Algae-based nootropic capitalizes on demand for clean label brain supplements
28 Oct 2020 --- Lubrizol Life Science (LLS) is releasing an algae-based nootropic amid a sharp rise in demand for clean label, brain-enhancing supplements.
Astagile will be the first product combining astaxanthin with spirulina. This synergy increases mental agility and healthier aging of the brain, the company notes.
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid found in freshwater microalgae, and spirulina is a type of alga. Both have numerous health-promoting effects, including protection against neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's disease.
“Astaxanthin can cross the blood-brain barrier and exert its protective benefits within the neuronal tissues,” Isabel Gómez, global marketing manager at LLS, tells NutritionInsight.
Therefore, its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties enhance mental performance, she notes.
This was demonstrated in two in vitro studies on the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, using Astagile, according to LLS.
Microencapsulation improves supplement quality
Blending astaxanthin with spirulina through microencapsulation helps to increase effectiveness and reduce costs, says the company. Previously, astaxanthin’s qualities also presented challenges in its use and reliability as a supplement.
“Astaxanthin’s antioxidant activity is due to its highly conjugated structure,” describes David Padró, manager of the nutraceuticals business of LLS Health.
However, this structure also makes astaxanthin prone to instability and subsequent degradation during the manufacturing and storage process, he adds. “This can lead to loss of biological activity, significantly limiting its use in nutraceutical applications.”
“Astaxanthin is the most potent antioxidant ingredient in nature – but at the same time, it is very sensitive to oxidation. Our development has been focused on solving the stability of this ingredient using natural and environmentally friendly solutions. Our entire process has been designed to avoid any oxidizing reaction.”
Clean label trends
Astagile has been certified as an organic clean label supplement by the EU COPAE governing body.
LLS Health cultivates its H. Pluvialis (from which astaxanthin is extracted) in a closed greenhouse under rigidly controlled environmental conditions via a two-stage culturing process. This ensures it is free from contaminants, notes the company.
“We have to consider the increasing demand for natural and environmentally friendly solutions. This is a must in all our developments, and Astagile microcapsules is the best example of our commitment to that. This vegan product is based on natural antioxidant bioactive algae ingredients and in the process to be ECO-certified,” says Gómez.
Clean label is a growing trend in the supplements industry. Jaclyn Bowen, executive director for Clean Label Project, previously told Nutritioninsight this is due to corporate apathy and government inaction. People are increasingly taking it upon themselves to research behind food and supplements ingredients to discover which products are safe and sustainably sourced.
Rise of nootropics
Nootropics supplements are increasingly popular products that appeal to consumers with cognitive performance positioning. “They can help consumers to optimize their daily routines. It uplifts the standard of living and helps them to yield high brain development, enabling them to stand tall with their intellect and performance,” says Gómez.
Moreover, the risks associated with aging are now more prevalent. “Consumers are aware of longer life expectancies. There is an increasing demand for nutraceutical products targeting healthy aging, including cognitive health as a key point to maintain an active and independent life,” Gómez continues.
Innova Market Insights reports that physical and mental health are now equally important to consumers. Product launches with nootropics are growing fast, reflected by an average annual growth of 70 percent in global nootropic product launches (CAGR 2015 to 2019).
A 2018 Innova Market Insights Consumer Lifestyle and Attitudes Survey also found that eight out of ten consumers agreed that mental health is as important as physical health to their overall well-being, rising to nine out of ten respondents in China, the US and Brazil.
This was found across the US, UK, Germany, France, Brazil and China. Brain enhancing supplements also present significant opportunities for the e-gaming industry. Serious gamers who face intense cognitive strains are increasingly looking to natural formulas that can provide mental boosts without harmful side effects.
By Louis Gore-Langton
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