Activ’ Inside project emphasises phytonutrient power to tackle elderly dementia

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

Benoit Lemaire, on the left, and his two co-founders of Activ'Inside, David Gaudout (centre) and Stéphane Rey (right) ©Activ' Inside
Benoit Lemaire, on the left, and his two co-founders of Activ'Inside, David Gaudout (centre) and Stéphane Rey (right) ©Activ' Inside

Related tags: Activ' Inside, personalisation, phytonutrient

Botanical ingredients firm Activ’ Inside is to launch a €16.3m project that aims to prevent cognitive decline in the elderly by personalising nutrition and diet to promote brain health.

The Silver Brain Food project sees the firm develop extracts rich in neuro phytonutrients as well as a range of neuro-nutritional foods standardised in nutrients and proven to tackle cognitive decline.

“The problem is we, as a population are consuming less and less polyphenols as we are eating less fruits and vegetables, but also these foods contain lower polyphenol concentrations,”​ explains Benoit Lemaire, CEO of Activ’ Inside.

“This is due to the varieties of fruits and vegetables we are now consuming that simply taste better. Most of the time polyphenols are not pleasant tasting.

“While cognitive decline is a normal part of life, people are now living longer, giving this decline a longer period to effect the brain’s functions and decrease quality of life.

“The solution is to address nutrition in prevention of cognitive decline. We need a good raw starting material, a good process, and good science to prove how it works, dosage and what you can expect.”

The five-year project is to focus on grape and saffron as the two raw materials, employing a patented process to extract the polyphenols using only water and not a solvent as is normal industry practice.

“This is possible if you change some of the physical parameters of water like temperature and pressure. In doing so you can change the solvent potential of the water and so are able to extract different molecules,”​ says Lemaire.

“So along with grape and saffron, we are also able to obtain extract from lemon balm. One grape polyphenol that interests us is the monomer group. We work with them because their bioavailability is more than 50% when compared to other polyphenols, which can be less than 1%.

“So, speaking specifically about cognitive health and memory, we must ensure the polyphenol molecules are as bioavailable as possible and reach the brain at an efficacious concentration.

EC6 and GoodMix

Alongside its nutritional efforts, Activ’ Inside will also call upon fellow industry partners EC6, experts in geriatric nutrition and digital nutritional coaching firm GoodMix to oversee online coaching sessions and personalised follow-up services.

The project is also set to benefit from the formation of a user committee bringing together companies likely to test the solutions that will be developed during the project.

“The project is not closed to any other grant or food producer that would like to use the premix or ingredient that we will produce,”​ says Lemaire.

“So, for example, a big food company that might like to formulate a specific food for a specific population, would have direct access to everything at the beginning of the project. They don’t have to wait for us to produce a prototype. The project’s findings are open to all interested companies worldwide.”

The project, which also calls upon the University Laboratories of NutriNeuro and Bordeaux Population Health, will create of a network of neighbourhood shops offering products and services to promote elderly people’s well-being at home.

Activ’ Inside hails this project as one ‘built on promising results,’ evolving from research work carried out previously.

It’s first study conducted by the U1219 Bordeaux Population Health research center (Joint Research Unit (UMR) INSERM-University of Bordeaux) and Activ’Inside suggested a high consumption of polyphenols resulted in a 50% reduction of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease incidence.

Likewise, a study involving industrial and academic partners suggested Memophenol, a polyphenol formulation developed by Activ’Inside, could influence normal cognitive decline of elderly people.

These results appeared in the medical journal JAMA​ and a first health claim for the product was delivered by health authorities in South Korea in late 2019.

New claims within five years  

Based on these results, members of Silver Brain Food say they are now planning to obtain new claims on cognitive decline prevention within five years.

“The project is for five years but for the industrial tools of extraction we think that in eight months, we will be ready to produce since we already have the pilot study up and running. So, we expect to start the first production in 2021,” ​adds Lemaire.

“The second step is the clinical studies, which will begin at the same time. We expect to have the first results of the studies in around 30 months, so around three years’ time. We hope to carry out around ten clinical studies.”

Lemiare goes on to explain that one of the objectives the team would like to develop is the concept of essential polyphenols.

“People forget that polyphenols are not just a single molecule, it is many kinds all with different activities and functions benefit,” ​he explains.

“So that is one of the objectives of this project. To make it clear that one of the most important polyphenols, the monomers address the brain and cognitive decline. We haven’t discovered anything new. We are just trying to make it simpler and more understandable.”

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