Former vet student turned neuroscientist launches nootropic supplement based on efficacious doses

By Hank Schultz contact

- Last updated on GMT

Curcumin, derived from turmeric root, is one of the ingredients in the new product.  Image © Getty Images / bdspn
Curcumin, derived from turmeric root, is one of the ingredients in the new product. Image © Getty Images / bdspn
A path that began by looking into animal diseases led a former Mayo Clinic neuroscientist to the development of a new nootropic product for humans.

Daryl Jones, PhD, began his career at a veterinary school in London.  While there, he did some work on the Mad Cow Disease outbreak. In the years since the initial outbreak in the UK more than 200 people who ate tainted meat have been affected.

The infection in humans results in variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a neurodegenerative condition.  Comparing the pathologies of this condition with other neurodegenerative conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, sparked Jones’ interest and led him along another career path toward becoming a neuroscientist. 

Nootropic powerhouses

During a stint at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL, Jones said he became acquainted with nutritional compounds that could have a profound impact on brain health.  He decided to branch out into product development on his own and founded the firm Jonescientific​, which is launching a brain health supplement called Sophrosyne.

The product is based on four ingredients.  Jones said he wanted to pare the active ingredient list down only to those best supported by the evidence. And in doing so, he said he could afford to include efficacious amounts that correspond to what was used in the underlying studies.

“Our research shows that these four nootropic (cognitive enhancing) ingredients, consumed in a daily capsule, deliver the most impressive results in improving cognition and memory compared to any other supplement available on the market,”​ he said.

The found main ingredients are:

Withania somnifera​. This plant – commonly known as Indian ginseng, Ashwagandha or winter cherry – has been proven to regenerate damaged brain cells.

Curcumin​. A natural chemical produced by some plants, featuring antioxidant properties, this ingredient has shown to help maintain a healthy environment within the brain by removing unwanted proteins. An 18-month UCLA human clinical trial confirmed that consuming 180 mg of curcumin per day led to significantly enhanced memory and focus.

Bacopa monnieri​. In at least four randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human trials, this herb has been demonstrated to enhance cognition and memory, and decrease the rate of forgetting newly-acquired information.  It was shown to prevent the breakdown of neurotransmitters essential for cognition and memory.

Hericium erinaceus. ​Also known as Lion’s mane due to its unique appearance, this medicinal mushroom has been found to increase levels of peptides essential for the survival of brain cells. In a 16-week double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled human trial, a high dose of this ingredient was found to improve cognitive function in seniors.

Jones said he believes the supplement will find a market among consumers concerned about brain health and the perseveration of memory function.  While these concerns grow as consumers age, Jones cautions that the time to think about brain health is now, regardless of how old you are.

“People are increasingly concerned about memory decline. But if you are concerned, you should act now, because we know these disorders actually start in your 20s or 30s,” ​Jones said.

Potential sports market

In addition to general memory support, Jones said the product has a potential market among athletes concerned about brain health in light of the ongoing discussion about the effects of repeated blows to the head suffered by football players, hockey players and others.

“Obviously we have to be very careful about what we say when we talk about supplements and disease states. But I do think this will have a market among the sports players.  I have already been contacted by one NHL player,”​ Jones said.

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