Oregano Oil Aids Brain Health

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NEW ORLEANS—Oregano compounds helped regulate mood, motivation and mental wellbeing in healthy male adults in a recent study presented at the International Society of Neuroscience conference in New Orleans. The study was conducted at Forenap Pharma in France and funded by DSM Nutritional Products.

The study used oréVida™ (from DSM), a proprietary oregano extract that contains a specific ratio of carvacrol and thymoquinone, two active components naturally found in oregano.

The placebo-controlled, crossover clinical study, which was published last year (Br J Nutr. 2011 Apr;105(8):1150-63), observed 20 healthy young men, ages 18 to 45, who were administered capsules containing different intakes (30 mg, 60  mg and 120mg) of the oregano extract twice a day for five days. The researchers used an electroencephalogram (EEG) to measure the resulting changes in the energy of different brainwaves.

They observed an increase in alpha-1 brainwaves associated with relaxation, improved learning and concentration, and decreased anxiety.  They also observed more pronounced beta-1 brainwaves associated with an increased state of alertness and cognitive processing

oréVida inhibited the reuptake and degradation of the monoamine neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline in a dose-dependent manner, and microdialysis experiments in rats revealed an elevation of extracellular serotonin levels in the brain. Further, following administration of oregano extract, behavioral responses were observed in mice that parallel the beneficial effects exhibited by monoamine-enhancing compounds when used in human subjects

The monoamine neurotransmitters, serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline, are derived from dietary amino acids and are involved in the modulation of mood, anxiety, cognition, sleep regulation and appetite.

“This data provides important insight into the mode of action of oréVida, a proprietary oregano extract," said Hasan Mohajeri, Ph.D., a DSM neuroscientist leading the research. “In addition to pre-clinical evidence, we now have the first evidence of efficacy in humans, including bioavailability of the active components and the rapid effects on specific brain functions." 

Along with investing in research, DSM is also increasing its portfolio. Earlier this week, the company announced that it is acquiring Fortitech, a privately held company that manufactures customized, value-added food ingredient blends for food and beverage, infant nutrition and dietary supplements industries.

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