Adaptogens and nootropics combined: Aussie start-up debuts with supplement addressing burnout, fatigue
Known as Mindlift, the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG)-listed tablet product contains ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) root extract and Rhodiola rosea root extract as the adaptogens, while Bacopa monnieri whole plant extract is used as the nootropics.
It claims to “improve mental focus, clarity, and energy” and “reduces cognitive fatigue, symptoms of stress and mild anxiety”.
Nootropics is derived from the Greek word ‘noos’ which refers to the mind and ‘tropein’ which means ‘to monitor’. In general, it means any given substance that influences the cognitive ability in a positive way.
Adaptogens on the other hand, are natural substances derived from plants which are believed to stabilise physiological processes and encourage homeostasis in the body.
Both nootropics and adaptogens are increasingly used in supplements for alertness and stress. However, the company claims that they are the first to incorporate both into a single product.
The vegan formula also contains the medicinal mushroom Cordyceps sinensis whole plant extract, Ginkgo biloba leaf extract, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and amino acids tyrosine.
Founded by media and advertising professional David Jones-Hawke and Gareth Lloyd who has a background in software sales, the duo, who has been friends since their teens wanted to develop their own nutrition supplement to address burnout and stress.
It was not until COVID-19 that they felt compelled to put the plan into action.
“You could say AusVitality was born from both of us being burnout. We were under a lot of pressure at work to deliver continually and found ourselves working 50-60 hours a week,” Jones-Hawke told NutraIngredients-Asia.
“We started to scratch our heads and look for alternatives coffee to try and help people perform at their peak, since caffeine could increase stress levels, heart rates, and affect sleeping patterns.
“So, we were thinking about doing this even pre-COVID-19, but COVID-19 gave us clarity in terms of what we wanted to achieve in this business, and it gave us the push to actually go out there and do it.”
The product was developed together with the company’s contract manufacturer and naturopaths which the duo have consulted.
“We worked with a couple of naturopaths and we landed on what we call a nootropic stack – a bunch of ingredients that are combined or compounded together.
“And we have ingredients like ashwagandha root extract, which is a well-known adaptogen that reduces cortisol levels and help people navigate stress. We also have ‘cognitive improvers’ such as Rhodiola and Bacopa monnieri, which are great ingredients from the natural world.
“I think the product that we have combines the best of nootropics and adaptogens and that’s why we refer to it as adaptropic.
“We haven't seen a great deal of products like this on the market, certainly not products like this that are manufactured in Australia,” said Jones-Hawke.
Launched in early January, Mindlift is currently sold on the company’s website but there are plans to make it available in health food stores and specialty stores across Australia.
Each bottle, which contains 60 tablets, is sold at AUD$59.99 (US$43).
For each bottle sold, the company donates AUD$1 (US$0.72) to the Black Dog Institute – a medical institute focusing on mental health research in Australia.
The company will continue to focus on ‘adaptropic’ ingredients for future SKUs, especially ingredients with emerging scientific evidence.
“For example, when we were formulating Mindlift, we were looking not only for traditionally used ingredients, but we wanted to look at some kind of more obscure ingredients that have really good science uncovered about them,” said Jones-Hawke.
On the other hand, he noticed that medicinal mushrooms such as cordyceps is becoming more popular in Australia.
“I think there are now a lot more products using medicinal mushrooms coming onto the market, certainly here in Australia, and it is an area where we think that there's going to be a real boom.
“Cordyceps, in particular, we found it really interesting, because it can help increase energy and oxygen supply to the muscles. So, there are a couple of good studies relating to athletic performance and we thought it could be a nice addition to our product blend.”
While the product is made in Australia, the ingredients are sourced from all over the world. For instance, the Rhodiola rosea extract is sourced from Siberia and ashwagandha from India.
To accommodate the dosage required, the company decided to design the product into the form of a tablet.
“I think designing it in a form of tablet is simply for ease. Having a tablet also allowed us to get a lot of raw materials compressed. If we have the same amount of material in a capsule, it would be probably three times the size.”
This could also circumvent problems associated with high temperature.
“I think Australia is a very hot country and its very humid. More often than not, when you do have gel caps, they can often stick together or they can break.”
In Australia, there is a trend of nootropics marketed as a product for young men and adaptogens for women, Jones-Hawke noticed.
However, he stressed that his product is suitable for both genders.
“You'll probably attest to this – that nootropics are often marketed to young men between the ages of 28 to 35. They are in roles that require them to focus and take nootropics.
“Adaptogens, on the other hand, seemingly lend themselves to a more female-orientated market.
“I think our product by combining both, we didn't want to appeal just to men or just to women. We want to appeal to every Australian out there that wants to feel a little bit better and to perform a little bit better,” said Jones-Hawke.
Eco-friendly, social initiatives
The company uses recycled packaging materials to reduce carbon footprint.
For example, the tablets are packed in 100 per cent recycled medical-grade amber glass bottles to protect against UV light.
Uncoated 100 per cent recycled cardboard is also used to pack the products for shipping.
“We're really big on using recycled cardboard boxes to ship our products. Our product is housed in UV glass, our intention is not to use plastic.
“We are conscious of our impact on the environment and try to reduce our carbon footprint as best as we can. We use green energy providers, we don't have company vehicles, our storage facility is carbon offset, that's another part of our business that we're very mindful of,” said Jones-Hawke.