We did a lot of research when we were developing Think Drink, choosing each of the ingredients with care to make sure the drinks really did effectively sharpen your mind.

For those of you that like the science side as much as we do, here is more detailed summary of each botanical extract, together with a selection of the articles and sources that we found interesting and influenced the development of the drinks.

Select a botanical extract or vitamin to learn more:
  • Guarana
  • Ginseng
  • Yerba Maté
  • B1
  • B3
  • B5
  • B6
  • B12
  • C
Whilst Guarana (Paullinia cupana) has been used as a stimulant in South America for centuries, it is only relatively recently that scientists have confirmed guarana’s positive effects. Studies have proved that multivitamin-mineral preparations containing this herbal extract improve cognitive performance, reduce mental fatigue and can improve reaction times too. Most interestingly, studies comparing guarana, caffeine and a placebo have indicated that these positive effects cannot be attributed to guarana’s high caffeine content alone.
References
Haskell CF, Kennedy D, Wesnes KA, Milnes AL, Scholey AB (2007) A double-blind, placebo controlled, multi dose evaluation of the acute behavioural effects of guarana in humans. J Psychopharmacol 21(1): 65-70

Kennedy DO, Haskell CF, Pace S, Zangara A, Scholey A (2004a) Psychoactive effects of a single dose of Paullinia cupana (Guarana) during intense mental demand. Poster presented at the Worldnutra Conference 2004, San Francisco, November 8-10

Kennedy DO, Wesnes KA and Scholey AB (2004b) Improved cognitive performance in human volunteers following administration of guarana (Paullinia cupana) extract: comparison and interaction with panax ginseng. Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav. 79(3):401-411

Kennedy DO, Haskell CF, Robertson B, Reay J, Brewster-Maud C, Luedemann J, Maggini S, Ruf M, Zangara A, Scholey AB (2008) Improved cognitive performance and mental fatigue following a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement with added Guarana (Paullinia cupana). Appetite 50(2-3): 506-513

Scholey A, Haskell C (2008) Neurocognitive effects of guarana plant extract. Drugs Fut 33(10): 869

Espinola EB, Dias RF, Mattei R, Carlini EA (1997) Pharmacological activity of Guarana in laboratory animals. J. Ethnopharmacol 55(3): 223-229

Carlini EA (2003) Plants and the central nervous system. Pharmacol. Biochem. Behaviour 75:501-512

Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus Senticosus), or the ‘devil’s bush’ (dyavol’skii kust) as it is commonly known in Russia, is a thorny bush that grows in the Amur region in the Russian Far East. Although it has a distinct chemical structure and is not a true ginseng, E senticosus is commonly known as “Siberian ginseng” and research has shown it has similar health benefits to the Panax ginsengs. First discovered by Soviet scientists, test results demonstrated improvements in work output, decreases in absence due to sickness, resistance to fatigue and improved muscular strength and endurance. It was subsequently regularly used in their athlete-training protocols. More recent scientific research has shown that the constituents in Siberian ginseng undoubtedly produce pharmacological effects when tested in medically accepted tests and assays. Indeed, the compounds found in Siberian ginseng have been proven to have an antioxidant activity, anti-cancer effects, and produce immuno-stimulatory and anti-inflammatory effects.
References
Panossian A, Wagner H (2005) Stimulating effect of adaptogens: an overview with particular reference to their efficacy following single dose administration. Phytother Res Oct 19(10):819-38

Wagner H et al. (1992) “Plant drugs with adaptogenic activity. Z Phytother. 1992:13:42-54

Harkey MR, Henderson GL, Gershwin ME, Stern JS, Hackman RM (2001) Variability in commercial ginseng products: an analysis of 25 preparations. Amer J. Clin Nutr 73(6):1101-6

Luke R Bucci (2000) Selected herbals and human exercise performance”, 1-3, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 72:624S-36S

Blumenthal M (1998), The Complete German Commission E Monographs, American Botanical Council, Austin, Texas, USA

Radix Eleutherococci WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants, 2 (2002), Geneva, pp. 83-96.

Monograph – ESCOP Monographs, second edition 2003, Eleutherococcus radix pp.142-149.

Herbal Remedies/ heilpflanzen, Version 5, 2003, medpharm GmbH Scientific Publishers, Stuttgart, Germany

Maté (Ilex paraguariensis) is a stimulating plant that is historically and culturally very important in South America. Here it is commonly drunk as an infusion known as “chimarrão” or “tererê”, and it is now beginning to grow in popularity in both Europe and across the US. As scientific research on the effects of maté accumulates, the herb’s stimulating benefits are increasingly being recognised as is its ability to improve cognitive functions and enhance short-term memory. A range of other benefits have also been suggested by such research including antioxidant activity, protection against DNA oxidation, benefits to the cardiovascular system, and even reducing the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
References
Heck CI, de Mejia EG (2007) Yerba Mate Tea (Ilex paraguariensis): a comprehensive review on chemistry, health implications, and technological considerations. J. Food Sci 72(9):R138-R151

Mazzafera P (1997) Mate drinking: caffeine and phenolic acid intake. Food Chemistry 60:67-71.

Prediger R, Fernandes M, Rial D, Wopereis R, Pereira V, Bosse T, Da Silva C, Carradoreb R, Machadoc M, Cechinel-Filho V, Costa-Campos L (2008) Effects of acute administration of the hydroalcoholic extract of mate tea leaves (Ilex paraguariensis) in animal models of learning and memory. J. Ethnopharm120:465-473

Lieberman HR (2001) The effect of Ginseng, ephedrine and caffeine on cognitive performance, mood and energy. Nutr Rev. Apr 59(4):91-102

Fredholm BB, Battig K, Holmen J, Nehlig A, Zvartau EE (1999) Actions of caffeine in the brain with special reference to factors that contribute to its widespread use. Pharmacol Rev. Mar; 51(1):83-133

Amendola CA, Gabrieli JDE , Lieberman HR (1998) Caffeine’s effects on performance and mood are independent of age and gender. Nutritional neuroscience 1:269-280

Milioli EM, Cologni P, Santos CC, Marcos TD, Yunes VM, Fernandes MS, Schoenfelder T, Costa-Campos L (2007) Effect of acute administration of hydroalcohol extract of Ilex paraguariensis St Hilaire (Aquifoliaceae) in animal models of Parkinson’s disease. Phytotherapy research Aug 21(8):771-6

Ascherio A, Zhang SM, Hernan MA, Kawachi I, Colditz GA, Speizer FE, Willett WC (2001) Prospective study of caffeine consumption and risk of Parkinson’s disease in men and women. Annals of Neurology Vol. 50 1:56-63

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) has a central role in energy production, helping convert carbohydrates into energy. It also has an important neurological function, in the transmission of nerve impulses in the brain and in the metabolism of several neurotransmitters (including serotonin and acetylcholine). Even a relatively low level of thiamine supplementation has been proven to produce a large increase in mental achievement when measured using the criteria of mental alertness, emotional stability, lack of depression and zest for life. Supplementation is also useful during exercise and sports as strenuous physical activity increases the body’s demand for thiamine.
References
Zimmermann M., Burgerstein’s Handbook of Nutrition: Micronutrients in the Prevention and Therapy of Disease. New York, 2000

Bettendorf L (1994) Thiamine in excitable tissues: reflections of a no-cofactor role, Metab Brain Dis 9 (1994), p. 183.

Mervyn L, The B Vitamins: Their Major Role in Maintaining Your Health Suffolk, 1981

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) is required in the function of over two hundred enzymes throughout the body. It is vital for the breakdown of food molecules for energy and helps to regulate blood sugar levels in the body. It has an essential role in the replication and repair of DNA, and supports the health of the skin, the nervous system, and the digestive system. Vitamin B3 is also proven to have an antioxidant function, especially in the liver.
References
Haller J (2005) Vitamins and Brain Function. In Lieberman HR, Kanarek RB, Prasad C (eds.) Nutritional Neuroscience CRC Press. Boca Raton, p. 207-233

Institute of Medicine (1998) Niacin in Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin and Choline. National Academy Press, Washingon D.C., chapter 6, p. 123-149

Cervantes-Laurean D, McElvaney NG, Moss J (1999) Niacin. In Shils ME, Olson JA, Shike M, Ross AC (eds.) Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 9th edition. Baltimore; Williams & Wilkins, p.401-411

Kirkland JB, Rawling JM (2001) Niacin. In Rucker RB, Suttie JW, McCormick DB, Machlin LJ (eds) Handbook of vitamins; 3rd ed, revised and expanded. Marcel Dekker Inc. New York, chapter 6, p.213-254

Zimmermann M (2000) Burgerstein’s Handbook of Nutrition: Micronutrients in the Prevention and Therapy of Disease (New York, 2000)

In its biologically active form as coenzyme A (CoA), Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) functions as an intercellular carrier for small carbon-containing groups and participates in over one hundred pathways of intermediate metabolism. It is involved in the breakdown of fatty acids and sugars into energy as well as in protein and amino acid synthesis. As a result it is proven to be helpful in treating tiredness and fatigue.
References
Institute of Medicine (1998) Pantothenic Acid in Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin and Choline. National Academy Press, Washington DC chapter 10, p. 357-373

Plesofsky-Vig N (1999) Pantothenic Acid. In Shils ME, Olson JA, Shike M, Ross AC (eds) Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 9th edition. Baltimore, Williams & Wilkins, p. 423-432

Plesofsky NS (2001) Pantothenic Acid. In Rucker RB, Suttie JW, McCormick DB, Machlin LJ (eds) Handbook of vitamins, 3rd edition. Marcel Dekker Inc. New York, chapter 6, p. 317-337

Miller JW, Rogers LM, Rucker RB (2001) Pantothenic Acid. In Bowman BA, Russel RM (eds) Present knowledge in Nutrition, 8th edition. Washington D.C., ILSI Press, chapter 24, p. 253-260

Zimmermann M (2000) Burgerstein’s Handbook of Nutrition: Micronutrients in the Prevention and Therapy of Disease. New York, 2000

Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine) is involved in more than sixty enzyme reactions in the body and is an essential nutrient for sustaining life. Vitamin B6 is activated into the coenzyme pyridoxal-5-phosphate (PLP), which is involved in more than one hundred metabolic reactions. PLP has a central role in the metabolism and conversion of amino acids and in the synthesis of new proteins. It plays a role in maintaining normal blood sugar levels, and is important in hemoglobin synthesis vital to the red blood cells’ function. PLP is also essential in the formation of several neurotransmitters (including serotonin and dopamine). Because body stores of the vitamin are low (around 150mg) a steady supply of B6 is essential. B6 has been proven to help mood liability and depression.
References
Institute of Medicine (1998) Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin and Choline. National Academy Press, Washington DC

Marcus R, Coulston AM (1996b) Water soluble vitamins. In Hardman JG, Limbird LE, Molinoff PB, Ruddon RW, Goodman, Gilman A (eds) Goodman and Gilman’s: The pharmacological basis of theurapeutics, 9th edition. McGraw-Hill Inc. p. 1,555-1,572

Lukaski HC (2004) Vitamin and mineral status: effects on physical performance. Nutrition 20, 632-644

Manore MM (2000) Effects of physical activity on thiamine, riboflavin and vitamin B6 requirements. Am J Clin Nutr 72 (suppl). 598S-606S

Bitsch R (1993) Vitamin B6. International Journal for Vitamin and Nutritional Research, 63

Zimmermann M, Burgerstein’s Handbook of Nutrition: Micronutrients in the Prevention and Therapy of Disease. New York, 2000

Vitamin B12 has an important role in amino acid metabolism and in combination with folate is essential in the synthesis of nucleic acids and DNA. There is little doubt that the vitamin can help in the relief of muscle fatigue and in providing extra energy. Vitamin B12 is proven to be good for vigor and energy, and is often used to treat simple tiredness. Scientific studies have further shown that the effects of B12 are real and unrelated to any psychological effect.
References
Institute of Medicine (1998) Vitamin B12 in Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin and Choline. National Academy Press, Washington DC chapter 9, pp 306-356

Marcus R, Coulston AM (1996b) Water soluble vitamins. In Hardman JG, Limbird LE, Molinoff PB, Ruddon RW, Goodman, Gilman A (eds) Goodman and Gilman’s: The pharmacological basis of theurapeutics, 9th edition. McGraw-Hill Inc. p. 1,555-1,572

Lukaski HC (2004) Vitamin and mineral status: effects on physical performance. Nutrition 20, 632-644

Weir DG, Scott JM (1999) Vitamin B12 “cobalamin”. In Shils ME, Olson JA, Shike M, Ross AC (eds) Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 9th edition. Baltimore; Williams & Wilkins, p. 447-458

Beck WS (2001) Colabamin (Vitamin B12) in Rucker RB, Suttie JW, McCormick DB, Machlin LJ (eds) Handbook of vitamins, 3rd edition. Marcel Dekker Inc. New York, chapter 13, p. 463-512

Zimmermann M (2000) Burgerstein’s Handbook of Nutrition: Micronutrients in the Prevention and Therapy of Disease. New York, 2000

Much is made of Vitamin C’s (Ascorbic acid) antioxidant properties, and indeed, it is the body’s primary water-soluble antioxidant, present in the blood, body fluids, and inside all cells helping to protect against oxidation by free radicals. Epidemiologic studies have shown that vitamin C supplementation had a significant cancer reducing role, and may reduce the risk of stomach, lung, cervical, pancreatic and breast cancers in particular. Beyond this though, Vitamin C is essential in the synthesis of neurotransmitters in the brain and in the breakdown of fats for energy production. A deficiency of vitamin C has been proven to increase the body’s vulnerability to infection and reduces energy production, producing fatigue and weakness.
References
Martin A, Cherubini A, Andres-Lacueva C, Paniagua M, Joseph J (2002) Effects of fruits and vegetables on levels of vitamins E and C in the brain and their association with cognitive performance. J Nutr Health Aging 2002 6(6): 392-404

Haller J (2005) Vitamins and Brain Function. In Lieberman HR, Kanarek RB, Prasad C (eds.) Nutritional Neuroscience CRC Press. Boca Raton, 207-233

Institute of Medicine (2000) Vitamin C In Dietary reference intakes for vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and carotenoids. National Academic Press. Washington D.C. chapter 5, p. 95-185

Gershoff S (1993) Vitamin C, new roles, new requirements? Nutritional Review 51

Jacobs RA (1999) Vitamin C In Shils ME, Olson JA, Shike M, Ross AC (eds.) Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 9th edition. Baltimore; Williams & Wilkins, p. 467-483



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