Caffeine and the banned ephedrine alkaloids are unique among phytochemicals in that they have reams of data, said Bill Gurley, PhD, of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Arkansas School for Medicine.
“Very little is known about the pharmacokinetics of most of these phytochemicals. Caffeine and the ephedrine alkaloids are notable exceptions,” he said.
Keeping the sum of the parts
Boosting the effectiveness of natural botanical constituents has usually been a matter of extracting those compounds of interest and working with them in blends of only a few ingredients or even individually in pharmaceutical reductionist mode. Taiyo has taken a different approach with its Whole Green Coffee Powder (WGCP) ingredient, which is being marketed as a natural caffeine alternative, not as a weight management ingredient. According to Taiyo vice president Scott Smith, the company has come up with a proprietary milling process that leaves the caffeine in the powdered ingredient still bonded to the dietary fiber. The dissolution of the bond in the digestive system releases the caffeine slowly into the blood stream, he said.
“The natural caffeine within raw coffee bean is tied up with the fiber. This is the essence of the time release of not only caffeine, but of the other essential acids and nutrients that are slowly released, offering a sustained energy without a crash or the typical negative effects of caffeine,” Smith told NutraIngredeints-USA.
Smith said the time-release aspect of the ingredient has been verified in studies conducted at the University of Tampa and at the Cleveland Clinic. Natural caffeine faces significant competition from synthetic forms of the compound, which are widely available and cheap. The ingredient is meant as an “energy food” rather than a mere caffeine boost, Smith said.
“The category, or main concept of WGCP, is a natural sustained energy whole food source. This includes: energy and endurance concepts without a crash or negative effects of caffeine, focus and concentration concepts, and a source of fiber and antioxidants,” Smith said.
The ingredient is insoluble, so is targeted toward functional food applications such as bars and cereals as well as for supplements, Smith said. The ingredient’s gentle, low-temperature milling process maintains the nutrient profile of the bean itself, which is altered or destroyed in roasting and extraction processes, he said.
“The key concept is an all natural whole food sustained energy source. It is not an extract, and it has not been heated or chemically treated. WGCP is exactly the way mother nature made and intended it to be,” he said.