Unigen preps latest sleep science for SSW, adds new corn-leaf derived ingredient

By Asia Sherman

- Last updated on GMT

© kali9 / Getty Images
© kali9 / Getty Images

Related tags Unigen sleep supplements mood support Supplyside west

Natural ingredients developer Unigen will introduce new research to expand upon the science behind its Maizonol sleep aid at the SupplySide West trade show in Las Vegas on Nov. 2 and 3.

“Adding this study to our previous research, we have a great opportunity here to offer consumers a natural, efficacious alternative for a less stressful, more restorative sleep,” ​said Dr. Qi Jia, CEO ​at Unigen.

The Tacoma, WA-based company will also debut SerenZea for stress and mood health support. Like Maizonol, it is derived from Zea mays​ (corn leaf), a botanical whose extract has been shown to produce melatonin-like effects, reduce stress hormone cortisol and contribute to improved mood.

Supplementing the sleep science

Appearing in the Journal of Medicinal Food​, the new paper is the second clinical study published on Maizinol, which Unigen reintroduced as sleep aid at last year’s SupplySide West​ after its original launch as mood-support ingredient​ some years earlier.

In the latest study, the Unigen team evaluated the effects of Maizonol’s UP165 extract on sleep quality and overall wellbeing in an expanded cohort of 45 healthy volunteers (24 female and 21 male) between the ages of 19 and 73.

After a two-week baseline period, participants consumed either 250 mg of UP165, 500 mg of UP165 or a corn starch placebo a day for four weeks an hour before bedtime. They were monitored nightly for sleep latency, efficiency and rapid eye movement time, as well as weekly with Sleep Quality Survey and salivary cortisol levels.

“At the conclusion of the study, we found that our standardized corn leaf extract Maizinol improved sleep quality by increasing the deep sleep stage of sleep by almost half an hour, compared to about a 4-minute increase from the placebo group,”​ said Lidia Brownell, Vice President of Clinical Research and Regulatory Compliance. 

Participants supplementing with Maizinol achieved the recommended 90-minutes of total REM sleep time for good quality sleep and showed a statistically significant and dose-correlated reduction in salivary cortisol “so were less likely to experience premature waking”​, Dr. Jia added.

A natural melatonin alternative

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 70 million U.S. adults suffer chronic sleep problems, which are associated with injuries, chronic diseases, mental illnesses and poor quality of life and well-being.

“Due to that prevalence, many consumers are looking toward nutraceuticals, like Maizinol, as safe and efficacious alternatives to synthetic melatonin,”​ the company said in a press release.

It attributes Maizonol’s sleep support effects to its ability to bind to melatonin receptors, reduce cortisol levels and regulate melatonin and serotonin synthesis pathways via the 6-MBOA compound, which acts as a melatonin analogue due to its structural similarity. 

Meanwhile, Unigen will share SerenZea’s potential to reduce cortisol levels, regulate serotonin biosynthesis and inhibit tryptophan dioxygenase to help manage mood and stress health.  Dr. Jia previews that it was developed from mood and stress research collected in two human clinical trials and data published in two peer-reviewed papers. 

Source:Journal of Medicinal Food​ 00 (0) 2022, 1–9
doi: 10.1089/jmf.2021.0197
“UP165, A Standardized Corn Leaf Extract for Improving Sleep Quality and Mood State”
Authors: Shawn M. Talbott et al.

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