For Europeans, ageing is more than a mere fact; it's a trend. By 2060, there may be two elderly individuals for every younger person, according to Eurostat. The 'oldest-of- the-old' are expected to outnumber children under five by the next decade in the 28 countries that currently make up the EU.
Growing old is something most Europeans must face. Hair gets greyer, wrinkles crease faces and the body slows down - including brain function. Attention, focus and memory diminish as time goes on.
Many people are actively trying to counter ageing symptoms by consuming food and beverages that support cognitive health.
According to Nutraceuticals World, as the health needs of the 'baby boomers' are evolving as they advance towards senior status; maintaining mental acuity, blood sugar control, muscle health, cardiovascular health and other issues will be at the forefront of their minds.
Citicoline, an organic molecule found in every living body cell, is fuelling brain-health innovation. When consumed, it breaks down during intestinal absorption and, after passing through the blood/brain barrier, is reconstituted as citicoline.
Like a fine-tuned engine, the brain requires the right fuel for top performance. While it makes up only about 2% of a person's overall weight, it consumes about 20% of the body's energy at rest.
When performing difficult mental activities, our brains need even more energy. Clinical research has found that citicoline supports the health of mitochondria, which are the powerhouses within cells that produce the relevant energy.
Citicoline, as an essential nutrient, has been shown to have an impact on brain function, including attention.
"Attention is our brain's ability to to stay focused and concentrate our consciousness on a selective piece of information.," says Oksana Ritchie, Kyowa Hakko's European marketing manager. "Recent studies show that daily supplementation with Cognizin (a branded form of citicoline) improves attention and focus. Participants who took either 250 or 500mg of Cognizin demonstrated significantly better attention capacity than participants who received a placebo."
Citicoline plays an important role in several key brain functions. It's a cellular building block that's synthesised into phospholipids, which make up about 30% of brain tissues and must be continuously generated in order to ensure proper brain cell function.
It is also a critical component of neurotransmitters, including acetylcholine, dopamine and noradrenaline. These 'brain chemicals' communicate information throughout the body by relaying signals between nerve cells. Without them, the brain couldn't tell the heart to beat, the lungs to breathe or the stomach to digest.
Kyowa Hakko produces Cognizin Citicoline, a branded form of pure, stable citicoline. Unlike some supplements, it is stable in liquids and can withstand high heats.
It is water-soluble, with a neutral/slightly acidic taste that makes it a good complement to various product flavours. Cognizin is produced using a patented fermentation process. It contains no food additives, artificial flavours or preservatives, making it perfect for today's clean label trends.
In 2014, Cognizin achieved Novel Food Status from the EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies. The scientific opinion means it can be used in food supplements aimed at adult populations with a maximum level of 500mg a day. It is intended for particular nutritional uses in food for special medical needs at a maximum level of 250mg a serving.