Australian supplement firm riding on bio-hacking wave to spur nootropic development in Asia

By Cheryl Tay contact

- Last updated on GMT

Nootropics are getting increasingly popular as the concept of 'hacking' the brain, better known as bio-hacking, gains traction. ©Getty Images
Nootropics are getting increasingly popular as the concept of 'hacking' the brain, better known as bio-hacking, gains traction. ©Getty Images
An Australian manufacturer is tapping into growing demand for nootropics, using herbs to develop 'natural' supplements to boost cognitive health.

Bod Australia — which also produces supplements for joint health and maternal health — is looking to expand the range of products under its Pinpoint brand, which is dedicated to aiding cognitive health.

The brand's first product, Bright Brains, is a supplement in capsule form, meant primarily for high school and university students. It promises to improve concentration, mental clarity and memory retention, among other benefits.

CEO Jo Patterson told NutraIngredients-Asia​: "We deal with pure, high quality extracts, and we're focused on singular extracts for each of our products, so we can perfect them for maximum efficacy.

"Bright Brains helps calm the mind so you can focus, memorise and concentrate better."

The supplement's key ingredient is Bacopa monnieri​, more commonly known as water hyssop or Indian pennywort. It is traditionally used in ayurveda ​for epilepsy and asthma, but also said to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may enhance cognitive health.

Newtropics?

Nootropics (sometimes also called 'smart drugs') are getting increasingly popular as the concept of 'hacking' the brain, better known as bio-hacking, gains traction.

Research and Markets reported the cognitive health business to be valued at US$2.3bn in 2015, with a projected worth of US $11.6bn by 2024.

Brain-boosting supplements are certainly not new, but these days, their application and composition vary greatly, and nootropic manufacturers have begun to distance their products from the 'smart drug' label.

While ingredients such as herbs and amino acid can be found in certain nootropics, pharmaceutical 'smart drugs' like modafinil are said to be ineffective at best and addictive at worst.

All ages covered

Patterson said, "More people are looking for natural alternatives to prescription medicines and pharmaceutical drugs for overall cognitive health and even behavioural issues like ADHD, so they are showing greater interest in safe, natural nootropics."

She added that Bod Australia was planning to develop supplements under Pinpoint for children with ADD in gummy and liquid formats, as well as supplements for older people in capsule and liquid formats.

Pinpoint is particularly interested in catering to older adults, thanks to the growing ageing populations in countries across APAC.

Patterson said, "We are currently looking at a combination of Bacopa monnieri and turmeric, which may — due to their anti-inflammatory nature —help to enhance cognitive health, especially in the elderly.

"Studies have shown that inflammation is involved in the onset of dementia, and we'd like to help lower the risk.

At the moment, Bod Australia distributes its products to pharmacies in Australia, but is seeking to export outside its homeland, with China, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and India as priorities.

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