What's next for better brain health?

What's next for better brain health?

A large gap has emerged between cognitive health category sales (relatively low) and how concerned consumers are with this condition (extremely). This disconnect spells market potential.

Brain health is emerging as one of the most promising categories of growth in nutrition. Compared with other supplement categories, such as heart health and joint health, brain supplement sales are underdeveloped despite significant concern and demand from consumers. The significant gap between category sales and how concerned consumers are with the condition spells market potential. Who’s going to be the company to fill that gap? We convened a round-table of brilliant people in the know who think they might have the next big thing.


Fi: What are your projections for the growth of the sector for the coming year?

Jennifer Gu, PhD, Director of R&D for AIDP

The cognitive health category has been growing triple digits and we see this growth rate continuing for the next few years. It is an emerging market as more and more consumers are aging. One of the biggest challenges facing the aging baby boomer generation is the loss of memory and cognitive function. Brain cells slowly die as we age. In the last century, life expectancy has grown to an average of 77 years from 47 years. With this dramatic increase, more people are feeling the effects of aging. Stress is also a major factor affecting cognitive health. In the information age, each one of us is under more stress than ever before.


Jeff Bernfeld, Executive Director of Marketing, DSM Nutritional Products

Interest in cognition and brain health continues to grow. More and more consumer products, both foods/beverages as well as dietary supplements contain a brain health claim. This is driven by recent advances in the science of cognition as well as increased consumer awareness of omega-3 DHA. Additionally, consumers are demanding solutions to improve brain health, memory, and overall cognition, whether for themselves, their children, or their parents. We therefore expect double-digit growth in this sector.


Karen Todd, RD, CSCS, HFS, Director of Marketing, Kyowa Hakko USA

2012 will be a great year for Cognizin brand citicoline. We published a clinical study in June 2012 supporting focus and attention claims for Cognizin at 250mg/day. Cognizin has multi-faceted health benefits; our additional claims and the use levels have made it even more valuable for one of the fastest-growing health categories.


Kartikeya Baldwa, Director, Ixoreal Biomed (KSM-66)

The category for cognitive products represents an exciting opportunity for nutritional product manufacturers. There are a number of reasons contributing to this growth but a primary driver is the aging population that is both working and living longer. This population wants to maintain healthy cognitive function for as long as possible and is also extremely concerned with cognitive decline and dementia associated with conditions like Alzheimer's. Other growth-contributing factors include the introduction of new products making brain health claims resulting in increased consumer interest and acceptance along with the proliferation of science-supported ingredients.


Fi: Where is the emerging opportunity in this category?

JG: As the baby boomers age, the loss of mental sharpness and cognitive decline are the No. 1 concerns among adults older than 50, according to Sloan Research. Maintaining mental sharpness is a significant opportunity for the nutraceutical category and might be solved by supplementation. Magtein has been shown to increase brain synapse density and plasticity in prefrontal cortex and hippocampus in published animal studies, which implies the potential for improving mental sharpness. While anecdotal, hundreds of humans taking Magtein have reported increased mental sharpness. Three human studies are being initiated to quantify and verify these reports.


JB: Despite recommendations from authoritative groups published over the past 10 years, suboptimal intakes of DHA persist. Future clinical studies will continue to study the effect of DHA on all age groups, including pregnancy, infants, children, and adults. Memory is an emerging area of great interest and concern with consumers – both for children as memory functions develop as well as for the adult population concerned with loss of memory. Clinical studies using life’sDHA are currently investigating the area of memory improvement, and results appear encouraging.


KT: Emerging opportunities for Cognizin are within the traditional food category. Cognizin's GRAS status allows many applications from cereals, bars to chewing gum that would be benefit with the addition. Cognizin is produced by a patented, fermentation process, it is vegetarian, gluten free, extremely stable and easy to work with for food applications. 


KB: The emerging opportunity is with the aging population because current product offerings aren't filling their need. Ingredients with prior success such as ginkgo have not adapted to changing needs or contributed new scientific support in line with consumer demands.


Fi: What is the biggest threat to growth?

JG: That the consumer will not see an effect with the compound. Magtein has been consumed by thousands of consumers, which are reporting remarkable results. Better focus, clarity, attention and brain energy have been reported as well as quality of sleep. The cost of ongoing research is a hurdle to growth but not a threat. Magtein is currently entering three human clinicals to verify various need states.


JB: Consumers are more aware than ever of DHA and its brain-health benefits. However, educating consumers will continue to be vital moving forward. Science is continually evolving, and it is important that consumers understand the facts so that they can make the best decisions possible.


KT: Educating consumers and healthcare professionals is a big part of our marketing activities to support brands containing Cognizin. The support of Cognizin with scientific studies from respected organizations and the ability to provide accurate information about product claims is critical to our success.


KB: The two primary factors limiting category growth are: 1) Completing the science to fully support the brain health claims made along with demonstrating ingredient efficacy; and 2) Establishing consumer awareness and confidence that these products really work.

Condition-specific directory: Cognitive health




Patented Magtein is the only form of magnesium shown to effectively cross the blood brain barrier.  It increases brain synaptic density. Two published research studies have demonstrated Magtein’s ability to improve short-term and long-term memory, recognition and learning, as well as alleviating anxiety in animal models. Magtein is self-affirmed GRAS.  


City of Industry, California



Aker BioMarine 

Superba Krill Oil



Alchem USA Inc

ReQollect vinpocetine

ReQollect is a branded vinpocetine extract manufactured from the finest plant material by Alchem. ReQollect helps improve cognitive performance and memory functions by increasing blood circulation through the brain.



Minnetonka, Minnesota





pTeroPure is a proprietary, patent protected, nature identical form of pterostilbene, which is found naturally in blueberries. It has superior biological activity, better oral bioavailability and metabolizes more slowly in the body than other polyphenols. Pterostibene in animal studies has shown improvement in memory and enhanced mental focus. Pterostibene crosses the blood brain barrier.



Irvine, California




EPAX 1050

DHA is the omega-3 fatty acid abundantly present in a healthy human brain. Numerous studies support the role omega-3 DHA supplementation plays in supporting healthy brain function as we age. EPAX 1050 has been formulated with a high concentration of DHA, and has been clinically proven to have a positive affect on age-related memory decline.

+47 70 13 59 60


Alesund, Norway



Ixoreal Biomed Pvt. Ltd.

KSM-66 Ashwagandha



Kyowa Hakko USA 

Cognizin Citicoline



Lonza Inc. 


DHAid is a concentrated and purely vegetarian source of omega-3 DHA manufactured by Lonza. DHA is used by our body as a building block for cell membranes and thus plays an important role in membrane fluidity, flexibility and permeability. Health benefits include the support of brain development and function, as well as heart and eye health.


The Memree brand covers a line of products that contain high quality, soy-based phosphatidylserine. Phosphatidylserine is an important structural component of cell membranes and is found in concentrated amounts in brain cells. Products in the Memree line include MemreePS for cognitive health and MemreePlus for cognitive health, stress reduction and exercise recovery applications.



Allendale, New Jersey



Neptune Technologies and Bioressources

NKO phospholipids bounded omega-3 and antioxidants



Nutrition 21

Chromax Chromium Picolinate

Proper cognitive function requires a constant supply of glucose to the brain. Low levels of glucose can lead to a breakdown in cognitive function and have a harmful effect on overall brain health by reducing brain glucose transporters. Nutrition 21’s Chromax chromium picolinate supports brain function through improved glucose metabolism, significantly affecting healthy mood and cognitive function.



Purchase, New York



P.L. Thomas 




Soft Gel Technologies Inc.

EZ Mega 3

The high quality fish oil used in EZ Mega 3 softgels provide an ease of omega-3 supplementation in a smaller form factor compared to standard fish oil softgels. The deodorization process creates a fish oil that is not only odorless, but helps minimize aftertaste and reflux.



Los Angeles, California



Xsto Solutions LLC

Algatrium DHA

Algatrium is a patented preparation of DHA from Brudy Technology. DHA is a critically important omega-3 fatty acid for prenatal care and nursing mothers. Human studies support superior bioavailability of Algatrium’s novel “SN2” or second position DHA structure. Algatrium provides antioxidant characteristics and a unique consumable SN2 human-like DHA.



Morristown, New Jersey




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