Study suggests Levagen+ holds cognitive health benefits

By Nikki Hancocks

- Last updated on GMT

© Nevarpp | Getty
© Nevarpp | Getty

Related tags Research

New research has concluded Levagen+ palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) could provide an innovative intervention for cognitive health enhancement in students, opening a door to the gaming market for Gencor Pacific Ltd.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Centre for Nutraceuticals at the University of Westminster, London, and funded by Gencor Pacific Ltd, is the first to show that this supplement can lead to an increase in serum BDNF - a key protein required for the maintenance of normal neuronal function and associated with memory, learning and cognitive function.

Published in the journal 'Nutrients'​, the study also reported simultaneous marked improvements in outcomes related to memory following supplementation.

"This study aimed to examine, for the first time, the effect of PEA supplementation on markers of cognitive function in a healthy population," Maggie McNamara, marketing director at Gencor Pacific, told NutraIngredients.

"The Levagen+ group showed improved memory in the CANTAB cognition test. Memory improvement through better first success with fewer errors, and this data suggests that Levagen+ holds great promise as an innovative and practical intervention for cognitive health enhancement.  An excellent ingredient to add to a supplement in the category of healthy aging or gaming!"

Professor Mohammed Gulrez Zariwala, corresponding author and director of the Centre for Nutraceuticals, added: “Cognitive function is an area of great importance from the perspective of healthy ageing. This is an exciting area of research, but there are relatively few clinical studies that have examined the efficacy of supplements on cognitive function in healthy young adults.

"This trial gives some interesting insights into the mechanisms by which supplements containing formulated bioactive ingredients may bring about their effects on cognition.”

Levagen+ PEA

Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) is an endogenous fatty acid amide, and lipid modulator. Levagen+, from Gencor Pacific Limited, is a specialised form of PEA formulated using a proprietary delivery system (LipiSperse, Pharmako) that has been shown in previous studies​ to significantly increase PEA bioavailability.

However, there is sparse information about the relationship between PEA supplementation and cognition in humans, particularly in a healthy population.

Cognition is a complex area and includes a set of collective processes including memory, attention and executive function essential for functional life.  Changes can occur in these processes with ageing, and age-associated diseases accelerate the rate of cognitive decline which can lead to debilitating effects.

There has been considerable scientific interest in exploring approaches and substances that can optimise or enhance cognition. Recent research has shown that the onset of cognitive decline can begin as early as in one's mid-20s, making it crucial to explore potential interventions at an early age, the authors argued.

Cognitive support in students

The study used a double-blinded placebo-controlled cross-over trial to determine the effects of 6-week 700 mg/day Levagen+ PEA supplementation.

The trial was conducted in university students, as this cohort faces numerous intellectual challenges during their academic education.

Full-time male and female university students (n = 39) completed pre- and post-assessments of cognitive tests (CANTAB core cognition neuropsychological test automated battery) to measure Paired Associates Learning recommended standard (PALFAMS and PALTEA), and serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels (BDNF) were measured using immunoassays. 

Following six weeks of supplementation with Levagen+ PEA, the expression of serum BDNF significantly increased by 2.76 ± 6.12 ng/mL (p = 0.0005) compared with no change in the placebo (−0.72 ± 7.16 ng/mL; p = 0.39). This difference was significantly different (p = 0.0057, d = 0.62).

The CANTAB cognition test revealed PALFAMS and PALTEA improved from baseline to follow-up with PEA supplementation, while no change was reported in the placebo group (PALFAMS baseline: 15.09 ± 3.67 and follow-up 16.79 ± 2.97; p = 0.0005; PALTEA baseline: 7.90 ± 10.37 and follow-up: 5.39 ± 7.60; p = 0.0129).

Regarding limitations of this study, the authors note they observed a dropout rate of 27%, which may have been influenced by extensive supplementation and a washout period of a minimum of six weeks.

Sample size calculations had suggested 54 participants were required to observe a change in BDNF at a statistical power of 95%. While the dropout rates meant this was not achieved, they did achieve minimum recommended statistical power of 80%.

They further note a lack of absolute control over dietary intake throughout the intervention. However, PEA is not commonly found in substantial quantities within typical dietary sources.


Source: Nutrients


"Formulated Palmitoylethanolamide Supplementation Improves Parameters of Cognitive Function and BDNF Levels in Young, Healthy Adults: A Randomised Cross-Over Trial"

Authors: Kim, N; Parolin, B; Renshaw, D; Deb, S.K; Zariwala, M.G. 

Related topics Research Cognitive function

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