In a few weeks, the couple’s brand Liveli will officially debut to consumers, boosting awareness around its three different supplement kits—all targeting cognitive health, all packaged in boxes containing single-serve daily packets.
The format rides on the wave of online supplement subscriptions, delivered in daily packets to promote consumer compliance to get the appropriate doses.
Anesthesiologist James Lee’s process of recovering from a brain tumor in 2010 is what led him and his wife, dermatologist Tess Mauricio, to start a supplement company that delivers micronutrients with scientific studies backing their potential cognitive health benefits.
“Our brains are very much like Formula One cars,” he told NutraIngredients-USA. “After the two hour race, it’s mostly not working. It’s taken down, taken apart, repaired, rebuilt, restored—that’s our brains too.”
On Liveli’s homepage, Dr. Lee explains in a video about the brand’s story that the harder and faster the brain works, the more energy it extracts from food. “If you can’t get everything your brain needs form your diet, then you need to supplement what you’re eating.”
Formulating the products
There are three supplements in the Liveli system. The main one is Restore Dayli, which contains a cocktail of ingredients including rosemary leaf extract, alpha-GPC, resveratrol, choline, flaxseed oil, and coQ10. As the biggest box among the three supplements, it’s marketed as the main cognitive support supplement.
The other supplements are Sleep Peacefulli (which includes minerals and extracts of lemon balm leaf, passionflower, and chamomile), and Focus Clearli (with creatine monohydrate, resveratrol, cayenne, and ginger, among others).
They worked with a consultant in Irvine, CA to formulate the products, combined with Dr. Lee’s still-intact biochemistry knowledge from his undergrad years at Yale learning molecular biophysics and biochemistry.
“I learned about these molecules at the beginning of every chapter,” he said. But he added that, both in undergraduate school and in med school, the curricula never expanded on studies on these nutrients, highlighting an enduring discord between integrative medicine and so-called ‘traditional’ medicine.
“We are explicitly told, and I remember this day in lecture—that we don’t have to worry about these biochemicals. We need so few of it, so infrequently, that it doesn’t matter,” Dr. Lee added. “We just need scarce trace quantities of it. We are taught big picture—just memorize it for a test and forget about it.”
Adding personality to the brand
Doctors Lee and Mauricio believe they have the unique advantage of having gone through a challenging personal experience and having medical expertise.
In fact, they proudly flaunt their alma mater (and the university where they met as med students) on Liveli’s homepage—‘Formulated by Stanford Educated MDs.’
“We’re very proud and excited because it’s rare that Stanford allows its name to be used, even if you are a graduate,” Dr. Lee said. “But we communicated with them, we cleared it with their office, we showed them the formulation, and they allowed us to say ‘Formulated by Stanford Educated MDs.’”
Add to that, the couple prominently features their personalities together with their brand. “I have a very busy, prominent practice as well. So before we put our names behind something, we want to make sure that there’s good efficacy,” Dr. Mauricio said.
Initial funding came primarily from their two co-founders, fellow Californians Kim Perell, a serial entrepreneur and angel investor, and James Brennan, CEO of Enlightened Brand Ventures, which includes beverage brand Suja in its portfolio.