they have strong prebiotic properties.

The downside of prebiotics is that everyone has a different microbiome composition, which means that everyone also experiences different outcomes of prebiotic consumption.

For this reason, research has been done on alternatives. This led to an increase in interest in something that is more unknown than prebiotics, namely postbiotics.

Postbiotics are bacterial products, meaning that they aren’t fermented by the gut microbiota after consumption. An example of postbiotics are different short-chain fatty acids, as these are products of the microbiota.

Do you want to know more about postbiotics? Read this article.

How can MicrobiomeX® support SCFA levels?

MicrobiomeX® is an ingredient based on citrus flavonoids that can boost the immune system and improve gut defense. It has several ways to boost gut health and your immune system.

One way MicrobiomeX® helps is by promoting the growth of butyrate-producing strains of bacteria in the gut. Among these are the Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Clostridium leptum and Roseburia. As mentioned before, butyrate is a SCFA that has several health benefits on the host.

Want to read more about MicrobiomeX®? Click here!


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Everything you need to know about Brainberry® and brain health

Everything you need to know about Brainberry® and brain health

November 23rd, 2022

We constantly use the brain to make decisions, to coordinate our movements, to focus and to memorize thousands of things. For this reason it is of utmost importance to make sure our brain is healthy. Every day we learn more about the brain and about how important it is to support our brain’s health. In this article, we will discuss what brain health is, why it is important, and how an ingredient like Brainberry® can help you support it.

Everything-you-need-to-know-about-brainberry-and-brain-health

What is brain health and why is it important?

The brain is a massive network of neurons, that accounts for 2% of our body weight. It is a very active organ that makes a ton of decisions on a daily basis, and despite its weight, it uses up to 20% of our total oxygen per day!

Other than oxygen, the brain needs a lot of nutrients to keep processes running, even when we are not awake. These nutrients are important to keep the brain healthy, meaning that it can function across cognitive, sensory, social, and motor domains. A healthy brain allows a person to live life to its fullest potential, which is why it’s important to keep your brain healthy.

How can you support brain health?

There are plenty of ways to keep your brain healthy. It has been shown that regular exercise is beneficial, but also that enough sleep is good to keep a healthy brain. Both staying socially involved and staying mentally active are also good for brain health and have been shown to ward off depression and stress.

Another way to support your brain health is by improving your gut health. The bidirectional communication system between your gut and brain is called the gut-brain axis and research has shown that gut bacteria and their metabolites affect brain health.

Moreover, your diet plays an enormous role in brain health. The Mediterranean diet is seen as supportive to a well-functioning brain because it includes a wide variation of nutrient-providing foods. Examples of these are seafood, fruits, vegetables, and olives.

Also supplementing with specific compounds can be a useful approach to support brain health. Berry anthocyanins are an example of specific compounds that can exhibit a beneficial effect on brain health and function.

More specifically, Aronia Melanocarpa berries, rich in anthocyanins, have been shown to provide health benefits on immune health, cardiovascular function, and brain health due to their antioxidant properties.

What are Aronia Melanocarpa berries?

Aronia berries are little dark fruits that belong to the Rosaceae Family. They are native to north America but are mostly grown in the Baltic region of Europe, where it was introduced in the first half of the 20th century.

As the locations where the plant is cultivated suggests, the Aronia plant is a low-demanding plant and thrives in harsher and colder regions.

Environmental-benefits-of-Aronia

What are the health benefits of Aronia berries?

Aronia berries have a lot of health benefits. They contain high levels of vitamin C, but the main reason they are healthy is due their high level of polyphenols, anthocyanins and proanthocyanins, which are all types of antioxidants. In fact, they contain one of the highest levels of antioxidants among all berries.

The main reason antioxidants are considered to be healthy, is because they can help to prevent free radicals from damaging the body’s cells. The health benefits of Aronia berries include strengthening the immune system, improving cardiovascular health, and improving brain health. For this function, they are considered a superfruit (1, 2).

Among the anthocyanins in Aronia berries is the phytocompound cyanidin-3-O-galactoside, which is a key molecule for brain health.

What is Cyanidin-3-O-Galactoside?

Cyanidin 3-O-Galactoside (Cy3Gal) is a powerful anthocyanin naturally present in some foods and found in high concentrations in Aronia melanocarpa berries.

Several health benefits of Cy3Gal, also known as Idaein, in humans have been researched due to its excellent antioxidant capacity as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties (3). However, the brain health benefits might be the most interesting aspect of Cy3Gal.

Cy3Gal is a water-soluble molecule, which can cross the blood-brain barrier. Consequently, it can exert a health benefit on several brain regions, including the cortex, cerebellum, and hippocampus.

What brain health benefits are associated with Cyanidin-3-O-galatoside?

Cy3Gal can cross the blood-brain barrier, which allows it to impact brain health in multiple regions of the brain. Firstly, in the hippocampus, Cy3Gal can lower the activity of acetylcholine esterase. As a result, acetylcholine is broken down at a slower rate, resulting in higher levels of this neurotransmitter. This leads to improved neuronal signaling.

In mice, Cy3Gal has been shown to relieve neuronal damage in the hippocampus and cortex and there is evidence that Cy3Gal may improve cognitive function (3, 4).

One of the most interesting effects of Cy3Gal is that it can increase the activity of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which has many beneficial effects.

What is brain-derived neurotrophic factor?

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a protein highly expressed in the central nervous system and especially in the brain. It promotes the growth of neurons, more specifically the dendrites and dendritic spines. This supports the hippocampus, a brain region good for learning and long-term memory. BDNF is also involved in repairing brain damage.

An ideal ingredient to target brain health is the Aronia Melanocarpa extract Brainberry®.

What is Brainberry®?

Brainberry® is an Aronia Melanocarpa extract that is standardized for high levels of Cy3Gal. It is designed to enhance cognitive performance and brain fitness and it has been clinically tested in multiple studies.

Brainberry® contains high levels of Cy3Gal, which makes it an interesting ingredient for brain health formulations to target benefits mentioned before. Even more so, because Brainberry® has been clinically tested in several studies that are further described in its White Paper.

It has been shown that Brainberry® has beneficial effects on cognitive performance, such as attention and psychomotor speed, executive function, and memory. Moreover, effects on vascular function and cardiometabolic risk markers were investigated.

Provided its health benefits, Brainberry® is an interesting ingredient for a wide variety of consumers, such as athletes, gamers and students.

How can Brainberry® support athletes?

Power, endurance and focus are important during sports. Increasing psychomotor speed and hand-eye coordination is an important goal for many athletes. For this reason, there is a diverse collection of products focused on increasing these parameters.

Pre-workout formulas are an example of this. These products 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 (5). Brainberry® can increase focus, psychomotor speed and mental flexibility, which is why it is a good ingredient for a pre-workout formula.

Additionally, Brainberry® has been demonstrated to significantly enhance cognitive performance in 35 professional basketball players. It also improved basketball-specific skills like shooting, rebounding, and dribbling.

How can Brainberry® help gamers?

Gaming requires many skills, such as visual-spatial skills that allow you to analyze, recognize, and rapidly respond to changes on the screen. Besides, gaming sessions can last for hours, which means enhanced attention and focus are crucial.

Brainberry®’s high levels of Cy3Gal, which improves focus and psychomotor control, make it a relevant ingredient for gaming supplements.

This is further supported by a consumer study done with Brainberry® in young, healthy e-gamers. In this study, Brainberry® significantly improved relevant measures for gaming performance, such as hand-eye coordination, focus, reaction time and energy.

How could students benefit from Brainberry®?

There is a lot of pressure on students to perform well during their studies while also being involved in a social environment. They study for entire days, especially during exam periods.

Coffee seems to be a common good for students in these periods, but did you know there are quite some substitutes for coffee that don’t have the downsides of causing stress, anxiety and sometimes sleeping problems?

Brainberry® could be an interesting solution for students that want to stay focused on their studies, but don’t want the well-known caffeine-rush later followed by a crash in energy levels.

That’s because Cy3Gal, the hero-component of Brainberry®, is a powerful antioxidant that supports brain function and focus, without the sometimes-troublesome side-effects of caffeine.

Other benefits of Brainberry®

Except for being clinically proven to enhance psychomotor speed, focus and attention, Brainberry® has other benefits as well. It is 100% natural as it is extracted from high-quality Aronia berries from the Baltics.

The dosage of Brainberry® is very low at 65 mg and it does not contain any stimulants that are usually associated with undesired side effects. This makes Brainberry® a healthier option compared to many stimulants.

The bioavailability of Cy3Gal is very high, which means it is rapidly absorbed by the body. Also, Brainberry® is easy to formulate thanks to its excellent solubility and pleasant taste.

Lastly, there are many environmental benefits of Aronia Melanocarpa. The Aronia plant helps keeping bees healthy and happy, consumes little water and it is naturally organic.

Learn more about Brainberry®

If you are curious to know more about Brainberry®, you can check out the product page of Brainberry® or its website.


the-benefits-and-challenges-of-synbiotics-dietary-supplements

The benefits and challenges of synbiotic dietary supplements

The benefits and challenges of synbiotic dietary supplements

November 8th, 2022

In the last years, synbiotic supplements have emerged as an interesting approach to improve gut health. Instead of using only pre- or probiotics, synbiotic products combine both. There are two types of synbiotics, namely complementary and synergistic synbiotics. Currently, most of the synbiotics on the market are complementary products since the formulation and research of synbiotics are quite challenging. In this article, we will explain synbiotic supplements in more detail, including the benefits and formulation challenges.

the-benefits-and-challenges-of-synbiotics-dietary-supplements

What are synbiotic dietary supplements?

The international scientific association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP), defines synbiotics as: “a mixture comprising live microorganisms and substrate(s) selectively utilized by host microorganisms that confers a health benefit on the host” (1).

There are two types of synbiotic products: complementary and synergistic synbiotics. Complementary synbiotics are the most found on the market. This type should contain pre- and probiotic compounds that clinically show a health benefit together, but also when used independently from each other. Hence, they do not have to interact with each other.

On the other hand, synergistic synbiotics do not necessarily contain pro- or prebiotic compounds. Instead, they should contain microorganisms and substrates that are selectively utilized by the provided bacteria in the product. In this case, the combination should have a greater beneficial effect than the microorganisms or substrates independently (2).

Curious to know about prebiotics? Find out more!

What are the benefits of synbiotic dietary supplements?

Pre- and probiotic products can have beneficial effects on gut health, immune function and the production of beneficial metabolites such as short-chain fatty acids. Synbiotic products could have the same health effects, and they potentially decrease cardiovascular risk factors, markers of insulin resistance and prevalence of metabolic syndrome as well (3).

Furthermore, synbiotic formulations must contain living bacterial strains and the substrates that can be used by these bacterial species specifically. In this way, the species have the chance to feed themselves, proliferate, and adhere to the intestinal wall of the host.

Another advantage of such synergistic dietary supplement formulations, is that they could address the “responder/non-responder” phenomenon (2).

The “responder/non-responder” phenomenon means that some subjects respond to a pre- or probiotic product, whereas others do not experience any beneficial effect. The difference could be caused by the fact that everyone has a unique microbial composition in the gut and therefore reacts differently to the treatments.

By providing the bacterial strains and their substrates simultaneously, the supplied bacteria will have an advantage compared to other bacterial strains that were already present in the gut, since they already have their selectively fermentable substrate to grow on. They could subsequently outcompete some resident microbial strains and establish a niche in the gut.

In other words, the substrate serves as a sort of fertilizer for the supplied bacterial strains and increases the chance that the bacterial strain will colonize and establish in the gut. In this way, it may be more likely that a subject will respond to the supplement or product and experience a beneficial effect!

The main challenges in formulating synbiotic dietary supplements

Although synergistic synbiotics have a lot of potential, formulating them comes with some challenges:

  • Prebiotics or substrates often need to be consumed in larger amounts to have a beneficial effect, which may go along with gastro-intestinal complaints such as feeling bloated or flatulence. To limit these complaints, prebiotics may be added in lower doses, risking the loss of their beneficial health effects.
  • Microorganisms are highly sensitive to the environment, which makes it difficult to store the synbiotic products under many circumstances.
  • The water activity of the substrate: Water activity is a measure of water in a product that is available to react with or attach itself to other material, also known as ‘free’ water. Products with a higher water activity are more likely to be affected by bacteria and fungi. Therefore a substrate with a low water activity should be chosen (4).

Besides formulation challenges, researching the synergistic synbiotic effects comes with some difficulties.

The synbiotics that are now often used in studies have been formulated based on criteria such as shelf life, cost, and availability, rather than on metabolic, functional or other characteristics of the microorganisms or substrates.

In most studies, Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria are included as the probiotic component and inulin, various oligosaccharides, or dietary fibres are chosen as prebiotic ingredient, yet only one human trial showed beneficial effects (5, 6).

To screen for new promising synbiotics, in vitro studies will first be performed because clinical trials are very expensive and time-consuming. In vitro models simulating the lower and upper gastrointestinal can be helpful, such as the TIM1 and TIM2 model. The TIM-2 model is a dynamic gastrointestinal model, which is used for in-vitro research.

These models can be used to assess the survival of a probiotic through the gastrointestinal tract and the effect of synbiotics on gut microbiota.

MicrobiomeX®: the ingredient of choice for your synbiotic formula

To limit the gastro-intestinal complaints caused by high dosages of substrates, other substrates that have beneficial effects in lower dosages, such as polyphenols, could be used. The polyphenols can be transformed into bioactive molecules or into metabolites that can be used by other microorganisms, eventually resulting in a health benefit for the host.

MicrobiomeX® is a first-in-class Flavobiotic® researched and developed by BioActor. It is a natural ingredient from citrus, consisting of two active flavanones: hesperidin and naringin. BioActor combined these two powerful phenolic compounds in a unique complex ideal for the formulation of synbiotic dietary supplements in doses ranging from 250 to 500 mg.

Thanks to its proven high stability in combination with probiotics and its low water activity, MicrobiomeX® is an ideal ingredient to formulate synbiotic dietary supplements. Specifically, MicrobiomeX® can be used as a substrate, and can be metabolized in the gut by bacteria possessing the ramnosidase enzymes such as Lactobacillus acidophilus LA-5, Lactobacillus Brevis and B. animalis ssp. Lactis (7).

After being metabolized, not only does MicrobiomeX® promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, but the active metabolites that are released in the gut exert a direct antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect resulting in improved overall gut health.


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Top 5 environmental benefits of Aronia Melanocarpa (Nero Eggert variety)

Top 5 environmental benefits of Aronia Melanocarpa (Nero Eggert variety)

July 12th, 2022

Sustainability is a hot topic as issues such as food security, pollution, and climate change have become major concerns. Nowadays, more and more consumers have a better understanding and pay attention to the sustainability aspect of products they buy and consume. In this article, we’ll explain 5 key environmental benefits of Aronia melanocarpa.

Environmental-benefits-of-Aronia

Over the last years, there has been an increased awareness around sustainability, as issues such as food security, pollution, and climate change have become major concerns. As more and more consumers have a better understanding and care more about sustainability, they also tend to pay attention to which products they buy and consume.

Aronia berries are small dark fruits that are becoming increasingly popular amongst health-conscious consumers as they have excellent content in micronutrients and strong antioxidant properties.

Research around these berries suggests that they provide important health benefits to immune health, cardiovascular function, brain health, and anti-diabetic function.

Read more about the health benefits of Aronia berries

Apart from providing numerous health benefits, Aronia berries are also interesting from an environmental perspective, thanks to some unique characteristics of this plant.

This is particularly true for the variety called Nero Eggert, selected by BioActor to produce the active ingredient for brain health, namely Brainberry®.

Let’s find out why Aronia is considered a super berry not only for the health of consumers but also for the planet.

1. Aronia keeps the bees healthy and happy.

Many scientists have asserted that bees are not only one of the most important pollinators for food crops, but also for the existence of humanity. For that reason, it is critical to find ways that will ensure bees’ happiness.

Aronia melanocarpa is a plant with an incredibly extended flowering time, meaning that bees are provided with enough sugars and protein from the nectar and pollen. That lasts around two weeks more compared to other fruits, and in most cases, this is enough for their healthy growth and reproduction.

 

2. It’s naturally organic.

When thinking about sustainability, often the best route to take is the organic route, which involves far fewer pesticides added to the soil. This not only keeps the food natural, but also protects the soil from becoming overloaded with unnatural substances, which is essential for the long-term viability of any patch of farmland.

In Aronia melanocarpa plants, pests occur only rarely and in small quantities. In fact, Aronia is considered a strong and very resistant plant, and growers don’t need to use chemicals to control the growth when cultivating it.

 

3. Lower water consumption.

Another sustainable indicator in plantations is the usage of water that is required for growth. Much effort has been made to reduce the water footprint in agriculture, where 80% accounts for crop production. Thanks to its strong rooting system, Aronia plants can grow with very little water, even in poor soils.

Additionally, mature shrubs are resistant to weather anomalies. For example, it is resistant to frost, drought, as well as excess rainfall. This makes possible the cultivation of Aronia plants where it is difficult to grow other plants.

For example, the Aronia berries used to produce Brainberry® are cultivated on the icy plains of the Baltic region of Europe, where in winter is extremely cold.

 

4. Less land and higher yield.

As mentioned above, BioActor selected a unique variety of Aronia named Nero Eggert. What sets this variety apart from the rest is the ability of the plant to grow its branches in width rather than in height.

The main advantages of this characteristic are a higher yield, which means obtaining more fruits (and consuming less land), and more flowers to keep the bees happy!

Furthermore, the branches of these plants are more resistant and harder to break off, further reducing the possibility of contacting pests and diseases.

 

5. Reduced food loss.

It is estimated that global food production must increase by 60% by 2050 to meet the demands of the growing world population. Yet, more than one-third of the food produced today is lost or wasted.

While food waste means food that is wasted at the retail or consumer level, food loss refers to the decrease in edible food mass at the production, post-harvest, and processing stages of the food chain.

Aronia berries are durable fruits. This is important because it facilitates the storage and transport to processing facilities with minimal to no loss.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the environmental benefits of Aronia combined with its health effects on consumers make it a super berry. BioActor focuses on developing innovative plant-based ingredients that target healthy living and aging.

Feel free to contact BioActor via info@bioactor.com and visit www.brainberry.eu and www.bioactor.com to learn more about Brainberry® or click here to learn everything you need to know about Brainberry® and brain health.


Why-is-bone-health-important-and-how-does-it-work-(functions-bone-metabolism-and-influencing-factors)

Why is bone health important and how does it work? (functions, bone metabolism and influencing factors)

Why is bone health important and how does it work? (functions, bone metabolism and influencing factors)

July 4th, 2022

Our bones play various key functions for our bodies, and it is therefore important to maintain their health. To do so, it is essential to understand how our bones work and what factors affect bone health. Bone metabolism is a lifelong occurring process where bone tissue is turned over from mature to new bone tissue. This process keeps your bones healthy and their health is influenced by several aspects, such as age, gender, family history and several risk factors such as tobacco use, physical inactivity and diet.

Why-is-bone-health-important-and-how-does-it-work-(functions-bone-metabolism-and-influencing-factors)

Bone health, menopause, and dietary supplements

Menopause is the permanent cessation of menstruation naturally occurring in females at an average age of 51 [1].

Importantly, menopause leads to a decrease in estrogen levels and consequently increases bone loss. Estrogen is a hormone responsible for menstruation and known to have protective effects on bone loss and reduce inflammation.

Bone tissue in women is generally thinner than in men, and bone density has been reported to markedly decrease after menopause (post-menopause). Women can lose up to 20% of their bone density in just 5-7 years due to these hormonal shifts and experience increased joint pain [2].

The rise in the use of dietary supplements, especially by post-menopausal women, who are at risk of bone loss, is growing tremendously as advances in research are made, and the benefits of multiple natural ingredients are proven [3].

How does bone metabolism work?

Bone metabolism, also known as bone remodelling, is a lifelong occurring process where bone tissue is turned over from mature to new bone tissue. Bone resorption is the process where mature bone tissue is removed by osteoclasts and ossification is the formation of new bone tissue executed by osteoblasts [4]. These processes are responsible for replacing and reshaping bone following injuries such as fractures, but also micro-damage occurring during normal activity.

In the early stages of life, nearly 100% of the skeleton is replaced, due to the bones needing to develop, lengthen and grow. While in adults, bone remodelling proceeds at about 10% yearly [5].

For as long as bone growth is greater than bone breakdown, adults are able to maintain healthy bones. Many living cells within bone originate from the same mesenchymal stem cell. These mesenchymal stem cells can differentiate into the various cell types present in bone, such as osteoblasts (bone-building cells), adipocytes (fat cells) and chondrocytes (cartilage) [6].

However, due to stress, inflammation and ageing, this differentiation shifts towards producing more fat cells and fewer osteoblasts, resulting in more brittle and fatty bones [7]. Usually, bone mass starts to decline at the age of 40 as bone loss overtakes the speed of bone growth [8].

Fortunately, there are factors at play that we have control over to mitigate this bone loss.

What are the factors influencing bone health?

Although both our genes and the environment influence bone health, there is only one we have control over. Our genes, for example, determine whether signalling errors occur and lead to birth defects, while the extrinsic factors, such as lifestyle and diet, are crucial for optimising and maintaining bone health. Bone loss, also referred to as osteoporosis, affects people of all different ages and backgrounds. However, other intrinsic factors that are out of our control include:

Age: naturally as we grow older, our bone mass and strength decreases. This is mainly due to decreased osteoblast activity and an increase in osteoblast apoptosis, while inflammation increases [9,10].

Gender: osteoporosis is four times more common in women than men [11].

Body frame size: people with small body frames tend to have a higher risk of bone loss as they have less bone mass to draw from as they age.

Family history: having a parent or sibling with osteoporosis puts you at greater risk..

 

Fortunately, however, we do have the ability to modify extrinsic factors such as physical activity, diet choices and lifestyle choices. Here is how they can disturb bone health:

Tobacco use: smoking contributes to weak bones by disturbing the balance of bone turnover negatively.

Physical inactivity: just like muscles, bones gets stronger by exercising them. Resistance exercise and weight-bearing exercise help with this.

Alcohol use: alcohol interferes with the calcium balance and affects the production of hormones, linking chronic alcohol intake to an increase in bone fractures and falls.

Diet: foods high in calcium, and vitamin D such as dairy products and green leafy vegetables should be consumed in sufficient quantities to support the maintenance of bone health [12]. Additionally, polyphenols such as oleuropein can help mitigate bone loss, especially with age, through their anti-oxidative effects reducing inflammation [13].

If you want to know more about the crucial nutrients for bone health, click here and read our article on the 8 best ingredients.


Menopausal-bone-health

8 Ingredients proven to improve bone health during (post)menopause

8 Ingredients proven to improve bone health during (post)menopause

June 13th, 2022

Bone health is crucial to maintain, particularly after menopause. Consumption of dietary supplements, especially in post-menopausal women is on the rise, as advances in research are made and proven benefits are elucidated. Here we mention some of the ingredients that have demonstrated the ability to support women during menopause – specifically for the loss and maintenance of bone mineral density! You will also learn about which foods contain these ingredients, how they are beneficial to bone health and their recommended daily intake.

Menopausal-bone-health

Bone health, menopause, and dietary supplements

Menopause is the permanent cessation of menstruation naturally occurring in females at an average age of 51 [1].

Importantly, menopause leads to a decrease in estrogen levels and consequently increases bone loss. Estrogen is a hormone responsible for menstruation and known to have protective effects on bone loss and reduce inflammation.

Bone tissue in women is generally thinner than in men, and bone density has been reported to markedly decrease after menopause (post-menopause). Women can lose up to 20% of their bone density in just 5-7 years due to these hormonal shifts and experience increased joint pain [2].

The rise in the use of dietary supplements, especially by post-menopausal women, who are at risk of bone loss, is growing tremendously as advances in research are made, and the benefits of multiple natural ingredients are proven [3].

8 ingredients to sustain bone health in menopause.

Calcium & Vitamin D

Calcium is a critical component of bone architecture necessary for the deposition of bone minerals. Around 99% of calcium is stored in bones and teeth, making them strong and hard [4].

Vitamin D is vital for regulating intestinal calcium absorption and stimulating bone resorption to maintain serum calcium concentration [5]. There are, however, substances that can interfere with the body’s ability to use calcium, such as oxalate, protein, phytate, and caffeine.

Examples of foods rich in calcium include dairy, soybeans, and green leafy vegetables. While the predominant way of ascertaining vitamin D is through our own body’s synthesis stimulated by sufficient sunlight exposure on our skin. Thus, supplementation of vitamin D3, cholecalciferol, is advocated during autumn and winter due to limited sunlight availability, depending on geography.

Women under the age of 50 should consume a daily dosage of 1000mg of Calcium and 400-800IU Vitamin D, while women above the age of 50 should consume 1200mg of calcium and 800-1000IU of vitamin D daily [6].

Joint-health

Vitamin C, B9 and B12, K

Vitamin C is important in stimulating the differentiation of osteoblasts, cells that synthesize bone matrix and coordinate bone mineralization [7].

Antioxidant effects of vitamin C have also been reported to reduce bones from cell damage and may improve left ventricular diastolic function which menopausal women often experience a dramatic reduction in [8]. Foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits, bell peppers, broccoli, and strawberries.

Vitamin B9 (folate) and B12 are major determinants of homocysteine levels. Thus, a deficiency in vitamin B9 and B12 leads to increased homocysteine levels, which have been associated with impaired bone health and osteoporosis, a condition concerning weak and brittle bones [9].

Vitamin B9 and B12 have also been reported to assist with reducing the severity and duration of hot flashes and other menopause symptoms [10]. Therefore, increasing folate and B12 levels through foods such as pulses, legumes, beans, brown rice and, you guessed it, leafy green vegetables, can improve bone health.

Moreover, vitamin K has been reported to assist with reducing hot flashes and other menopause symptoms [11].

The recommended daily amount for adult women according to the National Institutes of Health for vitamin C is 75mg; for vitamin B9 is 400mcg DFE; for vitamin B12 is 2.4mcg and ultimately for vitamin K is 90mcg [12].

Quercetin

Quercetin is the bioactive compound abundantly found in citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, and onions. Studies show that onions reduce bone loss due to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant flavonoid, quercetin [13].

Quercetin inhibits the genesis and differentiation of osteoclasts, preserving bone mass and health. Bone mineral density in postmenopausal women has also been reported to improve when supplementing with onion juice [14].

Quercetin at a dose of 150 mg has been shown to improve bone-health metrics, which is around three servings of onion [15]. Note, quercetin is found in the pigment and outer layer of the onion, with red and yellow ones thus having higher concentrations.

Bonolive® (olive leaf extract 40% oleuropein)

Bonolive® is an ingredient derived from olive leaf and rich in the most abundant olive polyphenol, oleuropein, tailored to women to counteract bone loss risk associated with menopause.

Clinical research in post-menopausal women has demonstrated that 12 months of supplementation with 250mg of Bonolive® is able to increase osteocalcin levels by 32%, promote the activity of osteoblasts (the bone-building cells), and decrease osteoclast activity involved in the breakdown and resorption of bone [16,17]. Thus the clinical dosage of 250mg is recommended.

Bonolive-product

Moreover, after 12 months, the Bonolive® treatment group displayed a significant protection against bone loss, compared to the placebo group.

Additionally, chondrocytes, important for cartilage-building, are also increased while cartilage degeneration is inhibited through oleuropein. Further benefits can be ascribed to oleuropein’s anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Oleuropein can be found in olive oil and olive leaf, although in limited quantities and therefore, supplementation with a high-quality, standardized extract such as Bonolive® is a more convenient method of consuming this nutrient in adequate quantities.

Improve bone health during menopause

In conclusion, a well-balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, together with the right supplementations may help ameliorate bone health during menopause and promote healthy ageing and active living.


Can-Prebiotics-and-Probiotics-help-relieve-IBS-symptoms?

Can Prebiotics and Probiotics help relieve IBS symptoms?

Can Prebiotics and Probiotics help relieve IBS symptoms?

May 19th, 2022

Prebiotics and probiotics are an interesting topic for people with gastrointestinal disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Researchers have conducted various studies regarding their influence on improving IBS symptoms. In this article, we will explain the different types of IBS and how prebiotics and probiotics may be beneficial in managing this chronic long-term condition.

Can-Prebiotics-and-Probiotics-help-relieve-IBS-symptoms?

What is IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic condition that affects the quality of people’s lives and includes symptoms such as abdominal pain or discomfort, bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea [1].

Some studies have estimated that more than 9% of the worldwide population suffers from IBS, with women 1.5 to 3 times more likely to experience IBS symptoms [2].

To date, IBS causes are still unknown and some possible factors that are responsible for IBS, include physiological disturbances, genetics, and digestive motility [3]. Based on the abnormal manifestation of the bowel movements, IBS has four subtypes [4, 5].

  1. IBS-C: Constipation prevailing
  2. IBS-D: Diarrhea predominant
  3. IBS-M: Mixed of Constipation and Diarrhea
  4. IBS-U: Unspecified when a patient does not belong to one of these categories

Probiotics and IBS

Although the causes of IBS are still unknown, it has been suggested that an imbalance of the gut microbiota can be responsible for IBS development.

Probiotics are live microorganisms that confer a health benefit on the host by decreasing the harmful bacteria and supporting the gut’s natural bacteria [6]. If you want to increase the good bacteria in your body, various fermented foods and supplements include probiotics.

As it concerns food, a few suggestions might be yoghurt, tempeh, kombucha and kimchi , while supplements usually include beneficial strains like Saccharomyces Boulardii, Bifidobacterium Bifidum, Bifidobacterium Lactis, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, and Lactobacillus Plantarum.

Research has shown that IBS symptoms can be improved by the daily consumption of Probiotics, even if the exact mechanism is still not completely understood [7]. Probiotics can act in different ways depending on the type of IBS and other factors such as age and gender [8].

It is proposed that Probiotics may improve IBS symptoms by [9]:

• Inhibiting the colonisation of pathogens in the gut
• Enhancing the gut barrier function
• Boosting the immune system
• Improving digestive functions
• Reducing inflammation in the gut and gas formation

What are prebiotics?

Prebiotics are usually non-digestible fibre compounds that are fermented by the gut microbiota, stimulating the growth and/or activity of beneficial bacteria (probiotics) in the gut [10]. To classify these compounds as prebiotics, they need to comply with three requirements [11]:

• be non-digestible and resistant to breakdown by stomach acid and enzymes in the human gastrointestinal tract
• be fermented by living microorganisms in the gut
• stimulate the growth and/or activity of beneficial bacteria (probiotics)

It is possible to combine prebiotics with probiotics to create synbiotic dietary supplements. You can read more about that here.

Prebiotics and IBS

Research into the role of prebiotics in managing IBS symptoms is conflicting and shows that the beneficial effect may be subjective and depend on the IBS and type.

For example, some studies found that soluble fibres such as psyllium and inulin may provide significant pain relief for IBS patients with constipation and/or diarrhoea. In contrast, other studies found that the effect is limited.

Prebiotics act by stimulating the growth of a bacterium that produces lactic acid called Bifidobacterium. Interestingly, Bifidobacterium has been associated with improved gastrointestinal symptoms in people with IBS. More specifically, this genus lowers the pH to desirable levels for beneficial microbes and undesirable levels for pathogenic bacteria
[12].

The consumption of specific prebiotics such as arabinoxylans from wheat (AX) can increase the amount of Bifidobacterium in the colon.

In addition, there are also molecules with known prebiotic activity, such as citrus-derived flavonoids. Research has shown that these compounds can reach the colon without being digested and are metabolised by the gut microbiota, stimulating the growth of beneficial bacteria..

These prebiotic flavonoids are different from prebiotic fibres because they are not fermented but rather deglycosylated by the gut microbiota. Furthermore, their ability to work at low doses is associated with their high tolerance as opposed to fibres. Finally, the lack of fermentation avoids gas formation and the resulting feeling of bloating and flatulence.

Multiple studies have shown better protection of gut mucosa against colonisation by pathogens and viruses. Also, citrus flavonoids allow greater production of short chain fatty acids (SCFA) like butyrate and propionate, important compounds for the immune system and metabolic functions.

The bottom line

IBS is a chronic condition that affects a large part of the world’s population.

There is no known cure for this condition, but there are many treatment options to reduce or eliminate symptoms, such as dietary modifications, lifestyle changes, and prescription medications.

In many cases, probiotics and prebiotics may be beneficial in managing the IBS symptoms. However, the beneficial effect is subjective and depends on the IBS type. Therefore, it is essential to understand how dietary changes and supplementations affect the symptoms.


What-are-the-best-substitutes-for-caffeine?

What are the best substitutes for caffeine?

What are the best substitutes for caffeine?

April 21st, 2022

A wide variety of caffeine-containing products are available, ranging from coffee and tea to dietary supplements, sodas and energy drinks. However, consuming too much caffeine often leads to side effects such as stress, anxiety, and even sleeping problems. If you are looking for alternative products to boost energy levels and increase focus, Brainberry®, maca root, ginseng, Rhodiola, and Lion’s Mane are natural ingredients that can help you get through the day without side effects.

What-are-the-best-substitutes-for-caffeine?

Why should you substitute caffeine with another ingredient?

Most people drink coffee regularly. It is consumed because people like the taste or because of the social aspects to drinking coffee. Even though there are many ways to improve your focus, coffee is often consumed because it makes people feel more awake, alert, and energetic.

Of course, coffee is a source of caffeine, which is the ingredient that gives coffee its effects. There are other drinks that contain caffeine, and some people even take dietary supplements containing caffeine to boost their energy levels during the day or for their workout. [1].

Besides positive effects, consumption of caffeine may also have some downsides. These include giving people feelings of stress and anxiety. Besides increasing these feelings, caffeine consumption could also lead to insomnia [2].

Caffeine is unique in its function, but these adverse effects are a reason for people to reduce the intake of caffeine and look for alternative ingredients. Here are some suggestions of natural substitutes that make you feel awake and help you focus, without leaving you feeling stressed.

The best substitutes for caffeine

1. Maca root

Maca is a plant that grows in Peru (also called Peruvian ginseng). It’s a plant that belongs to the brassica (mustard) family. It is traditionally used for nutritional and medicinal purposes. The plant is made into a powder that is often added to smoothies, juices, and shakes.

It has been used for centuries as a fertility enhancer in humans and animals, but now more benefits of consuming maca are being discovered. The benefits of maca root vary, and evidence shows it may help increase energy levels and improve mood.

Additionally, other findings show that maca can help against feelings of anxiety and stress. This makes Maca a good alternative to caffeine, which can have the opposite effect.

 

2. Ginseng

Like maca, ginseng is a herb made from the root of its plant. It has been one of the most important products for health care in Asia. There, it has been used to make traditional medicine for centuries.

There are different types of ginseng, which vary in the way they are grown and processed. White ginseng is dried naturally, while red ginseng is steamed before it is dried, which increases its efficacy. The most important compounds in ginseng are ginsenosides and gintonin [3].

Ginseng is one of the most popular caffeine substitutes. Various research demonstrated that this plant is able to improve brain functions, boost mood and memory, help against fatigue, and increase energy levels.

 

3. Brainberry® (Aronia berry extract)

Aronia berries are becoming increasingly popular among consumers because of their many demonstrated health benefits. Aronia plants are native to North America but are also commonly found in the Baltic region of Europe.

Brainberry® is an Aronia berry extract researched and developed by BioActor. It was demonstrated that the daily consumption of Brainberry® is able to boost mental energy and focus without side effects. An ideal alternative if you want to get rid of caffeine!

The main constituent of Brainberry is an anthocyanin called Cyanidin 3-O-galactoside, a powerful antioxidant that can improve brain health and support brain function.

If this sparked your interest, you can find out everything you need to know about Brainberry®, brain health and improving your focus here.

 

4. Rhodiola

Rhodiola is a plant that can be found in Europe and Asia. Like ginseng and maca its root is consumed for health benefits. Rosavin and salidroside are believed to be its most profitable compounds.

Rhodiola has been used for many years and has been mostly recommended to treat headaches, hernias and has also been used as an astringent. Nowadays, rhodiola is often consumed by people during stressful times.

If you’re looking for a natural alternative to caffeine that reduces fatigue, rhodiola is a good option because it has been shown to improve symptoms in participants that suffered from chronic fatigue. The stress-lowering and energizing effects of rhodiola make it a great natural replacement for coffee.

 

5. Lion’s Mane

Lion’s Mane is a mushroom that can grow long hair-like strings that resemble a lion’s mane. It is often found in North America, Europe, and Asia. It consists for roughly 20% out of protein.

Lion’s Mane is increasingly studied. It has properties that are believed to be neuroprotective. That is because two novel nerve growth factors have been discovered in this mushroom [4].

Lion’s Mane has thus been said to have positive effects on the brain. It can improve memory and helps to lower feelings of stress and anxiety. This makes it an ingredient that can help consumers cut down on their caffeine consumption.

The bottom line

We all love a good cup of coffee in the morning. However, there are several reasons to reduce caffeine intake and look for a substitute. The aforementioned ingredients are good natural alternatives to caffeine as they can boost energy levels and brain functions, without having any anxiety or stress inducing effects.