Neurofactor (Coffee Fruit Extract)
Neurofactor is a patented extract derived from the whole fruit of the coffee plant, (Coffee Arabica), also called the coffee cherry or coffee berry (1).
According to ancient folklore, the coffee fruit was discovered when a goatherd named Kaldi saw his goats eating berries from a tree. After eating the berries, Kaldi noticed they became energized and refused to sleep at night. Intrigued, he brought some berries back to his local monastery where he and the monks ate the fruits themselves and found that they stayed awake and energized during evening prayer.
The outer flesh of the coffee fruit is typically discarded in favor of the caffeine and antioxidant-rich inner seed, which is fermented and roasted to become what we think of as coffee beans. However recent research has shown the fleshy outer fruit is potent with antioxidants, polyphenols and procyanidins, whch may have significant neuroprotective benefits in the brain (2).
Neurofactor is extracted from the entire coffee fruit – the outer flesh and the inner bean and contains the whole spectrum of these active substances conferring a possible range of neuroprotective benefits and neurostimulatory effects because of it’s impact on brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF. BDNF is a large protein found in various tissues in the body that plays a role in several different pathways and mechanisms related to brain health and cellular signaling. BDNF binds to receptors in the brain involved in nerve growth, it plays a direct role in neurogenesis, and is involved in neurotransmitter signalling (glutamatergic and GABAergic, among others) with a central role in learning, memory, mood, and well-being (11, 12, 13, 14). BDNF is also important to learning, memory and behavior (4). Inadequate BDNF levels have been linked to several cognitive disorders including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease (5, 6, 7, 8).
When compared with green coffee caffeine, green coffee bean powder, and grape seed extract, whole coffee fruit concentrate outperformed all three compounds in its ability to simulate BDNF serum levels (9). In a clinical study Neurofactor supplementation has shown to increase BDNF as much as 143% (3).
Given coffee fruit’s involvement in a wide variety of brain pathways and mechanisms, it is conceivable the extract would have synergistic effects with other ingredients that effect similar pathways. While the research on whole coffee fruit is still in early stages with little evidence proving synergy with other ingredients, it is possible that compounds such as GABA, citicoline, and Bacopa (for instance) will have a synergistic effect. Much like resveratrol, whole coffee fruit extract seems like a promising addition to any nootropic stack in supporting long-term cognition and healthy aging.