Behind the Formulation of Nootropics: HVMN Performance Supplements

Behind the Formulation of Nootropics: HVMN Performance Supplements

Authored by Zhill Olonan • 
October 24, 2018
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Here at HVMN, we take a systems engineering approach to human performance. This ethos, rooted in following the latest science and research, has played a role in how we develop our products.

Introducing HVMN Performance Supplements.

A culmination of over a year and a half of research and development across the company, HVMN Performance Supplements marks an evolution of our existing nootropics line complete with improved formulations and new ingredients. In this special episode, Geoffrey Woo (CEO) and Dr. Brianna Stubbs (Research Lead) dive deep into the research, thought-process, and nuances behind formulating nootropics from the ground up.

In this discussion, you'll discover:

  • What separates HVMN Performance Supplements from other nootropic products and why we strongly believe in carefully crafted, simple stacks vs. a hodgepodge of ingredients
  • The literature we explored when choosing new ingredients and why we specifically searched for research that studied young adults
  • The specific updates to the formulations of Rise, Kado, Sprint, & Yawn

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Transcription

Geoff: Great to have you back on the program officially, Brianna!

Brianna: Thanks very much. It’s exciting to be here with all the fancy red lights and the little bottles of HVMN Ketone. So, it’s good. I’m excited.

Geoff: Yeah, I think our audience in our community misses your voice here. Because I know that some of our conversations are some of the actual popular episodes.

Brianna: Now you’re sure it’s not just because I have a British accent. I was in the airport yesterday and they tried to keep me in the check in desk because they just wanted to hear me talk British to them.

Geoff: Hey, take advantage on that. I mean, this is definitely in the American context, definitely some plus points.

Brianna: Yeah, 50 extra IQ points just for being British.

Geoff: So, perhaps there's a lot of things we can talk about but one of the big things that we have been working on and we're proud to talk about today is the relaunch of our nootropics, a performance supplement. We originally designed the Rise, Kado 3, Sprint, Yawn under the brand name of Nootrobox and obviously over the last two years we've evolved that to HVMN and really increased our scope of business and our mission to increase all human performance not just cognitive performance. Let's talk about all the stuff that we've learned in terms of hard-won experience in clinical application studies and feedback to all the latest science coming out of the peer-reviewed literature. A lot of things that we've taken and absorb are now going to be reflecting into the new human performance atrium and supplements line. 

Brianna: I'm really proud to have been part of this update process. I think it says a lot for the company that we're always looking at the new evidence and trying to make the best products that we can based on all of the available evidence and feedback. I'm excited to come in and see where they were and been part of just like fine-tuning and improving and excited to see what people think. 

Geoff: Yeah. I would say that one of the biggest advantages that we as folks working in the spaces that I would say over the last year and a half; two years we've really been lucky to work with top performers and let it grow old in the military world. That's given as an inside look into how they think about nutrition supplements and what they think are promising avenues of research and targets of what they're focused on. 

Brianna: Yeah, I think it means a lot when you can speak to top-level operators as you say in athletics and in the military and they're using something and seeing benefits for them. Sometimes when you read a paper, I always like to look at science as it's kind of like bricks in a wall, a little like we have behind us here. And so it depends on what you know. Sometimes it can seem a little confusing when there's positive studies or studies with big effects and small effects, and it can get them confusing to like really tease out what's going on. But I think seeing validation from the highest levels and trusted sources gives you a lot of confidence to make changes and move forward.

Geoff: Yeah, I think that's one thing that I've personally absorbed which is that there is one level of evidence in the randomized control trial literature, right? And I think even in the messy creational science, there's sometimes conflicting data or conflicting bodies of evidence, and it's hard to tease out. But I think the things that have the most effect will tease out over time and comes out having just a statistic significance over a number of studies. 

Brianna: Sure, it's definitely important. And you know, one of our like principles as a company has always been to have that peer reviewed evidence. You can't just go on anecdote, there has to be like a good body of science there. But then when you've got several things and the science is all kind of you could pick or choose, it's hard to pick or choose; then going to see what's actually happening in the field is really really valuable. 

Geoff: Yeah. Like in field, what's being used; what are people seeing at the highest levels of performance; what's working for them. And like I think, and that's our job as people that create products to collate the randomized controlled trial data, what's happening in application in field use and then collating all the signals in really cutting out the noise and making something that I think we can all be proud of.

Brianna: And I think there's been a lot of attention to detail that's always gone into the products and that's gone into this refresh rate; really looking I think with plant extracts. It's something that I've never had to deal with HVMN Ketone. It's like with plant extracts you can have different potencies and different sources. And so really you know working, and as a whole team and with the people who make the products, to ensure that we get the best quality ingredients and those that match the potencies have been used in the clinical trials. So, I think it's being thoughtful, and selecting just a few key ingredients for each nootropic that we really think works; and then making sure that for each of those that we using exactly the correct dose or within the correct dosing range; and the extracts themselves are over really good quality. Because I think looking at the space broadly there can be products that have 42 or you know. We were looking in the example this morning, there was a product that has 42 ingredients. It's like wow, that's a lot! Is that how we're going to interact? Is that all going to be at the right dosage? Are they going to be good quality ingredients? If you can afford it. You know, there's a lot of considerations into designing something kind of thoughtfully to the highest level of integrity; to be as close as possible to what we know works from the literature.

Geoff: Yeah. No, I think it's a good point in terms of like the multi-factor all combinations of all these different components, right? Like you literally have an exponential increase of interactions between each specific ingredient or component. I think we've always been focused on, okay what is the minimum amount of intervention that's effective kind of, right? Like that's just a simpler cleaner physiological thing to understand and study, and show data behind. I think you do bring up a good point around Botanicals. If we're talking about you know root extracts or leaf extract; plants have variation, right? If you have a plant that's growing in the summer versus in the fall; in a different weather pattern; are the concentrations of active ingredient different? The answer is yes. 

Brianna: But not even that there's even different like sort of almost like subspecies of plants. So for example ginseng; there's American ginseng and Asian ginseng. And so there's like you can't just look at ginseng; you have to look at the specific type that you're going to use for example. And I use that as an example because that's one of the things that we'll discuss later that we've added into one of our products. But there's a lot to try and be aware of as a consumer. 

Geoff: And I think just to highlight before talking specifics, I would just recommend for anyone looking at just broad Botanicals, make sure there's a standardized extract. Meaning that there's a percentage of the active components of said Botanical or adaptogen that has been studying peer-reviewed trial. Where that means it'll be a little bit more expensive. It means that the component is tested to some standard extract potency; and not just they picked some leaves off of a farm and rounded up and put it into a pill, there's actually a baseline potency that they're guaranteeing. We're guaranteeing in our products that we bash test before the product goes into production, and before it leaves the production line into our bottles, and into your doorsteps. 

Brianna: Yep.

Geoff: Cool. Anything else in terms of just high-level things that have informed as were thinking about this upgrade in this refresh?

Brianna: Well, I think you kind of hit on it earlier. Sort of the shift in the company mission; from being more inclusively focused on the brain; to being focused on new physical performance as part of like the human system; physical and cognitive performance. So that was definitely something that we had in mind as we looked at the amounts of compound, and the different types of compound that we were putting in. We wanted to see ourselves, as you know, helping people be their best selves; and we know that you appreciate more and more that the physical activity is like as a huge part of that; and it is now supplying elite athletes with human Ketone. Our aspiration is that the human performance supplements can be part of their routine as well.

Geoff: Yeah, a hundred percent. Cool. So let's dive into each of the new products that we were refreshing.

Discussing Rise - Our Daily Nootropic for Memory

Geoff: Let's start with Rise. So Rise is our original product, our daily nootropic. It's something that you take every single day and it's really exciting to see it's still be one of our most popular products; some of our loyal customers of Rise have been with us for three; four years now, which is amazing! Thanks so much for the long-term trust and support. So perhaps we should talk about what the upgrade is; look exactly what the changelog is. Let's talk about what we kept the same and what we've upgraded. 

Brianna: So previously Rise was bacopa monnieri, rhodiola rosea and alpha GPC. So, we've kept the backbone of Rise as bacopa monnieri. We’re like, really really bullish around that as a nootropic and the changes come.

Geoff: Let’s talk about bacopa a little bit, before talking about each of the changes. I mean, I think we've had individual episodes talking specifically about the data here. But one to reference a conversation I had with Professor Con Stough in Australia, who is one of the leading public researchers on bacopa; really strong data in terms of improving long-term memory formation over sustained supplementation. And a lot of the data that I am increasingly excited about is the data behind how bacopa increases BDNF - Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor production. Which, especially with our work with ketone esters; and how that impacts the brain, is a very key mechanism on. Not just the performance side, but also potentially some of the recovery traumatic brain injury side of things.

Brianna: Yeah. So I think that was definitely always going to be a keeper, the clinical evidence there. I think it's quite unusual that you get a plant extract to being studied for basic science, like the experiment you just described. So I think we should expect to see more findings around bacopa coming out if more people are using it like this.

Geoff: Yeah, and I think one of the things that we've always been really a stickler about is having a really high potency in terms of the extract potency. So it's a 50% bacosides extract which is very very high. Most bacopa products you see out there are either uncentered eyes with a 15-20 percent bacoside. So people that are really looking to get potent dose of bacopa. Make sure you look at the bacoside extract rating and make sure you're getting a high potency bacopa. 

Brianna: Yeah. So the first major change is that we decided that we would swap out rhodiola for ashwagandha. So they're both adaptogens, which means that they have an effect on fatigue and anxiety. So in that sort of aspect there, they're kind of similar but there's some good evidence around ashwagandha for not only the sort of subjective feelings of anxiety, but also around objective measures such as serum cortisol; and the immune response to stress as well. So really looking in detail at those two compounds, it was sort of like there seems to be more data around objective biomarker measures that we could find for rhodiola.

Another thing that we were interested in was some effects on physical performance as well. So long term supplementation with ashwagandha has been shown to improve muscle strength, but also sprinting and VO2 max capabilities as well. So we were really really excited by this data and thought that this would be a great way to get the adaptogen effect that we would kind of previously looking to build in with rhodiola; as well as some physical performance metric changes as well. To go back to what we were saying the very start of the conversation, ashwagandha was something that came up time and time again when we were talking to some of our athlete and Military partners; and at some of these meetings. So when we started to dig into the science there, it was a strong ingredient and we definitely wanted to build that into Rise. 

Geoff: Yeah. I think that's like the right way to look at it. I think the totality of evidence behind both rhodiola and ashwagandha, they’re solid adaptogens. But I would say that the entire totality of evidence suggests that ashwagandha will just be a better upgrade; where we get a lot of the anti-fatigue adaptogenic effects of rhodiola; but with some of the added benefit of the VO2 max and the muscle performance with ashwagandha. Which is exciting and I think that as more and more of these things have objective biological biomarkers, like what you're mentioning with cortisol; and the immune response. You as a physiologist, and me getting to know more and more practical experience in the space here; those are just good core mechanisms of how these things work in the more. And the more we know the core physiological response; we just understand as product makers how these things work, which gives a lot more confidence that the efficacy will be good. 

Brianna: Yeah. Because I mean ultimately, you know, we always talk about the body as a system and you've got your pill arise; and you're going to take it in; and you want to eliminate as much of the Black Box in between you popping your Rise pill; and then you feeling less fatigued; or you performing better cognitively. If we can understand the mechanisms, measuring in effect is P1 and that's really really important and it's great. But if we can understand how that effect is happening, then that's even more powerful. So actually being able to measure some objective biomarkers is like another solid layer of conviction around that ingredient.

Geoff: Hundred percent. So, also just to reemphasize the extract potency the ashwagandha that will be in the new Rise is a 10% ashwagandha extract, and the active ingredient there is with pantelides and it's made by Sensoril, which is a branding that's really well respected in the space of ashwagandha. So very high quality ashwagandha source. But folks that are still excited about rhodiola, make sure that you look at the salidroside and rosavin content of a potential rhodiola supplement. The old Rise had a 5% salidroside and 2% rosavin] content and again, I would focus on things that have higher and specific extracts for the active ingredients behind these botanicals. 

Brianna: People can always go and look up all of the data; all of the studies, because they'll be shared on the HVMN website and our library. So if people are interested in around the studies that have been done using rhodiola or they want to go and look and see what potencies and what extracts were used in those studies; that even though rhodiola is no longer in Rise all of that information will still be there. So people can go and use it as a resource.

Geoff: Hundred percent. And the last component upgrade for Rise. We went from the last component has always been a choline source; and choline is important precursor to acetylcholine; and also, neurotransmitter for memory and learning. 

Brianna: Yeah. And also, it's a key component of lipid; the phospholipid bilayer in the neurons in the brain. 

Geoff: So basically choline sources have always been important for brain health and brain function; and it's always been important as a nootropic to have a choline source. The major change we made here was we replaced the choline source from alpha GPC to citicoline. So let's talk about some of the thinking there and what the universe of choline supplements are. So perhaps just a start from like what the most popular supplements are there, the cheapest choline supplement which is choline bitartrate; which is quite cheap. And the reason it’s cheap is that it's a pretty low density form of delivering choline, in terms of like the percentage weight. So you need to eat a lot of choline bitartrate to get a similar amount of actual choline delivered into your system. So Alpha GPC and citicoline are a lot more expensive in terms of just the component cost because the choline percentage per weight of CDP choline and Alpha GPC is much higher. Now, do you want to unpack the thinking and the data behind Alpha GPC versus Acetylcholine? 

Brianna: Yeah, and I just want to point out to the listeners that you called it CDP choline and then also citicoline; and so that those names both refer to the same thing, the same sort of structural molecule. But when it's produced by the body, we call it CDP choline and when we get it from a bottle, it’s citicoline. So they're kind of a reference as to where it's come from, but they're the same structure. Again, we kind of just took a step back and we did like a broad search of the literature and thought really about what we wanted. We were really keen to find one of these two compounds that had been tested in young adults. Because a lot of choline sources have been trials as sort of preventative measures for dementia. So a lot of the studies, and the biggest studies have all been done in aging populations. So we went and really like we're looking for things that have been done in young healthy adults, and we came across a few very very promising and good quality studies using citicoline; again a branded extract that's called cognizant, which I believe is the one we're using in Rise. These results really excited us; and we felt that because the mechanism was conserved we would want to go with something that had you know, good clinical peer reviewed evidence around the people who are likely to be using it. So younger people.

Geoff: Right. And I would say that the regional thinking behind Alpha GPC was that Alpha GPC has a higher per weight delivery of choline versus citicoline. But I think what you're referring to is that, there is just more published research on young adult use of citicoline showing benefit than Alpha GPC. 

Brianna: Yeah. It may be something to do with the structure of the molecule. I mean, so it's possible as you were saying earlier, there may be some benefits to having uridine.

Geoff: Yeah. Uridine is part of CDP choline. So uridine also has some early data suggesting that's beneficial for cognitive performance. So I think in totality you have both very good choline sources for the brain. But the added benefit of having some uridine and actually having some data published on young healthy adults versus just an aging population, was going to be more, I think representative of the use cases of what we wanted Rise to be; which is cognitive improved enhancer for.

Brianna: We make products that we want to use ourselves. 

Geoff: Yeah. For people like us as well.

Brianna: And you know, I think something that's really focused our minds in the last year is bringing in the human evidence grading system for all of the claims that were making. So if you go on our website, you'll see that we've ranked every claim that we make about the products 1 through 5, to indicate the strength of the evidence whether that's just sort of theoretical evidence all the way through to like a trial of the product as you're buying it. And we are really challenging ourselves to make the products have the highest evidence grading possible. And so I think when I was looking at Alpha GPC, I think it was sort of tossing up between you know, it was probably a solid three out of five. You know it's like, early efficacy of evidence. And then we wanted to really be able to say, no this is a for this ingredient at this amount has been studied in humans; and shown to be effective for the exact thing that we're saying. So I think that that's been a really good Northstar for us as we've done this upgrade, to try and be able to give the products the best evidence grading possible.

Geoff: Yeah. We don't take the upgrades lightly and we've been piloting early beta batches of this new Rise in the office and through some of our early beta customers; and the feedback is really really awesome. So excited to roll it out properly to everyone very very soon. Yeah, I'm excited about it. It's a Mainstay. It's our original product, right? So, if we don't take changes [inaudible]. I hope listeners and our customers out there are proud of the work that we put into this new upgraded version of Rise. 

Brianna: Yeah, it's been a lot of time and a lot of discussions. I think we all feel really good about it and excited to hear what everyone has to say.

Discussing Kado - Our Daily Omega Healthkit

Geoff: Let's talk about our next product Kado 3, our Omega health kit product. 

Brianna: I love Kado. The first changes that is no longer Kado 3, it's just going to be called Kado. 

Geoff: Oh, okay. 

Brianna: So I don't know why we decided to drop the three because the ingredient, omega 3, it's still in there. But I think that's more of a making it look pretty kind of decision.

Geoff: Yeah, to give it a sense of why it's even called Kado 3. I mean, it's basically amalgamation of the vitamin K, the astaxanthin or the antioxidant component; the vitamin D and Omega 3; jam it altogether and it’s Kado 3.

Brianna: It’s now called Kado, it’s one of my favorite products that we make. I think that everyone can be benefiting from supplementing Omega-3s, vitamin D and vitamin K. It's very very commonly deficient. Not only because of our diets being low in Omega 3s, but also in our lifestyle. For example, we’d normally can make Vitamin K from exposure to sunlight.

Geoff: Vitamin D.

Brianna: I'm sorry vitamin D, I know that. Typically, now in a working more and more indoors, we don't necessarily have enough; and the recommendations for supplementation just to get us up to what health people consider as normal, it's still kind of on the low side. So there's no there's no danger from kind of topping vitamin D up above what the recommended norm should be. In fact, most people probably should be higher than the recommended norm. So I think this is like a really great product that people can be building into their kind of regular routine. Previously, we used to speak about it a lot in terms of its effects on the brain, but it was just so easy to start thinking about it in the bigger picture of the company mission and how it's going to be helpful for people also trying to optimize their physical performance as well.

Geoff: I would even say like those [inaudible] for a little bit. I mean, I think we were just at a nutrition summit with some of the best performers in both Athletics and Military, and still a lot of ongoing research with Omega-3s DHA’s specially for traumatic brain injury concussion cognitive performance. So it's not just us kind of being happy with the state of science behind omega-3 DHA EPA; but it's a very active area of research. And of course, as folks that are in the military or playing the NFL, for example I mean, that's a huge area of concern. How do we keep people healthy and happy and have long productive lives after they retire from the field? 

Brianna: Yeah. Certainly all of the components in Kado are not only mechanistically but in randomized controlled trials; as well shown to contribute to overall brain health. So I think that you know, we were always confident about that from when the product was designed and that still stands now; which is why we've made very very few changes to this product. 

Geoff: Yeah, but I think you're going to talk about like the broader.

Brianna: Effects on athletic performance as well.

Geoff: Just as metabolic health and I think the data there is just getting more and more convincing. I mean, I think the whole omega-6 story with vegetable oils not just being like it's kind of a strange source of fat; and if you think about it, vegetables don't really have. Felt like it's really like an industrial process to actual make vegetable oils and vegetable oils are very very high in terms of Omega 6 [inaudible] as being like detrimental to metabolic health is really scary. 

Brianna: Because ultimately these unsaturated fatty acids are being incorporated into our cell membrane. So they know being built into the very fabric of your body. And so if you've got these very artificial fats that are ending up in your cell membranes; are going to affect the very, very basic things around how the cell can like move and interact with other cells. Trying to cut back on it omega-6s and processed vegetable oils; and making sure that you have enough Omega-3s is just really really important. I'd encourage the listeners to actually go back where you and I had a conversation about Omega-3s; that people can find out a little bit more about science there. It's not just the brain, it’s the whole body; and it really has impact on cardiovascular health as well. And I mean some of that also comes from, because once these lipids are built into the cell membrane, they can be chopped up to form signaling molecules. So pro-inflammatory signaling molecules, which are Omega 6’s, are more likely to be cleaved in a way that forms something that actually even promotes inflammation versus anti inflammatory molecules. As well as if you've got Omega-3s, they are cleaved in that way it's more anti-inflammatory. So the balance of inflammation pro and anti inflammatory signals is very much affected by the ratio of Omega-3 to omega-6 in your cells, and in your diet; and that's been shown as you kind of alluded to have big impacts on cardiovascular health metabolic health, say for example diabetes.

So very, very broad impacts here throughout the body. And actually one thing that we picked up on one of the meetings recently was actually that not only can omega-3 fats be cleave to anti inflammatory mediators. They can actually be cleaved into Pro resolving. So not only is it going to stop inflammation but it's actually going to kind of fix inflammation. These little molecules called SPM, specialized Pro resolving mediators. So that's certainly something that people could be looking out for in the future as we start to understand how the fats in our diet can affect every process throughout our body.

Geoff: Hundred percent. Yeah, we might have heard of Omega-3s for the last 20 years or so, but still very very cutting edge research something that we're excited about. Just the whole story.

Brianna: Yeah, I think people can get kind of fatigue because even as a scientist I get kind of fatigue. Because every other month it’s like new study shows Omega-3s work; new study shows Omega-3s don't work. And much like the plant extract says kind of considerations into the source of the Omega-3s; the dose of the Omega-3s. There's a lot of considerations. There's just a lot out there. But I'd say that in terms of looking at the mechanisms, it's also at you know, there's no risk profile with taking them. It's very, you know, and the body of evidence that is positive. I would say it's like a very very good bet for people. It's better than a good at it. You know? 

Geoff: Yeah, it's a daily staple for both of us. I mean. 

Brianna: We pop Kado like candy here. 

Geoff: Yeah. I mean, I think we kind of like the macro dos version. Because yeah, I think we fully bought into the omega-3, omega-6 story. 

Brianna: Yeah, I take 6 Kado some days.

Geoff: Yeah. So like a month pack is like a week pack for us. 

Brianna: Yeah. 

Geoff: So people are like doing that with us may be off the consider like a macro pack. 

Brianna: The big users.

Geoff: For the big users.

Brianna: Yeah, obviously all over brain health, metabolic health; but then also thinking about athletes as well. A lot of the ingredients in Kado are really excellent for athletes, omega-3. We got really excited around the research looking at muscle soreness and recovery after exercise. So there's some good evidence. They're showing that her making sure that you've got enough omega-3 is going to help you recover and feel less sore; and able to train the next day and that comes back to information which I was just discussing. So that's great and then also, Vitamin D; the blood level of vitamin D shows some correlation to overall like muscles strength. So making sure that you have sufficient vitamin D is going to be really important if you're working out a lot. Yeah, we were excited to be able to really speak to that as we roll out the new [inaudible] product.

Geoff: So the only change we made was that we actually upped the dosage of Astaxanthin, which is a potent antioxidant. So we went from one milligram of Astaxanthin to two milligrams.

Brianna: Yes. So basically, we looked at the peer-reviewed studies of astaxanthin in humans; felt that the dose was on the low end of that range and we wanted to up it so that it was more commensurate with what I've been studying. 

Geoff: Strictly better in terms of increasing dosage of a fairly bespoke expensive ingredient. So excited about making that change and offering that to everyone. Any other thoughts around Kado? I mean it's a good product and I think one of the things I like isn't really talking about is that we do a little special processing with a little bit of mint oil. So instead of having fishy burps typically with the omega-3 products. It's actually a nice touch that people have commented about; we'd only marketed or talk about too much but something that I appreciate where it's like not getting fish burps. I have like a little bit of a minty fresh.

Brianna: People should try it themselves. 

Geoff: Yes, try it out. 

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Discussing Sprint - Our Nootropic for Energy & Focus

Geoff: Our third HVMN performance supplement, Sprint. Let's talk about Sprint. 

Brianna: So really, previously the backbone of Sprint was the caffeine and theanine; and so previously there were also B vitamins and tyrosine in there and we decided that we'd go back to building around that backbone of caffeine and theanine.

Geoff: Almost like go back, you're going after big six, right? I think we talked about just like focus on things or simple strong evidence in like not worry about too much interactions between different components. And as the name Sprint implies is something that's an acute nootropic. You use it right before something that you want to have intense focus your energy towards 

Brianna: And I think what's a real strength of Sprint is that it's got an exact known amount of caffeine and theanine in it. If you're trying to get these stimulants through coffee. There was a great research that once done, I can't remember. I think it must have been published peer-reviewed and they went to Starbucks on like Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday and ordered the same; and then looked at the caffeine content of the drink and there's this huge variation. 

Geoff: 200 to 400 milligrams.

Brianna: Yeah, so you don't you don't know what you're getting when you drink a cup of coffee; and I mean, I love drinking a cup of coffee. So there's a time and a place for things like Sprint. But when you really want to know what you're getting, and especially for athletes because actually drinking coffee; especially if you're going to go and do a race like first thing in the morning it can cause GI issues there. So being able to just have caffeine without the hot liquid and the coffee and more portable. It's certainly a strength of having a pill form of caffeine. 

Geoff: Yeah, so the new Sprint is going to have 200 milligrams of caffeine 200 milligrams of l-theanine and 400 milligrams of Panax Ginseng.

Brianna: Yeah, we decided I think previously there was more caffeine than theanine? 

Geoff: We did actually a one to two ratio of caffeine to l-theanine. 

Brianna: There is twice as much l-theanine.

Geoff: Twice as much l-theanine to caffeine. 

Brianna: I think we wanted to up the caffeine content because we had feedback from people that most people were using more than a hundred mgs of caffeine.

Geoff: Yeah, I think that perhaps the caffeine resistance or caffeine tolerance of people has gone up in our over-caffeinated world. So our sense from some of the feedback was that the ratio of l-theanine to caffeine was artificially high now because people's resistance or dependency or tolerance of caffeine was much higher; and effect of caffeine being a stimulant with l-theanine being more of a anxiolytic kind of at anyway to the effects of Sprint in that wanted to caffeine l-theanine ratio. 

Brianna: This is definitely a feedback consideration because really, you know, there's a huge body of literature and looking at the effects of caffeine on cognition and 100 mg's has been studied and 200 mg’s been studied; and you know, so there wasn't like a clear, we must go for one of these two doses. So really it was based on listening to what people who use Sprint wanted to feel when they use Sprint; and I think that the feeling was that they wanted to feel more of the kind of caffeine kit. Hence why we decided that we would increase the amount of caffeine that was included.

Geoff: And I think the RCT data and there's been a lot of studies with a 1 to 2 ratio but a lot of studies on the one-to-one ratio.

Brianna: We did we looked at the ratios while I was a pretty even split. We know that caffeine and theanine like pair have some complimentary kind of interactions. And so again, there was no clear winner as to whether we should be doing the one to two or the one to one and so then we felt good about giving the customer what they wanted in terms of the science still kind of agreeing with that.

Geoff: Yeah, and then the last big change about it. So we got rid of the Tyrosine, the B complex, some of these components; and we've decided to focus a lot of the anxiolytic effects around Panax Ginseng. Why?

Brianna: So we’ve decided to focus on Panax Ginseng because of a really, you know, good body of evidence around its effects on cognition and Immunity as well. So actually reached out to one investigator that I run a lot of the early studies of Panax Ginseng; because having read, you always get a little bit like you want a gut check things when there is a lot papers all from the same research group you want to really see not only get their opinions. Because obviously they worked with it quite closely, but just to check there's no end bias or anything coming in. So I went reached out and I had a good chat with the guy who ran a lot of these studies on Panax Ginseng; and we discussed about the different types of ginseng; and also the different potencies of ingredients; and why he thought he got the results that they did. And ultimately yeah, I was convinced that this was a really good move in for Sprint. The evidence is good run cognitive performance there. So and definitely also we were looking at some of the forums and seeing what other people out there are using and ginseng came up a lot. 

Geoff: So yeah, there's also like some preliminary data how this is like potentially good for insulin resistance.

Brianna: Yes, it has shown it lowering blood glucose.

Geoff: Yeah. 

Brianna: He said that, the investigator I spoke to said that was a pretty consistent effect they saw with their studies. 

Geoff: Yeah, so it just seemed like, you know, it's a little bit different from like the traditional Sprint use case of an acute nootropic; but some of the cognitive effects manage the broader metabolic implications of something like a reducing blood sugar can all be very sensible to make a very simple story around Sprint.

Brianna: So another little thing that I quite like about Panax Ginseng is the effects on mood. So I mean, I ultimately with Sprint we want to have people be alert but also like not super wired, kind of relaxed And one effect that was kind of consistently seen in some of these clinical trials of Panax Ginseng was calmness, tranquility; not quite reduced anxiety in the same way that we talk about it with Rise, but improve subjective sense of well-being. And actually a study looked at quite long term use of Panax Ginseng on overall quality of life scores and saw an improvement there. So I think that if we're trying to design something that gets people in the ideal like flow state, get something done than feeling good about yourself that's another leg; your little thing that we can add to the list.

Geoff: Yeah. It might sound like fuzzy but these are measurable quantitative of markers. This is like on some spectrum people are marking and reporting differences in subjective mood.

Brianna: So when we run, we were talking about ashwagandha; the subjective feeling of fatigue and then also the stressor; and then looking at cortisol with subjective well-being and mood. There's not quite yet the same like good biomarkers yet, and I'm you know, maybe we'll get there in the future. Maybe we’ll figure something out to measure in the blood that's like correlated with how good people feel about themselves. Or maybe we'll be able to more accurately measure like EG’s or some kind of signal with mood; but at the moment as you say this is subjective, but often these questionnaires are validated and used multiple times in lots of different studies. So at least there's some consistency. So I mean that was a good thing about these studies looking at production saying that they're using validated clinical tests. 

Geoff: Yes, it’s a standard validated method. Yeah. I think that more and more of the cycle biological phenomenon that is becoming more and more popular as within the sport science world. How one feels is very important in terms of how one ultimately performs.

Brianna: So important. I mean, I don't want to say like the placebo effect, but like the effect of the brain on the whole body kind of almost like the placebo effect of taking anything is super super super powerful. So even mindfulness techniques like positive self affirmation or meditation; all of these things that people are talking about that sound kind of woo woo; you're actually changing, your changing the way you think and change your physiology. So making sure that you're in a good mood and if there's anything that you can take that will help with that, then that's going to give you multiply the returns, that you get in terms of performance. 

Geoff: Exactly. Yeah. So I think the way I'm going to use the new Sprint is like a nice cappuccino when it's like more of a low-key coffee meeting or coffee date or whatnot; but for a good flow State thing. You know Sprint is this a much simpler punchy quick thing to get going there.

Brianna: And I think I'm probably going to be using it before my races. Sit there, I'll have HVMN Ketone, Sprint, nice carb drink; put the whole lot and then five hours later I'll be at the finish line.

Discussing Yawn - Our Rejuvenating Sleep Aid

Geoff: And now our last nootropic, Yawn.

Brianna: Again, I personally love Yawn, especially like traveling backwards and forwards between the US and home in the UK and then recently been doing like some east west coast travel. And I always always travel with yawn and one of the thing, I mean when I was an athlete, I use other more like medical kind of like sleeping aids and whenever I took take anything like that the next day the next morning would just be kind of like a write-off and was always funny because I'd be trading it off. So be like the night before like a big race and I'd be like, right. I'm really, really nervous and I can't sleep. But if I take this and my race is at nine, am I prepared to accept the fact 

Geoff: Might be groggy. 

Brianna: I might be groggy and I'm going to really have to like caffeine up or is the nerves that will get me up enough in the morning. So I mean it was definitely always like a bit of a toss-up in a consideration. But with yawn, I never really feel groggy in the morning and always like it just feels like more of a natural kind of sleep. I think they're the anti anxiety affects of say the l-theanine which is one of the ingredients in yawn helps you just fall off to sleep. And then the next morning you wake up feeling really refreshing. That's actually, I've given Yawn to a number of my friends out here and a lot of people agree. That's like one of the best sleeping aids that they've used, so all the [inaudible] of the yawns so we've made a few, really one minor tweak to your.

Geoff: Minor tweak, but I think we also expanded the use case where we used to only sell them in 10 packs. But now we have yawn in a month pack where it's completely safe and great to use on a daily basis to support sleep. And I yeah, I think just re-emphasize like the importance of sleep. I think we talked a lot about things on all on the margin in terms of improving performance, but the basics really are good sleep, getting some reasonable amount of physical exercise, and eating a reasonable diet.

Brianna: I really would be excited to hear you guys do a podcast about sleep. There's a really good book that's just come out that my running coach was recommended to me that I want to read. And when I was looking at some of the stuff we were talking about with yawn, I was looking at some of the literature around sleep and physical performance and sleep and cognitive points; that sleep is just huge, you really got to get your sleep right. Not only for the [inaudible] rhythms as well as metabolic Health; as well as just how you perform. So I think it's something that we all can control but it quite easily gets eroded with screen time in the evening; and act out days; and it's hard to de-stress; and there's you know, there's a lot of things that stop us from getting sleep. But really.

Geoff: We can do a sleep podcast because like I have like a pretty interesting set up with like completely blacked out bedroom windows and all that stuff. 

Brianna: It would be kind of interesting to pull how different people.

Geoff: Optimize, yeah.

Brianna: Yeah, optimize their sleep because I think everyone's got their, I think it's easy to listen to people giving advice and be that I could never do that. But there's something out there that works for everyone. I think most people could get better sleep than they do. Anyways, so we want people to be able to use your own every day. Yet again.

Geoff: So let’s go down to the ingredients list. So, Yawn consists of Melatonin, magnesium glycinate, glycine l-theanine. 

Brianna: Yeah, so I mean, let's start with the l-theanine as we've already talked about it a little with Sprint; l-theanine is and anxiolytics so it helps to reduce anxiety. So as you're trying to get ready for sleep, the last thing you want is worries and anxiety kind of like buzzing around and so the effect of l-theanine is to calm that. Glycine and magnesium given together increases the bioavailability of the Magnesium. Firstly, magnesium it helps with neurotransmission around sleep. And glycine, I'm hoping to get this right, it's a precursor to a neurotransmitter again. 

Geoff: Yeah, so a lot of good data such as out of Japan showing that glycine improves subjective wellness or like sleep quality scores. 

Brianna: Yeah. No, I remember the studies. Now. I've been in the process of reviewing what these so, it's kind of the tip of my tongue. Yeah, and then finally melatonin, and this is the more I think for me, it's kind of more interesting ingredient because I think over in the UK it's regulated. I think in America you can buy melatonin supplements, I'm not sure that you can in the same way. 

Geoff: Huh? Huh?

Brianna: I'm not sure. But certainly like when you look out there and what you can get there's a big old range in the amounts of melatonin that you can buy anything from what was previously in your own which was you know, very small amount like 300 micrograms all the way up through to you know, five ten milligrams.

Geoff: Ten milligrams is way too much.

Brianna: Like a horse tranquilizer, right? So some of the feedback from customers, we previously chosen this very very low level of Yawn...

Geoff: Between like 300 and 1 milligram. 

Brianna: Yes, but then the customer feedback that we were getting from Yawn was that people were not feeling a super strong, sleep inducing effect; which you know, maybe work fine for say me, because I don't normally have any sleep problems. But maybe the type of people that were using Yawn is really looking for something that made them feel sleepy and drowsy in much the same way that the people that were looking for Sprint were looking for more of a kick. So we decided that we would go to the upper range of what had been found to be non habit-forming. So there's been a lot of studies for sending melatonin dose and then any rebound effects after that and also again drowsiness the following morning and so we decided that one milligram was a good compromise. Where we felt good that people could take it every day and felt good that you know, that should increase the chance that people feel the effects of melatonin. 

Geoff: Yeah hundred percent. Like I think that's the most important thing, me as a consumer, I don't want anything that's habitual for me; and the dose of 1 milligram is non habit forming. You see like the same rebound of the same natural release of melatonin under that threshold. So people out there that are listening when you look at melatonin supplements. Don't take like the horse tranquilizer 10 milligram doses. Those are like big chunky doses of melatonin and as a lot of things more is not often better.

Brianna: Yeah. There's like a Goldilocks pot I’d like to call. I feel like I'm gonna like claim it this time. I've been using a lot recently. It's like not too little not too much. It's like just right, just in the middle of the Goldilocks spot of melatonin is probably somewhere between like say 1 and 3. So we're definitely, were still kind of like we want to we definitely want to be careful. We know that it's working just as well. 

Geoff: Yeah, 3 is like that upper threshold so we went from 300 micrograms to 1 milligram, which we think is improve a little of the subjective feel but like be well with that under that habit forming caution that people are concerned about with, you know, sleep aids.

Brianna: And not only is there with the very high doses, not only is there the danger of it being habit forming, but then also it’s just like diminishing returns as you get to high and high doses. It's not like it works ten times better and you're getting 10 times more of it. Just kind of like drowning out your bodies. Natural circadian rhythms for nothing. 

Geoff: So yeah excited about the new Yawn, it's been something that that we've got a lot of feedback where people want more Yawn. They like the 10 pack is too little so we're really proud of it the new month supply of Yawn that we are releasing. Yeah, it'll be a great product and something that I'll be incorporating to daily routine. So I'm looking forward to. 

Brianna: Yeah, likewise. I think it will be good to for me like having joined after you had the previous cycle neutral box being able to like make them exactly how I would want to take them has been great. So I hope that everyone else feels the enjoys taking them as much as I'm looking forward to taking them. 

Geoff: Yeah. I mean, I don't think there's much else to be said here. I mean, I think a lot of work is going on behind the scenes always as we're talking to leading researchers, leading practitioners within performance as well as on the recovery side. So excited to show off our work and show off our effort here. 

Brianna: Yeah. Also learnings, and I think hopefully that you know through the discussion that we've had today people can see that we think of the body is like a whole system. We've got to be thoughtful about optimizing as much as we can; and I think that the human performance supplements are really targeting key areas where there are like problems deficiencies; and areas in their life where people can really optimize have a big broad impact across their health.

Geoff: Cool. I think that's well said. So for customers, listeners, people that are excited to try some of these HVMN Performance Supplements. We're excited to hear your feedback, is not just the work of Brianna and I, it's really the whole work of entire team where we have Chrissy who run supply chain; Mike Lee who'd spent a lot of effort redesigning the package.

Brianna: They look beautiful.

Geoff: Even cooler when it's on your desk or on the bedside table. So I think it's not even just from the science it's also the whole experience. We want to make this something that's beautiful, that you can be proud of. That just fits into everything else in your life style.

Brianna: So please keep in touch. Let us know what you think. And then also I think clearly we are listening to what you're saying and your thoughts have gone into this update. So I mean I can't say when the next update will be, but if you have any feedback or thoughts or ingredients you think we should be looking at. 

Geoff: New product ideas.

Brianna: New product ideas exactly. We want to give you guys like what you want. Just feel free to reach out. often these emails get passed on to Geoff or myself. And we love reading your feedback!

Geoff: We literally have a Slack channel, #happycustomers or just like customers and support just to hear all the different feedback and it's something of a highlight for all of us here. Thanks Bri, always great to chat. 

Brianna: As have I, Geoff. Bye!

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