Jumping on the popularity of energy drinks is a beverage family carving a category of its own: cognitive performance enhancing drinks. The category’s embryonic state is what gave Dr. Bankole Johnson, who works as chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the confidence to launch his own line of beverages, called Kolé.
“Whilst there has been a trend to have supplements provide improvements in cognition, we believe that our combination of nootropics is quite unique and a distinguishing feature compared with any other beverage on the market,” Dr. Johnson told FoodNavigator-USA.
Four flavors, four occasions
There are four flavors in the line: Inspire, marketed to improve focus and attention; Happy, marketed to enhance mood; Dreams, marketed to promote restful sleep, and Ignite, marketed ton enhance sexual performance.
“All of them contain no calories, and are filled with naturally occurring, health promoting ingredients. By providing these drinks that are the ‘future of function’ the consumer has, for the first time, the ability to harness the power of a range,” Dr. Johnson said.
As a brand, all drinks contain a blend of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and herbal adaptogens, with some slight varieties across flavors. Inspire, for example contains Cognizin, a branded version of the psychostimulant citicoline.
The recipes and ingredient combinations, which are listed on Kolé Life Foods’ website, came from Dr. Johnson’s years of lab experiments. “I have been fortunate with inventions throughout my career and currently hold many USA and global patents for my inventions in the field of molecular genetics,” he said.
A friendly challenge
Drt. Johnson started developing the beverages two years ago, and it started with a funny family anecdote. “My wife asked me to go the store and purchase a functional drink. On reading the back of the label, it occurred to me the drink could not have the function ascribed to it.”
He called his wife saying he will not buy the product. “I believed I could do better. She challenged me to do just that. I researched hard [for] various options to produce a truly optimized functional drink with naturally occurring ingredients.”
The product is set to launch this month, selling initially online through Amazon for around $3 a bottle.
One major player in the cognitive performance beverage category is the aptly named Nawgan, launched in 2010 by neuropsychologist Dr. Rob Paul. The beverage shares an ingredient with one of Kolé’s drinks, the Cognizin branded citicoline.
A study conducted in 2014 found that Nawgan, thanks to its citicoline and caffeine, is effective in improving measures of sustained attention and working memory.