Rugby stars migrate from CBD to mushroom innovation

By Nikki Hancocks

- Last updated on GMT

Rugby stars migrate from CBD to mushroom innovation

Related tags Cbd mushrooms holistic nutrition

An athlete-founded supplement brand initially built around CBD has migrated into mycology as the team looks to create ways to remain innovative and relevant in the midst of an increasingly ‘frustrating’ regulatory landscape.

FourFive—once known as FourFive CBD—has created a new avenue for innovation by launching three mushroom capsule supplements for daytime energy, bedtime relaxation and holistic health.

Discussing the move, co-founder and rugby star Dom Day told NutraIngredients that whilst sales of the brand’s CBD products are still increasing (although not by as much as hoped or forecast), they have been thwarted from innovating with this ingredient for several years thanks to a clogged Novel Foods process​, which has hindered their ability to grow.

“The regulatory landscape is super frustrating as we can’t develop new products or be innovative and that means we can’t grow the market," he said. “In the short term, we will focus our energy on our mushroom range until we can innovate with CBD once again."

The new Energy and Focus capsules contain vitamins B6 and B12, Lion’s Mane, Bacopa monnieri, maca root and guarana.

The Bedtime Blend contains reishi, magnesium, passion flower, lemon balm, ashwagandha and L-Tryptophan.

And the multi-mushroom blend contains shiitake, Lion’s Mane, chaga, and maitake mushroom.

The range aims to tap into the growing interest in holistic health solutions that provide benefits for a wide range of health conscious consumers.

"These days it’s more board room than changing room, and high performance now means a solid night’s sleep, maintaining energy and focus throughout the day and supporting their general health and wellness," Day explained.

He said that the products performed better than expected right from the starting blocks. 

“We launched initially in Holland & Barrett on December 1, and they were selling so fast we didn’t have enough to push any online so we had to delay the online launch," he said, adding that the team already plans to add two gummies and one cordyceps capsule supplement to the range in April.

Day said the gummies will provide something new to the market as they will offer efficacious amounts of the mushroom ingredient, which he says is missing with other mushroom gummies on the market, and that the cordycep SKU will fit nicely with the brand's active nutrition focus, by boosting aerobic performance through improved blood flow and oxygen utilization.

He explained that FourFive was careful to avoid any more novel foods confusion with any of these launches: “We wanted to hold off on the cordyceps launch as we wanted to make sure we were using the right raw ingredient so that we didn’t fall foul of the novel foods regulations!”

Stepping up standards

The range is made using a double-extraction process, which uses both alcohol and water to extract different properties in order to ensure the user benefits from the water-soluble beta-glucans and alcohol-soluble triterpenes. 

The mushrooms used in the products are extracted at a 10:1 ratio, meaning that for every 1 g of dried, powdered extract, 10 g of raw mushrooms were used. This makes the powder extract more highly concentrated than some others which are typically 4:1, or even 1:1 ratio.

The mushroom fruiting body is the stem and cap of the mushroom, whereas the mycelium is the underground network or the root. But Day explains that Fourfive uses the fruiting bodies because they have a significantly higher amount of beneficial compounds. 

Polysaccharides are one of the key active components in functional mushrooms. The three main functions of polysaccharides are providing structural support, storing energy and sending cellular communication signals.

Fourfive mushroom supplements also promise to contain minimum 40% polysaccharides, which are beneficial to the immune system. 

FourFive founding

FourFive was founded in 2018 by professional international rugby players George Kruis and Dom Day after both suffered set-backs in their rugby careers due to injuries.

Initially the FourFive CBD brand was created to offer fully transparent CBD products that athletes could trust, offering complete THC level clarity with products that were certified Banned Substance Tested Range (BSCG). 

After a couple of years, the team extended their range to offer other supplements that the duo used on a day-to-day basis such as Vitamin C, multivitamins, omega-3 fish oil and Biotic LGG.

Related topics Research Sports nutrition

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