Elysium launches supplement aimed at slowing brain atrophy

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

©Getty Images - coffeekai
©Getty Images - coffeekai

Related tags B vitamins Fish oil supplements Fish oil Fish oils Omega-3s Cognitive decline Cognitive health Brain health

Elysium Health has launched a new brain health supplement based on research done at the University of Oxford. The supplement, called Matter, pairs a high dose suite of B vitamins with specially formulated omega-3s from fish oil.

Matter is based on research done at Oxford by a team led by Dr. A. David Smith, PhD, professor emeritus of pharmacology at the university.  The original study, called VITACOG and published in 2010 in the journal Plos One​,​ used as a study material a vitamin complex consisting of 0.8 mg folic acid, 0.5 mg cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12) and 20 mg pyridoxine HCl (Vitamin B6). 

Powerful results in slowing atrophy

 The study looked at how the vitamin complex affected the rate of brain tissue atrophy in a cohort of adults aged 70 and above who had been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment. The study ran for two years and included 168 subjects who completed the full protocol.

The results were measured both via brain scans and testing homocysteine levels in the blood. Homocysteine is an amino acid associated with cognitive decline, part of which is caused by the natural loss of brain tissue as people age.  Humans on average lose about 20% of their overall brain tissue volume over their lifetimes after the brain reaches its full adult size.

The results of that trial showed both a decline in homocysteine levels for the treatment group as well as a slowing of the rate of brain tissue loss.  The loss for the treatment group was an average of 0.5% of overall brain volume, while for the placebo group it was 3.7%. The researchers said that represented an 86% lower rate of brain tissue loss.

Omega-3s boost effect

A subsequent trial published in 2016 in the Journal of Alzheimers Disease​ looked into whether a higher base level of omega-3s could improve the efficacy of the B vitamin complex.  That study, which was done by researchers from Oxford, as well as from the United Arab Emirates, Norway and South Africa, used the same inclusion criteria as the VITACOG study.  It also ran for 2 years, but was even larger scale at 266 participants.

The researchers found a significant effect for higher levels of omega-3s.

“When omega-3 fatty acid concentrations are low, B vitamin treatment has no effect on cognitive decline in MCI, but when omega-3 levels are in the upper normal range, B vitamins interact to slow cognitive decline,”​ they wrote.

Based on this research Elysium formulated its new supplement which was developed in concert with Dr Smith, who also joined the Elysium board of scientific advisors.  The new supplement includes the B vitamins and folate, a bilberry extract as well as a specially formulated ‘omega-3 lysine complex’ which is a powdered from of fish-oil derived omega-3s in a free fatty acid form. Elysium says research shows free fatty acids absorb better than the ethyl ester form of the ingredient found in most dietary supplements.

Part of a long-term product development strategy

“Elysium has always been dedicated to developing novel, clinically validated products in partnership with the world’s best scientists and institutions to advance research in the most promising areas of aging,”​ said Elysium Health CEO Eric Marcotulli.  

Marcotulli said Matter is the company’s third product, all of which represent a common strategy of launching products backed by credible science done by avowed category experts.  The company’s other two products are Basis, an anti aging supplement based on the benefits of nicotinamide riboside, a form of Vitamin B3, and Index, a test that the company says will give consumers a look at their ‘biological age’ as well as a measurement of how fast they are actually aging versus what the calendar says.  The test is based on a DNA methylation biomarker technology.

 “We partnered with Dr. A. David Smith and the University of Oxford to develop Matter, Dr. Morgan Levine at the Yale School of Medicine to develop Index, and my co-founder and Elysium chief scientist Dr. Leonard Guarente at MIT to develop Basis - we will continue the same partnership approach for upcoming products,”​ Marcotulli told NutraIngredients-USA​.

Marcotulli said a build-out of the Index platform is next up in the company’s product development pipeline.

“We are also exploring other new Index applications, including a measure of cognitive function. We intend to offer new Index applications to customers in the months ahead,” ​ he said.

Elysium Health sells the Matter and Basis products for annual subscriptions of $480.  Monthly supplies bought on a one-time basis go for $60. The Index test sells for $499.  The company said discounts are available for consumers who subscribe to more than one product.

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