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Formula-specific science helps product gain entry to practitioner channel

By Hank Schultz , 04-Feb-2013

Emerson Ecologics, which markets a wide range of dietary supplements in the health practitioner channel, has taken on a new cognitive support product,  Perceptiv by Sevo Nutraceuticals, attracted, a Sevo official says, by the product’s long list of formula-specific human clinical trials.

Perceptiv was formulated as a cognitive support product for people suffering normal age related cognitive decline.  The product is a patent-pending blend of GRAS ingredients, said Sevo CEO Bernie Prusaczyk.  These include Vitamin E, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 and a Proprietary blend of N-Acetyl L-Cysteine, Acetyl L-Carnitine and S-Adenosyl Methionine (SAMe).

All of these ingredients have scads of studies attached to them.  And the standard dodge of formulators of products containing multiple ingredients is to base their product claims on the demonstrated or implied benefits of each individual ingredient.  This approach implies an additive or synergistic effect for the finished formulation, but doesn’t really supply the data to back that up.

Prusaczyk said Perceptiv is different in that the product has been under development for 20 years and has seven independent, university-conducted clinical trials under its belt on the complete formula.

“Generally people’s reaction is, ‘Is this independent research? And it went on for how long?  On the whole formulation?’ That’s the attention getter,” Prusaczyk told NutraIngredients-USA. “All of these studies were done before we licensed the product.”

Cholinergic hypothesis

Perceptiv is intended to help increase the production of a key neurotransmitter – acetylcholine, which is responsible for transfer of messages between synapses critical to thinking and memory.

 Acetylcholine normally breaks down rapidly so the brain can quickly move on to new thoughts. But if it breaks down too fast, the message isn't transmitted. During normal aging, acetylcholine production declines. One of the effects can be that acetylcholine is either present in insufficient quantities or is broken down too fast, so the message isn’t fully transmitted and the thought is not “completed.”

The cholinergic hypothesis of age-related cognitive decline is based both on post mortem and antemortem studies in aged humans and Alzheimer’s disease suffers. These studies suggest a host of cholinergic abnormalities including alterations in choline transport, acetylcholine release, nicotinic and muscarinic receptor expression, neurotrophin support, and perhaps axonal transport may all contribute to these cognitive abnormalities in aging.

Developed at universities

Sevo Nutraceuticals licensed the formual for Perceptiv form the University of Massachusetts, Prusaczyk said, adding that its development started at Harvard Medical School.

One of the recent published studies conducted by U Mass’s Center for Neurobiology and Neurodegeneration Research showed that participants receiving the formula but not placebo improved statistically and clinically in the California Verbal Learning Test II and the Trail-Making Test. "These findings support the benefit of nutritional supplements for cognitive performance and suggest that additional supplementation may be required for the elderly,” the study’s authors concluded.

Products aimed at healthy aging will have a fertile field in which to grow in the coming years, Prusaczyk said.

“The baby boomer market is anywhere from 75 to 80 million consumers in the US . And once we start to turn 40 we start to have those things we call memory lapses,” he said.

Technology incubator

Sevo Nutracueticals is an offshoot of an “incubator” company called Atlantic VIC, that deals with nutraceuticals as well as medical devices and other health-related products.

“Atlantic VIC is a technology venture development company.  We work very closely with research institutions and universities to identify science based intellectual property that we feel could either be foundational for either a new company like Sevo and what we did with the University of Massachusetts, or licensed into one of our portfolio companies,” Prusaczyk said.

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