If you look at brain health as a commuter train, each car represents an aspect of mental faculty and well-being, engineered by the Ayurvedic principle of homeostasis with the conductors being the popular adaptogenic herbs bacopa (Bacopa monnieri) and curcumin (Curcuma longa).
The destination? Happier consumers.
The nootropic market is unquestionably a hot one. According to Nutrition Business Journal’s 2023 Condition-Specific Report, the growth continues to be driven by assertive interest in the category by an unexpected group of consumers – young adults, “from neurohackers to gamers to employees looking to beat brain fog”.
The brain-support category has been branching out like neurons from its original aim of helping older people to retain their memory function. It now includes focus, concentration, creativity, mood balancing and emotional wellness, as well as improved mental energy, problem solving and comprehension. Add the deepening interest in Ayurvedic herbs, and the result is a category that is astoundingly rich with opportunities for product development.
Increasingly, formulators are seeking new ways to more accurately target in this evolving space to match consumers’ increasingly specific goals with supporting their brain and mental health. Globally, 46% of consumers are seeking ways to improve mental well-being, according to data from FMCG Gurus.
There is a distinction between ‘brain health’ and ‘cognitive health’. Brain health involves the ability to function well, if not optimally, in daily life and work; this includes making decisions, solving problems, interacting with others, as well as having emotional balance. Cognitive health is the ability to think clearly, learn, and remember. Combined, the brain and cognitive health space is vast and allows for greater product diversity and flexibility.
Ayurveda is a self-care modality that is being embraced by a growing number of people. This ancient Indian system of medicine is still practiced, and primarily utilizes herbs and other plants.
Data from Verified Market Research (May 2022) shows that the global Ayurvedic market size was $6.5 billion in 2020, with a projected CAGR of 15.6% through to 2028 to approximately $21.12 billion. This forecast illustrates that Ayurvedic herbal products for supporting health and wellness are gaining devotees.
And for good reason. Many Ayurvedic herbs are adaptogens, and these are being studied more frequently for their long-term benefits and targeted health support. For example, authors of one study write that herbal adaptogens are consumed primarily to “improve attention”, to “increase endurance in scenarios where fatigue is present,” and to “restore cognitive performance that has been affected by stress”.1
Adaptogens are the hot herb category, as part of the growing Ayurvedic market which is seeing consumer enthusiasm. Numerous anecdotes are enthusiastic affirmations about feeling better, enjoying heightened well-being and resistance to stressors.
According to market data from Global Market Insights (Adaptogens Market Size by Source, Application, Distribution Channel & Forecast 2023-2032, December 2022), the global market size for adaptogen products reached a staggering $10 billion in 2022, with an estimated 6.8% CAGR to land on $19 billion in 2032. In other words, adaptogen products seem to be here to stay as attaining homeostasis becomes more entrenched as a prime health goal.
The landscape for Ayurvedic adaptogen products is indeed fertile, and Verdure Sciences® provides two versatile solutions for long-term support of cognitive wellness.
Two clinically proven Ayurvedic adaptogenic ingredients, Bacognize® Bacopa monnieri and Longvida® Optimized Curcumin® may work harmoniously to support both brain function and cognitive function, as shown by results of several human clinical studies on each.
Bacognize® has over nine studies in total, of which three are mechanistic, and six are human clinicals in several healthy adult populations ranging in ages 19-33, 40-75 and 60-65.
Studies using 300 mg Bacognize® found that the herb significantly improved mood and emotional wellbeing in healthy adults, significantly improved working memory, attention, focus and learning an average of 32%, significantly increased attention by an average of 26%, and 78% improvement of cognitive measures, such as memory, attention, and mood, all compared to baseline.2-3
Overall, the studies found that healthy adults taking 300 mg per day of Bacognize® may experience improved mood and emotional well-being, mental alertness, concentration, and working memory, attention and focus.3
Meanwhile, Longvida® Optimized Curcumin® has four clinical human studies looking at its cognitive effects at only 400 mg per day, and other human studies using various dosing and populations all focusing on the herb’s impact on cognitive faculties.3
Research has shown healthy subjects taking 400 mg Longvida® per day demonstrate hippocampal activation which is known to manage healthy mood and increase working memory. In one study, researchers found improvements in the feelings of contentment, calmness and elevated mood within four weeks.4
Further, researchers were able to replicate these results with improvements in overall mood after 12 weeks through measures of fatigue-inertia (reduced mental exhaustion by 15%), tension-anxiety (by 16% at four weeks and 17% by 12 weeks), confusion-bewilderment (improved concentration, learning potential, and improved working memory by 25%), and greater reductions in anger-hostility (improved mood and mental /emotional wellbeing by 53% at four weeks and 64% at 12 weeks).5
Additionally, research shows Longvida® may increase learning, and spatial memory. When measured using a virtual Morris Water Maze healthy adults taking Longvida® demonstrated a significant 31% increase in spatial memory and learning. Observations also included a nearly 20% increase in working memory, sustained attention, concentration, and higher-order cognitive processing.5
Further, patented Longvida® Optimized Curcumin® is distinguished by its ability to provide results that are experienced in as little as one hour.4
Both Bacognize® and Longvida® are supported by Verdure Sciences’ Verdugration®, a program that integrates traceable, sustainable and certifiable practices, and a commitment to collaborating with organizations, farmers/growers and associations globally to achieve environmental and social health and well-being.
The Sustainable Turmeric Program (STP) is a sub-initiative under Verdugration® that supports the communities that cultivate the turmeric raw material for Verdure. Under the program, Verdure Sciences® partners with farmers for turmeric grown as a primary crop and provides education, resources, support, and more for continued clean label improvements.
Both Bacognize® and Longvida® have several quality certifications – Non-GMO Project Verified, Certified Glyphosate Residue Free, Kosher, and Halal. Recently, both ingredients have been certified under the Alkemist Assured™ Quality Transparency Initiative, which further fortifies trust for formulators and brand marketers (and of course consumers) through identity testing, assay, and screening for heavy metal and pesticide contaminants.
Both ingredients can be formulated for supplements, foods and beverages, and can additionally be used in personal care products.
1. Amir M; Vohra M; Rojin G; et al. Adaptogenic herbs: A natural way to improve athletic performance. Health Sciences Review, Volume 7, 2023, 100092, ISSN 2772-6320.
2. Kumar N et al. Evid Based Comp Alter Med. 2016 Sep 15. Vol 2016(Art ID 4103423). 8pgs. doi: 10.1155/2016/4103423
3. Verdure Sciences®. Ingredient Research.
4. Cox KH et al. Investigation of the effects of solid lipid curcumin on cognition and mood in a healthy older population. Centre for Human Psychopharmacology, Swinburne University. J Psychopharmacoly. 2015 May. 29(5): 642-651. EPub 2014 Oct 02. doi: 10.1177/0269881114552744
5. Cox KHM et al. Further evidence of benefits to mood and working memory from lipidated curcumin [Longvida®] in healthy older people: A 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled, partial replication study. Nutrients. 2020 Jun 04. 12(6): 1678. doi: 13390/nu12061678.