Branded as ‘Breinfuel’ (pronounced like ‘brain fuel’), the product is the brainchild of inventor Dr Gerald Horn, MD, a lasik surgeon based in Chicago.
Horn said his interest in nutraceutical and drug development was triggered during his work as a biochemistry undergraduate student at Northwestern University. After moving into lasik surgery, where he says he has now done more than 90,000 procedures, he also built up a career in drug development. Dr Horn said he was interested in the mode of action of some of the eye care products on the market and found them lacking.
Finding new ideas in staid eye care category
“A lot of the eye redness drops that were used were 50 years old in terms of the pharmaceutical technology,” Dr Horn said.
He said he realized that drops that restricted blood flow to the whole surface of the eye were unlikely to foster eye health in the long term. He developed a technology that only narrowed the blood vessels at the very surface that were distended. The product was launched as Bausch & Lomb’s Lumify.
Dr Horn said he has also been involved in an eye drop product that can help deal with vision issues. Once again it’s a targeted technology that makes the pupil small while not affecting the tiny focusing muscles in the iris, an approach that could have long term repercussions. The drops, which could be used as a temporary substitute for reading glasses, are in clinical trials now, he said.
Dr Horn said he took a similar approach to finding a way to have long term energy for a busy day without a serious crash at the end. Bulking up on coffee or on the energy drinks available on the market was not having the desired effect, he said.
“After doing a whole day of lasik surgery I’d get home and it was like after I’d taken a final in school. I’d have dinner and after that I was completely done,” he said.
Better way to support caffeine
Dr Horn said he applied his method of pharmaceutical mode of action analysis to the products on the market and found them wanting in a similar way to what he found in eye care products. Caffeine has a long history of safe use, but the ways in which its was delivered hadn’t evolved in many years.
“Caffeine is a stimulant. How are you going to support that in a zero calorie beverage?” Dr Horn said.
Part of the idea behind the Breinfuel formula was to properly ‘support’ the stimulant action by supplying the right kind of fuel with the caffeine, Dr Horn said. To that end he included collagen, MCT oil and d-ribose.
The next important element of the formula is to source caffeine from natural sources. In that way the caffeine is buffered by and supported by the many other phytochemicals in the green coffee bean extract and green tea extracts he uses to supply the caffeine dose.
“I put tried pure powdered caffeine mixed in water and it made me sick,” Dr Horn said. “Those plants evolved the way they did for a reason.”
Dr Horn said the antioxidant constituents in the product are also a key part of the formula. He thought supercharging brain activity with a high dose of caffeine wasn’t a good idea of done in isolation.
“Your brain has a very flimsy pathway to deal with oxidative stress. We keep in the antioxidant parts of the plant extracts, like the chlorogenic acid in the green coffee bean extract,” he said. Similarly, Dr Horn said beetroot powder was included mostly for its antioxidant activity, not because of its vasodilation properties, thought that is a welcome side effect. Megadoses of vitamins C and E are included for similar reasons.
Big dose of caffeine without jitters
Putting it altogether, Dr Horn said the formula, which includes a whopping 360 mg of caffeine per serving, delivers a long lasting energy boost that doesn't give users a case of the jitters, according to feedback from users.
“For most people who try our product it’s not unusual for them to say they can still feel it even eight hours later,” he said.
The product is now sold direct to consumers via the company’s website. Dr Horn said the product will shortly be offered via Amazon and is in a pilot trial with a major brick and mortar retail chain.