The-link-between-gut-and-brain-health

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-link-between-gut-and-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].

Neurotransmitters

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.

These SCFAs have a lot of health benefits in the gut, including maintaining the intestinal barrier, increasing mucus production and reducing gut inflammation. On top of that, they also play a role in the gut-brain interaction.

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.

 

Curious to know more about brain health?

Did this article spark your interest in brain health and how you can improve it? Here you can find out everything you need to know about brain health and what ingredients are best to keep a healthy brain!


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.

 

Brainberry®. Clinical dose: 65 mg

If you are looking for an alternative to caffeine to boost your focus, you might want to learn more about Brainberry®.
Brainberry® is a natural Aronia berry extract developed by BioActor to enhance cognitive performance. Research conducted on Brainberry® revealed that the consumption of Brainberry® can increase focus, psychomotor speed and mental flexibility [8,9].

In particular, a study which was performed on 35 professional basketball players, showed important benefits after one week of supplementation, highlighting the ability of Brainberry® to significantly enhance cognitive performance and improve basketball-specific skills like shooting, rebounding and dribbling.

Brainberry®’s benefits are attributed to the high levels of Cyanidin-3-O-Galactoside contained in the extract, a compound which plays an important role in improving brain health and cognitive functions.

Want to know more about Cy3Gal and how it is involved in brain health? Read this article!

 

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 vasodilation and better blood flow. [15]

Moreover, it was demonstrated that WATTS’UP® boosts mitochondria efficiency and respiration capacity, resulting in 33% higher ATP production – the fuel for our muscle [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.


Brain Fitness webinar

WEBINAR - Brain Fitness

WEBINAR – Brain Fitness

Join us for a deep-dive webinar into Brain Fitness dedicated to the professionals operating in the nutraceutical industry. Together with our expert speakers, we will explore different facets of this “hot topic”, connecting the trends, clinical research and innovation.

Connecting trends, clinical research and innovation for nutraceuticals.

The human brain is our command centre and enables thoughts, memory, movement and emotions by a complex function. Maintaining a fit brain during one’s life is the uppermost goal in pursuing health and wellbeing.

Consumers are increasingly looking to improve Brain Fitness and focus. Nootropic ingredients have been on the rise due to more people looking to enhance their brain performance. Moreover, working remotely with many distractions further accelerated the popularity of such ingredients, which have become a must-have for many individuals.

Therefore, it is essential for professionals in the sector to understand what Brain Fitness really is, the consumers’ segmentation and key insights about this trend, and how the clinical research is performed to evaluate the potential of new nutraceuticals solutions.

Watch the webinar and find out more!

REGISTER AND WATCH ON DEMAND

Meet the Speakers:

Meet the speakers

What are you going to learn during this webinar?

The Brain Fitness trends & consumer insights

Who are these consumers and what are they looking for? Presentation by Marit Veenstra – Trends and consumers insights specialist, who will provide insights into the consumer trends driving the brain health product positioning of the nutraceutical and functional foods market.
Duration: 10 minutes

Clinical Research

How do you research Brain Fitness? Presentation by Sanne Ahles – Clinical researcher, who will dive into the science, explaining the relevant endpoints, tools and biomarkers, currently used in clinical research.
Duration: 10 minutes

Innovation

Brainberry®: Aronia melanocarpa extract to help consumers reach their Brain Fitness goals. Presentation by Cosimo Cisternino – Marketing & Account manager at BioActor, who will introduce the health ingredient Brainberry® – A natural, clinically validated Aronia berry extract targeting cognition.
Duration: 10 minutes

Q&A session

Duration: 10 minutes

REGISTER AND WATCH ON DEMAND

Brain imaging research

BioActor and UM establish a Public Private Partnership to study the benefits of Aronia on cognition

BioActor and UM establish a Public Private Partnership to study the benefits of Aronia on cognition

Maastricht, The Netherlands, September 22nd, 2021

Press release
BioActor already collaborates with Maastricht University in several areas, but this Public Private Partnership marks the start of an ambitious and comprehensive joint research programme, which will last three years, and aims to unravel possible mechanisms that make Aronia Melanocarpa such a powerful bioactive to improve brain fitness

Brain imaging research

The joint research programme will study the benefits of Aronia on cognition

BioActor and Maastricht University (“UM”) established a Public Private Partnership (“PPP”) to study the effects of Aronia Melanocarpa on brain fitness and cognition. This PPP received a competitive grant from Health Holland and will last for 3 years.

BioActor already collaborates with UM in several areas, but this PPP marks the start of an ambitious and comprehensive joint research programme to unravel possible mechanisms that make Aronia Melanocarpa such a powerful bioactive to improve brain fitness.

The PPP will be led by Dr. Peter Joris and Professor Jogchum Plat of UM’s Department of Nutrition and Movement Sciences. BioActor will make available a senior scientist, Sanne Ahles, who has already coordinated a previous clinical study with BioActor’s proprietary aronia extract Brainberry®.

The research programme will comprise a comprehensive clinical study, where besides cognitive parameters and blood biomarkers, brain scans will be made by Scannexus, specialist in Ultra High-Field MRI.

Dr. Peter Joris, Assistant Professor at UM comments:
“I’m very pleased with the establishment of this partnership with BioActor as it will allow us to explore mechanisms underlying beneficial effects of Aronia Melanocarpa on cognitive function, which may contribute to the prevention of cognitive impairment and ultimately dementia. Focus will be on brain insulin-sensitivity and vascular function assessed with brain MRI imaging in people at increased risk of cognitive impairment.”

Dr. Yala Stevens, Chief Scientific Officer of BioActor comments:
“This partnership with UM underscores our commitment to science and our passion for exploring research areas that have hitherto not been touched by others. That’s why we have decided to take a deep dive together with Dr. Peter Joris into the effects and mechanisms of aronia melanocarpa in the cognition and brain fitness space. I’m really curious what will come out of this research programme and excited to be able to share the results with the global nutrition science community.”

About BioActor:

BioActor is a life science company based on the Maastricht Health Campus and dedicated to research, develop and sell health ingredients addressing healthy ageing and active living. BioActor has a targeted portfolio of patented and branded health ingredients that are all based on food crops, clinically researched and produced in Europe.
For more info: www.bioactor.com

About Maastricht University:

The current project is performed at the Department of Nutrition and Movement Sciences within the School of Nutrition and Translational research in Medicine (NUTRIM), and will be integrated within an excellent scientific environment that offers facilities to perform state-of-the-art multi-disciplinary research, such as a unique Metabolic Research Unit (MRUM) and advanced MRI systems at Scannexus – an internationally focused brain MRI imaging center – facilities in Maastricht.


Berries anthocyanins

The effects of berry anthocyanins on cognition - New publication

The effects of berry anthocyanins on cognitive performance – New publication from BioActor in collaboration with Maastricht University

Maastricht, The Netherlands, July 8th, 2021

Press release
The systematic review recently published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences was conducted by BioActor in collaboration with Maastricht University and reviewed the effects of berry anthocyanins on cognitive performance.

Berries anthocyanins

Systematic review on berry anthocyanins and cognition

The International Journal of Molecular Sciences has recently published a systematic review about the Berry Anthocyanins’ effect on Cognitive Performance. The research was conducted by S. Ahles, clinical researcher at BioActor, in collaboration with the Maastricht University’s Department of Nutrition and Movement Sciences, School of Nutrition and Translational Research in Metabolism (NUTRIM).

This systematic review of randomized Placebo-Controlled Studies in Humans provides further evidence into the beneficial effects of berry anthocyanins on cognitive performance such as attention and psychomotor speed, executive function, and memory. Moreover, effects on vascular function and cardiometabolic risk markers were investigated.

Anthocyanins are a specific type of flavonoids abundantly found in various berries such as blueberry, black raspberry, and Aronia berry, to which these molecules confer the specific colours. These compounds offer a promising approach to improve cognitive performance and/or lower the risk of cognitive decline.

Ahles commented: “We are proud to report the achieved results providing evidence for the beneficial effects of berry anthocyanin on cognitive function. The observed health effects might be due to the anthocyanin-induced improvements in vascular function and blood pressure. Moreover, we found that the composition of the intervention product may play an important role as the bioactivity of anthocyanins is known to be dependent on their chemical structure. Future studies should focus on exploring a potential causal link between the beneficial effects on cognitive performance and improvement in vascular function and cardiometabolic risk markers.”

BioActor’s interest in berry anthocyanins has resulted in the development of the first-ever Aronia Berry extract targeting cognitive performance. The ingredient, branded under the name “Brainberry®”, was already tested in a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial in healthy individuals and an observational study conducted with e-sports gamers, while a second RCT study, assessing its acute effect on cognition, is ongoing.

About BioActor

BioActor, based in Maastricht, Netherlands, is a product development company that has developed a range of proprietary bioactive ingredients for the nutrition & healthcare industry. The company focuses on the development of innovative activities that address active living and healthy aging. The goal is to provide the nutrition & healthcare industry with science-based innovations that confer a real health benefit to the consumer.

Feel free to contact us via info@bioactor.com for more information on the possibilities Brainberry® has to offer.
Further information can be found on: www.brainberry.eu


6 ingredients for brain health

6 Best Ingredients For Brain Health

6 Best Ingredients For Brain Health

September 1st, 2021

If you are looking to include in your diet compounds to nourish your brain, you came to the right place; In this article, we explore six interesting ingredients that may improve your brain health

6 ingredients for brain health

What is a healthy brain?

The brain. This massive network of firing neurons is the center of each decision we make on a daily basis and in life. It consumes up to 20% of our total oxygen each day, while only accounting for 2% of our total body weight – underlining its importance [1]. Alongside oxygen, it also requires plenty of nutrients to keep processes running at all times, both when awake or sleeping.

A well-known nutritious diet that packs a variety of nutrients is the Mediterranean diet – often described as a diet that supports a well-functioning brain. This is due to the wide variation of key nutrient-providing foods such as seafood, fruits and vegetables, olives and olive oil, nuts, beans and wine.

Supplementing your diet for optimal brain health

As healthy as a diet can be, every diet can still be supplemented with supplements, and more specifically dedicated ingredients. Although the Italians consume the Mediterranean diet, they also consume a lot of supplements: the Italian supplements market remains by far and large the biggest in Europe. Yet, also for individuals living in other parts of the world, with different food options, supplements can be a useful asset to optimize their diet.

In this article we take a deep dive into 6 of the best ingredients that you should be looking for on the label of supplements, that can aid you in sustaining a healthy brain:

1. Berry Anthocyanins
Anthocyanins are a group of compounds that belong to the flavonoid family. They are renowned for giving fruits and vegetables their vibrant dark blue/purple colours. Blueberries, raspberries and acai berries contain high amounts of anthocyanins but are all dwarfed by Aronia berries (also known as chokeberries), which contain by far and large the highest amounts of anthocyanins.

Anthocyanins exhibit their biological effects mainly through their strong antioxidant activity. By increasing perfusion to the brain and also improving neurotransmitter levels, anthocyanins aid in improving cognitive functions, notably executive & working memory, psychomotor speed, and attention [2,3].

Read more about the health benefits of Aronia berries

 

2. Phosphatidylserine
Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a phospholipid that forms the inner side of the cell membrane – a fatty layer that makes up the layer of human cells. As a supplement, PS or intermediates like citicoline are widely available and found in multiple products on the market.

Orally consumed PS is absorbed efficiently by the human intestinal system and crosses the blood-brain barrier. PS is the main phospholipid in the brain and is involved in the protection of nerve cells and aids in relaying information from one neuronal cell to the other. These key functions of PS lead to roles for this compound in a multitude of cognitive functions, amongst others: long-term memory, concentration, problem solving and locomotor functions [4].

 

3. Choline
Choline is an essential nutrient that acts as a precursor to phospholipids (Phosphatidylcholine), acetylcholine (neurotransmitter) and betaine (involved in amino acid metabolism). Choline levels may be low in lactating and pregnant women, older and younger individuals [5], so adequate choline intake for these populations is advised.

Dietary choline intake correlates with cognitive function and choline-containing compounds have been linked with a reduction in vascular dementia [6]. Of course, choline levels need to remain optimal to have sufficient building blocks for acetylcholine, the chief neurotransmitter for relaying information from one neuron to the other.

 

4. Resveratrol
Resveratrol is a polyphenol predominantly found in grapes, and as a result, in wine. It has been linked to the promotion of health by exerting neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory and beneficial cardiovascular effects.

When we look at the cognitive benefits that resveratrol brings for a healthy brain, it improves blood flow in the frontal cortex; providing this decision-making area with more nutrients and oxygen. Resveratrol protects the brain from reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are formed as a by-product of the high energy and oxygen consumption of neurons. It scavenges the free radicals, protecting against damage to neurons and associated tissues [7].

 

5. Docosahexaenoic Acid
Abbreviated as DHA, this compound is a long-chain highly unsaturated omega-3 fatty acid. DHA is found predominantly in fish, krill and algae, but also widely available in supplement formats as fish oil, krill oil or algae oil. All of these sources also often contain the complementary eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

DHA affects key neurological processes like neurotransmitter release, gene expression, signal transduction and differentiation of neurons. Especially the frontal lobes, which are responsible for executive functions like attention, planning and problem solving, are sensitive to DHA levels. Keeping DHA levels in check is key to cognitive performance, with researchers indicating that dietary DHA intake is required to maintain sufficient brain DHA levels [8].

 

6. Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo biloba extracts (GBE) come from the dried leaves of the Ginkgo biloba tree. Chinese, Japanese and Korean cultures have used extracts from this tree in their traditional medicines. GBEs have been linked to improving cognitive function and decelerating cognitive decline. This is due to their strong antioxidative activities, ability to improve neurotransmitter levels and neuroprotection potential.

GBEs have been used to treat dementia, with significant efficacy being demonstrated at high daily doses of >240mg. Yet, also for healthy people, GBEs might be a useful ingredient for enhancing blood flow to the brain combined with an anti-oxidant effect [9].


Boost Coffee

The health benefits of Aronia Berry: why should you consume this superfruit?

The health benefits of Aronia Berry: why should you consume this superfruit?

September 1st, 2021

Aronia berries are small dark fruits that are becoming increasingly popular amongst health-conscious consumers. Current research suggests that due to their excellent content in micronutrients and antioxidant properties, these berries may provide important health benefits on immune health, cardiovascular function, brain health as well as exhibiting anti-diabetic function.

Boost Coffee

What is Aronia berry?

Aronia berries, are little dark fruits, belonging to the Rosaceae Family. Aronia is native to easter and North America but it is also commonly found in the Baltic region of Europe where it was introduced in the first half of the 20th century.

The reason why these berries are also called “Chokeberries” is that when consumed fresh off the shrub, they make your mouth tickle due to their incredibly strong tart taste and mouth-drying effect.

Though many people have never heard about them, Aronia berries are becoming increasingly popular among health-conscious consumers and are considered a real superfruit.

What are the health benefits of Aronia berries?

To answer this question we need to first take a step back in the past where, traditionally, Aronia was used by the North American Forest Potawatomi tribe as a cold remedy.

They called these fruits “nîki’mînûn” and used them to make a traditional tea. The reason why Aronia berry was found to be so effective in treating common cold symptoms is probably linked to their extremely powerful antioxidant capacity.

Nowadays, it is well-known that antioxidants in Aronia outperform any other fruits, even elderberries, blueberries, and raspberries.

Aronia berries contain high levels of vitamin C, but the real claim to fame is their high level of polyphenols, anthocyanins and proanthocyanins [1]. These are types of antioxidants that help to fight the damages caused by free radicals in the body, and it is these antioxidants where Aronia berries can have their greatest impact on our health and wellbeing.

Aronia Antioxidant

In fact, Aronia is considered a real superfruit due to its high level of antioxidant phytonutrients that can be beneficial in many ways.

Research around Aronia berries have focused on several health benefit areas, and there is evidence to suggest that these fruits may have the potential to:

 

  • Strengthen the immune system [2].
  • Improves cardiovascular function [3].
  • Improve brain health [4].
  • Help against metabolic syndrome [5].
  • Prevent urinary tract infections [6].

Nutritional Facts

Aronia berries are low-calories fruits, full of important micro-nutrients accountable for their numerous health benefits.

100 g of Aronia berries provide the following nutrients [7]:

  • Calories: 47.0 (197 Kj)
  • Carbs: 9.6 g
  • Fat: 0.5g
  • Protein: 1.4g
  • Fiber: 5.3g
  • Vitamin A: 350 IU (7% DV)
  • Vitamin C: 21 mg (35% DV)
  • Vitamin K: 13.6 mcg (17% DV)
  • Manganese: 0.6 mg (32% DV)

Moreover, researchers have identified a total of 7 different anthocyanins in Aronia berries. These include phytocompounds such as cyanidin-3-O-glucoside, a key molecule for brain health. It has been reported that cyanidin-3-O-glucoside exhibits anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic and antimutagenic activities, while also enhancing spatial memory, cognition and psychomotor control.

How to get more Aronia berries in your diet

Unfortunately, it is not easy to commonly find fresh Aronia berries on the shelf at the grocery store.

However, there are many alternatives. Especially in specialised stores or online it is possible to buy Aronia in form of frozen or dried fruits, tea, jams, juice and wines.

Another effective way to include Aronia in your diet can be through the use of dietary supplements. This can be a great way to ensure you are getting the most out of the health benefits of Aronia berries.

Curious to know more? Here’s everything you need to know about Aronia berries and brain health!


E-Sports athlete

New Open Label Study: Brainberry® improves cognitive parameters in young, healthy e-gamers

New Open Label Study: Brainberry® improves cognitive parameters in young, healthy e-gamers

Maastricht, The Netherlands, March 25th, 2021

Press release
Brainberry® was tested in amateur female and male gamers showing a significant improvement in relevant measures for gaming performance such as eye-hand coordination, focus, reaction time and energy.

E-Sports athlete

Open-label study in active gamers

According to Statista, there are currently over 2.4 billion gamers in the world, about one-third of the world’s entire population. Online gaming has definitively changed as it moved from being viewed as just a recreational activity to a proper industry. The annual revenue for gaming in 2017 has been estimated to cross over $100 billion and will climb to expected total revenue of $132 billion by 2021, even surpassing the movie industry revenue.

BioActor was the first to perform a clinical study that linked an Aronia Berry Extract (BrainBerry®) to cognitive performance (Ahles et al. Nutrients, 2020). This study showed a significant increase in eye-hand coordination for the group that consumed 65mg of BrainBerry®. Moreover, a significant post-hoc improvement was found for focus in the BrainBerry® group.

Recently, BioActor completed an open-label study in active gamers that consumed BrainBerry® for seven days. Acute (one time intake) and seven-day improvements in several cognitive performance measures were assessed via an online questionnaire. Twenty-one amateur female and male gamers participated in the trial (mean age 25.6 years of age). The participants were active gamers with an average of 2,5 hours of gaming per day. They were allowed to choose their own action-related game, provided they played the same game on all test days.

Study design

The study results

After acute intake, participants reported a significant improvement in relevant measures for gaming performance: eye-hand coordination, focus, reaction time and energy. Importantly, these improvements were sustained even after a seven-day intake. Moreover, we did not see any negative effect on sleep quality for the participants after seven-days intake.

Open label study result

In conclusion, BrainBerry® results in a significant improvement in eye-hand coordination, focus, reaction time and energy in amateur female and male gamers. BrainBerry® is a healthy, natural and effective ingredient to include in gamer (nootropic) supplements to aid performance. It also serves new consumer demands by providing similar benefits to caffeine, without the negative side effects like jitters, anxiety feelings or sleep deprivation. The current open-label study adds to previous positive effects of BrainBerry® on cognitive performance found in the placebo-controlled clinical study conducted by BioActor.

About BioActor

BioActor, based in Maastricht, Netherlands, is a product development company that has developed a range of proprietary bioactive ingredients for the nutrition & healthcare industry. The company focuses on the development of innovative activities that address active living and healthy aging. The goal is to provide the nutrition & healthcare industry with science-based innovations that confer a real health benefit to the consumer.

Feel free to contact us via info@bioactor.com for more information on the possibilities BrainBerry® has to offer.
Further information can be found on: www.brainberry.eu


BioActor and Biovital extend their partnership to include the distribution of Brainberry® for the compounding pharmacy market in Brazil

BioActor and Biovital extend their partnership to include the distribution of Brainberry® for the compounding pharmacy market in Brazil

Maastricht, The Netherlands, February 18th, 2020

Press release
Biovital Ltda. and BioActor B.V. entered into an agreement that appoints Biovital as exclusive distributor of BRAINBERRY®, BioActor’s proprietary brain fitness ingredient, for the compounding pharmacy market in Brazil.

INSERT HEADER

BioActor and Biovital signed a partnership agreement for the exclusive distribution of BRAINBERRY®, BioActor’s science-based brain fitness ingredient. Under this partnership agreement, Biovital is appointed as exclusive distributor of BRAINBERRY® for the compounding pharmacy market in Brazil. BioActor will actively support Biovital with scientific input, as well as formulation advice.

Biovital Ltda. is a dynamic Brazilian distribution company with high qualitative standards and ample know-how to import unique raw materials in Brazil. BioActor and Biovital are already successfully working together on the marketing of MICROBIOMEX® in Brazil. BioActor is delighted to extends its partnership with Biovital Ltda. to launch BRAINBERRY® in the rapidly growing compounding pharmacy market in Brazil.

BRAINBERRY®, is a unique Aronia berry extract with a high concentration of cyanidin 3 glycosides. BRAINBERRY® was tested in a placebo-controlled and double-blind study for effects on cognitive performance. The results show that BRAINBERRY® consumption leads to a significant improvement of eye-hand coordination.

BRAINBERRY® can already be found on the European market. The next step is to expand the footprint of BRAINBERRY® in the Americas, starting with the compounding pharmacy market in Brazil.

Are you a compounding pharmacy in Brazil interested in BRAINBERRY®?
Please feel free to reach out to Biovital via: maria.alice@biovital.ind.br

About Biovital Ltda.
Biovital is a Brazilian distributor of cosmetics, dermocosmetics, food and pharmaceutical raw ingredients to the compounding pharmacy market and to cosmetic, food and pharmaceutical industries. With a highly specialized team and complete laboratory, logistics and operational infrastructures, Biovital is able to provide assistance to consumers in all aspects for the development of products and innovative solutions.

For further information, see www.biovital.ind.br

About BioActor

BioActor, based in Maastricht, Netherlands, is a product development company that has developed a range of proprietary bioactive ingredients for the nutrition & healthcare industry. The company focuses on the development of innovative activities that address active living and healthy aging. The goal is to provide the nutrition & healthcare industry with science-based innovations that confer a real health benefit to the consumer.

Feel free to contact us via info@bioactor.com for more information on the possibilities BRAINBERRY® has to offer, feel free to contact us via info@bioactor.com