The product is called Revive and is offered by sports nutrition brand SFH, which stands for stronger, faster, healthier. The company was founded in 2010 by Jeff Leighton, PhD, who now serves as chief scientist. Leighton had a long career in thepharmaceutical industry, including a stint at Burroughs Wellcome where he worked on the development of the antidepressant Wellbutrin.
Since founding SFH, Leighton has introduced a suite of dietary supplement products including high concentrate omega-3 products, pre- and post-workout blends and whey protein products.
Three legged energy stool
The new Revive supplement is based on three key ingredients: Bioenergy Ribose, a branded form of d-ribose, carnitine and CoQ10. According to the three together boost energy and a feeling of focus and concentration without resorting to caffeine.
“I looked at why our cells run out of energy,” Leighton told NutraIngredients-USA. “It has to do with the mitochondria.”
Mitochondria are organelles found in most of the body’s cells in which the biochemical processes of energy production and respiration occur.
“When you are young, in your early 20s, you have as many mitochondria as you are ever going to have,” Leighton said. “By age 60 you have about 50% of them left.”
Caffeine gives a feeling of energy and focus primarily by raising the heart rate, Leighton said. What he was searching for was an energy solution that did not rely on this effect, with its well documented tendency to cause a crash after the effect wears off. Leighton said he was in effect searching for a way to make the engine run better, and thus produce more power on each stroke, rather than just to make it run faster.
He chose the three main ingredients for Revive because of the key roles each play in the ATP production pathway within the mitochondria.
“These are the three that are absolutely required,” he said. Carnitine is involved in transporting long chain fatty acids across the mitochondrial membrane. CoQ10 acts as a powerful antioxidant, helping to prevent tissue damage that could be a byproduct of the fevered activity within the mitochondria as well as accelerating the rate of ATP synthesis
And d-ribose is an equally important third leg of the stool, Leighton said.
“There are certain situations in which d-ribose is rate limiting in the synthesis of ATP,” he said.
Dose response curve found
Leighton said the company has performed a placebo-controlled pilot study with the finished formula with 62 subjects that found 85% of those who received the Revive product (which is sold as a tub-and-scoop dosage format) felt it had increased their energy and alertness as measured by the answers to questionnaires. The study extended over one month.
“We found a dose response curve on both energy and alertness. That’s always a good sign that it’s not just an accident,” Leighton said.
Leighton said his background in the drug industry has made him vigilant when it comes to the dosages used in his products. He said one of the reasons for choosing Bioenergy Ribose (there are commodity versions of d-ribose available in the market) was that he could then have access to the ingredient’s hefty suite of scientific backing. That led him to include a full 5 grams of the 5-carbon sugar in his product, which is what is supported by Bioenergy’s research.
“The Bioenergy product comes with a considerable amount of data. From my background in the pharmaceutical industry, I know that dose is everything. Dose response curves are so important,” he said.
Leighton said the product, which formally launched in May, is already being sold in as many as 4,000 CVS locations, where it has been placed in the memory and focus section.
“The energy boost also occurs in neuronal tissue,” Leighton said, which accounts for the product’s cognitive effects.