No other doctor she visited found anything wrong, so Gutierrez ruled out tumor and Alzheimer’s, and she scheduled a visit to see Dr Doty after learning her impairment was ‘normal brain wear-and-tear.’
“I had played soccer for 14 years of my life, so from all the hits and all that, I had a couple of concussions and my brain was feeling the effects of that,” she told NutraIngredients-USA.
Dr Doty was recommended to her because of his role as founder and director of Stanford Medicine’s The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education “which also is the only center in the world that has been able to clinically prove that neuroplasticity actually exist—in other words the brain can actually adapt to supplements or meditation.”
From supplement sceptic to functional beverage brand founder
At the time, Gutierrez worked for a start up in the Bay Area, and she was a supplement sceptic. “I thought it was all a snake oil type of industry, but I started taking it because my memory was really bad, but I took the 13 supplements every day for three weeks, in the morning on an empty stomach,” she said.
This combination included acetytl l-carnitine, choline, inositol, N-acetyl L-tyorsine, l-theanine, green tea extract, DMAE, PQQ, niacin, and vitamins B6, B12, D, and E.
After that period, she said that she felt like a new person. “I felt like I was 28 again, I could remember things—I shocked myself about what I could remember,” she added. This collection of supplements was the precursor of BrainGear , practically the same tablet cocktail in beverage form.
She thought the supplements were so beneficial, she supported Dr Doty in pitching the formula to Stanford’s athletic teams through head football coach David Shaw. After brainstorming together, they came to the conclusion that “people would not take 14 pills a day compliance-wise—people would take them for a few days and then stop it,” Gutierrez said. “We have to do something in a different format.”
Defining the cognitive performance category
The cognitive function beverage category is still in its infancy, and Gutierrez that some brands out there have marred the category’s image by releasing gimmicky products. “Everybody is a functional beverage now, such as kombucha. Do you really know what kombucha’s doing? You don’t feel it doing anything, but [BrainGear] you do,” she said.
“You feel it within 30-40 minutes, and it’s not a caffeine-based product,” she added. The unique bottle design was chosen to ‘define the category,’ the same way 5-Hour Energy shots had their small shot bottles, coconut water with its square Tetra Pak, and Red Bull with its smaller cans.
“So it was really important for us to have new packaging to define the category,” she added. The product can now be found in Northern California health food stores as well as Walgreens, retailing for around $3 per unit.
She said that the market will see more demand for cognitive-care products, especially with the increasing number of Baby Boomers. “Now people are looking and saying ‘Okay I’ve taken care of my body, now I need to take care of my brain.’”