Bright prospects in brain health: Our cognitive health contenders

By Nikki Hancocks

- Last updated on GMT

© nevarpp / Getty Images
© nevarpp / Getty Images

Related tags Cognitive health NI awards Brain health

Sleep, stress, focus, anxiety, memory and mood support solutions are drawing increasing market interest, meaning this year's NutraIngredients Award for Ingredient of the Year in the cognitive health category was hotly contested.

This trending category invited applications from ingredient suppliers specifically designed for brain health. Applications offered a wide array of benefits, whether for sportspeople needing to stay focused, anxious consumers struggling to sleep or office workers trying to beat the mid-afternoon slump.

Our judges looked for entries with a genuine consumer demand, solid scientific evidence, a good range of ​applications, commercial success or potential, and the X-factor to make it stand out from the crowd.

Beet juice for the brain

Rednite is a fresh beet juice powder stabilized and standardized for higher natural nitrate + antioxidants. In addition to previous science primarily focused on sports nutrition, a 2023 published study​ in 44 subjects at the University of Magna Grecia in Italy reported that consumption of a Rednite-based chewable supplement led to rapid, same-day improvements in some aspects of cognitive function in males and females, particularly memory capacity and frontal skills.

Rednite’s health claims are now backed by two published clinical studies—the first one conducted in United States was published in 2016 in the Journal of American College of Nutrition​, concluding that the supplement provided neuromuscular advantages during metabolically taxing resistance exercise.

Managing sleep and stress

Relissa was developed to support mental, emotional and sleep health to meet the growing consumer demand for non-melatonin sleep products.

The ingredient exploits the recognized properties of lemon balm, aka Melissa officinalis,​ utilizing Indena Phytosome technology to create a delivery system designed to enhance the power of phytonutrients.

It is backed by a three-week randomized controlled trial​ involving 100 healthy adults which concluded that the herbal ingredient provides a promising therapeutic option for the management of moderate emotional distress and/or poor sleep. Moreover, Relissa has a positive impact on the Lactobacillus rhamnosus ​gut bacteria, known to be involved in the maintenance of a good quality of sleep-wake cycle. Preclinical evidence supports its neuromodulating and neuroprotective properties.

Sustained-release melatonin

Melotime, from Nutriventia Limited, is a patent-pending, sustained-release melatonin ingredient which helps to mimic the natural eight hours of the sleep cycle, to aid in falling asleep and support quality sleep throughout the night.

It acts systematically over the eight-hour sleep cycle, releasing a first 50% of the dose in the first hour and subsequent smaller doses each hour thereafter. According to Nutriventia, this release profile provides the right dosage of melatonin that avoids daytime grogginess.

It harnesses proprietary encapsulation technology to improve suitability for a range of applications, including powders, stick packs, tablets, capsules and gummies (with a stable coating designed to endure the intensive gummy manufacturing process).

Winners reveal

The prestigious awards will be handed out during an exclusive VIP gathering in Geneva, Switzerland on May 15, courtesy of NutraIngredients. This event will honor outstanding initiatives and products spanning various industry sectors while also commemorating the awards' 10th anniversary. 

Related topics Markets and Trends

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