‘This is caffeine-evolved’: Ingenious Ingredients co-founder talks up potential of paraxanthine

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags paraxanthine Caffeine Sports nutrition dileucine nootropics

In addition to benefits for focus and athletic performance, without any of the negative effects of caffeine, Ingenious Ingredients’ new paraxanthine ingredient is being felt by consumers "in a way that they’ve never felt caffeine".

“Paraxanthine is a down-stream metabolite of caffeine… It’s a very interesting ingredient. People report to being optimized and not being stimulated,” ​said Shawn Wells, who co-founded Ingenious Ingredients (ING2) in 2018 with Ralf Jaeger, Martin Purpura, and Kylin Liao.  

“We’re not competing against any ingredients. This is caffeine-evolved. It’s a $1 trillion market,” ​Wells told NutraIngredients-USA at the recent SupplySide West show.

Slow vs fast caffeine metabolizers

Wells explained that about one third of the population are fast metabolizers of caffeine: These are the people who can go straight to sleep after they have a cup of coffee. On the other hand, about a third of the population are slow metabolizers, and have problems with issues like headaches and arrhythmia: All the side effects and very little benefits.

“We are researching why this is the case, but one of the reasons we think this is that caffeine exerts physiological effects in of itself, especially for slow metabolizers,” ​he explained. “Caffeine does metabolize into paraxanthine, as well as theobromine and theophylline, but we’re seeing that caffeine has greater toxicity, theophylline has greater toxicity and more side effects. But people who experience the benefits of caffeine, which is a small segment, what we’re seeing is that it’s converting into the metabolite paraxanthine.”

The company is branding the ingredient ENFINITY.

“What we’re also seeing is that [paraxanthine] is more dopaminergic, which is really cool,” ​he said. “This means that, one, it’s neuroprotective, and, two, it means you have greater focus and performance enhancement when it comes to athletic activity and endurance, etc.”

“One really exciting aspect is that we’re getting a lot of feedback around this confidence aspect, this swagger,” ​added Wells. “People are feeling this ingredient in a way that they’ve never felt caffeine or any other methylxanthines that we’ve worked on in the past. It’s so experiential. You get the cognitive enhancement. About 97% of those using it are experiencing it and experiencing it well.”

The compound does occur naturally, he added, and the optimal dose appears to be 200 mg.

The company is picking about 10 large partners to launch with, and this will be a soft launch, said Wells. “We want ‘better-for-you’ messaging, we want our science leveraged, we don’t want it competing with caffeine – we want it to be the hero ingredient, so we’re choosing the right partners for a two-year exclusivity carved out in different segments, and then we’ll go mainstream after that.”​  


As reported earlier this year by NutraIngredients-USA​, the company’s dileucine ingredient – branded RAMPS (Rapid Action Muscle Protein Synthesis) – was the subject of a paper published in the Journal of Applied Physiology​, which reported that young men who consumed dileucine had 42% more muscle synthesis than men who ingested only leucine.

Wells confirmed that ING2 is aiming to have partners for both ingredients during the first and second quarter of 2022.

And the company is not stopping there – more ingredients are in the pipeline. Watch the video above for more information.

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