The study used Mibelle’s SaraPEPP Nu ingredient, which is a combination of Timut Pepper (Zanthoxylum armatum DC) and medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil extract.
Researchers from Northumbria University (UK) and Mibelle Group Biochemistry (Switzerland) investigated the potential cognitive effects in response to acute (single) or chronic (eight weeks) dosing with the ingredient. The study was sponsored by Mibelle Group.
Writing in Nutrients, scientists reported that SaraPEPP Nu consumption not only significantly improved measures of cognitive function, but also modulated of cerebral blood flow.
“A [Zanthoxylum armatum] extract rich in hydroxy alpha-sanshool resulted in global improvements in the speed of performing cognitive tasks, suggesting enhanced processing speed. ZA also resulted in a decreased hemodynamic response in the frontal cortex to cognitive task-mediated activation of this brain region,” wrote the researchers.
“These effects can reasonably be interpreted as reflecting a ZA-related increase in neural efficiency, particularly during attention task performance.”
Mibelle lauched SaraPEPP Nu at last year’s SSW in Las Vegas.
Dr Torsten Grothe, Head of Food & Health for Mibelle Group, told us that one of the most remarkable results from the study is the impact on stress resistance (decrease of metal fatigue), making the product suitable for many population subgroups, like students, business executives, working professionals, etc.
“Another unique selling point is based on the formulation, as the product is MCT-oil based,” he said. “It diffuses passively from the gastrointestinal tract into the blood stream, securing a superb bioavailability and a long-lasting effect.”
Dr Grothe added that Timut Pepper belongs to the citrus family, and so SaraPEPP Nu has a pleasant grapefruit-like taste without any pungent off-notes.
“It can be easily blended with omega fatty acids and other lipid-soluble nutrients like vitamins A and E for softgel capsule applications. Furthermore, it also can be formulated into functional food products such as beverages, dairy products and even chewy candies. SaraPEPP Nu is fitting products for students, working professionals and golden agers.”
The double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-groups study included 82 healthy men and women aged between 30 and 55. Participants were randomly assigned to consume either SaraPEPP Nu (2.8 g of Z. armatum DC. with an MCT oil extract, providing an actual dose of the Z. armatum DC. extract or 80 mg) or placebo for eight weeks.
“Each 2.8 g dose contained alkamides including 7.8 mg hydroxy alpha-sanshool and monoterpenes including 5.3 mg limonene, 3.6 mg linalool and 2.3 mg methyl cinnamate,” explained the researchers.
Data collected pre-dose, and again after one, three and five hours on day one allowed the researchers to assess the acute effects. Data was also collected at the end of the eight weeks.
Results showed that SaraPEPP Nu consumption was associated with improvements in overall cognitive function, working memory and attention in both the acute and chronic tests.
Commenting on the potential mechanism(s) of action, the researchers noted that hydroxy-alpha-sanshool may increase the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
“Indeed, monoterpenes, which are represented in ZA extracts at significant levels, have been shown to have consistent cholinesterase inhibitory properties and to exert beneficial cognitive effects; including at doses as low as 25 microliters,” they wrote.
“A cholinergic mechanism certainly could be responsible for the cognitive effects seen here, although the pattern here on Day 56 was for a speeding of performance across cognitive domains; suggesting a general improvement in neural efficiency and processing speeds rather than the focused cognitive benefits to memory/attention that cholinergic agents are typically associated with.”
2019, 11(12), 3022; doi: 10.3390/nu11123022
“The Acute and Chronic Cognitive and Cerebral Blood-Flow Effects of Nepalese Pepper (Zanthoxylum armatum DC.) Extract—A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study in Healthy Humans
Authors: D. Kennedy et al.