Brain nutrition: BRAND’S Suntory expands cognitive health supplement into South East Asia
The supplement marketed as MEMO+ contains the clinically studied ProBeptigen ingredient, a hydrolysed chicken extract derived from the firm’s proprietary Essence of Chicken technology.
MEMO+ is said to support brain health and cognitive function in people aged 30 and above.
Cognitive health can start to decline from as early as 30 years old, as part of normal ageing. It comes with signs such as difficulty in recalling conversations, concentrating, and learning.
The supplement was first launched in Taiwan earlier this year to positive response.
“Sales are doing well and gaining momentum. So, we started to expand to Singapore and Thailand lately,” said Dr Shan May Yong, principal scientist at BRAND’S Suntory.
The supplement is sold on BRAND’S e-commerce store, as well as through its hotline. The firm is using a mix of telemarketing, television and social media to market the product.
Yong told us there are plans to launch in more South East Asian markets in the future.
ProBeptigen is a result of more than 10 years of research and development.
In 2013, Cerebos Pacific, now a wholly owned subsidiary of Suntory Holdings, funded a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study on the cognition-enhancing benefits of ProBeptigen in 20 healthy middle-aged adults.
For the test group, subjects were supplemented with 670mg of ProBeptigen daily for six weeks.
Results showed that those in the test group recorded higher level of attention and concentration. The study was published in Nutrition Journal.
This result gave them the confidence to do a larger clinical trial which was published in 2020 in Nutrients.
In the recent study, 72 middle-aged individuals with mild stress were recruited. Similarly the test group was administered 670mg of ProBeptigen daily for eight weeks.
The clinical study showed improved verbal and spatial working memory in this group. This effect was also sustained two weeks after the study.
The trial also measured several blood markers and brain electrical signals, and the test group reported a progressive decline of an inflammatory marker (C-reactive protein) throughout the eight-week supplementation compared to placebo.
In the two weeks follow up, the C-reactive protein levels remained low, while those in the placebo group had no change from baseline.
In both clinical trials, subjects were between 35 to 65 years old.
Based on the results of these studies, the target group for MEMO+ are middle-age consumers who are mostly working adults.
For MEMO+, the company recommends four tablets a day, totalling 670mg of ProBeptigen.
“During the clinical trials, we gave subjects two tablets daily, but because of the larger tablet size, consumers feedbacked that the tablets were difficult to swallow, so for MEMO+, we developed smaller tablet sizes,” Yong said.
Besides ProBeptigen, MEMO+ also contains calcium and vitamin E.
Yong explained: “Calcium plays an important role in regulating neuronal functions like neurotransmitter synthesis and release. It is also involved in long term processes like memory formation and learning.”
In Thailand, the addition of calcium in MEMO+ allows the firm to make a nutrient function claim for calcium’s contribution to normal neural transmission.
Vitamin E functions as an antioxidant, protecting cells from oxidative stress.
A popular product from BRAND’S is the liquid Essence of Chicken which contains vitamin B and iron to help alleviate day-to-day mental and physical fatigue. MEMO+ is targeted at supporting long-term brain health and cognitive functions.