Youtheory explains why it selected branded ingredients to differentiate its supplements SKUs from others in the marketplace. From KSM-66 and Sensoril ashwagandha to Affron, PrimaVie Shilajit and PharmaGABA, watch this video from Natural Products Expo East.

Todd Runestad, Content Director,

November 6, 2023

5 Min View

At a Glance

  • Branded ingredients stand for quality, IP, research.
  • Top supplements brands seek them out.
  • Here's the news from the Natural Products Expo East show floor.

Youtheory caught fire as a supplements brand when its collagen SKUs found a home in Costco. But the brand is way more than just trendy collagen. In fact, it uses branded ingredients across its supplements portfolio, and it differentiates itself by tending to use clinically validated doses of branded ingredients to ensure that supplements work.

“We use the clinically studied ingredients so that we know our products will work,” said Joyce Moran, education and training manager at Youtheory.

In its ashwagandha line, the company uses the 600 mg dose of KSM-66, which is the dosage generally used in the majority of its 24 human clinical studies. They also use an extra 400 mg ashwagandha root from that same region in India and ginger extract for the absorption of nutrients.

“We have this new ingredient now—ashwa-GABA,” said Moran, “so we’ve got all the benefits of the KSM-66 but we’ve also got 100 mg PharmaGABA so it’ll help that parasympathetic nervous system and give you that relaxation that’s good for your brain.”

KSM-66 brand ashwagandha has been evaluated in two dozen human clinical trials. It’s been fhown to be effective in reducing stress and anxiety in adults, as well as muscle strength and recovery. The doses used in human clinical trials are 300 mg twice daily, for a total daily dose of 600 mg.

GABA (y-amino butyric acid) is a brain component found in fermented foods. It’s been shown to help control stress and help with focus and concentration. A 2020 double-blind, placebo-controlled human clinical study using 200 mg Pharma GABA (sourced from Pharma Foods International) on 30 healthy adults over age 40 for 12 weeks found an improvement in a wide range of cognitive functions. These included non-verbal reasoning, working memory and sustained attention.

I’m just wild about saffron

Another SKU from the company is Saffron, powered by Affron at 28mg, which is the clinically studied dose. This branded ingredient, from Gencor, has 9 published clinical trials.

“Saffron is recognized for elevating mood,” said Moran, “and then it also incluces rhodiola and Sensoril brand ashwagandha. It’s a nice balance, a little stimulation from rhodiola and stress release and then that really great response to elevate mood for people who have low level depression.”

A studied dose of 28 mg Affron brand saffron has been found to be the responsible dose for the beneficial properties of the saffron (Crocus sativus)  sourced from Gencor. It is backed by eight human clinical studies that have shown to improve mood in healthy consumers with occasional stress and uneasiness and to improve sleeplessness.

A 2020 study on healthy adults over four weeks in a double-blind, parallel, randomized, placebo-controlled trial found 28 mg/day Affron reduced tension, anger, confusion and fatigue, as well as significantly decreased low mood and stress, and also helped promote sleep quality.

The Sensoril brand ashwagandha is the other top branded ingredient using the ayurvedic staple. It has clinical research showing a dose of 125 mg twice daily it can help manage stress and sleep to support cognitive health. The reason for the lower dose requirement for Sensoril is that it is concentrated to have higher levels of the active ingredient, the withanolides.

That's good shilajit

Another SKU, Shilajit, has been around a couple years. Sourcing shilajit, Youtheory selected the PrimaVie Shilajit at 500mg, which is a clihically validated dose.

"I love the detoxification doses, standardized to folic acid," said Moran. "A lot of driver is coming from the standardization of folic acid. Clean extract, only one that's GRAS, which is really important and will work for people."

Shilajit is a botanical that’s common to ayurvedic medicine. A 2019 study comparing 250 mg and 500 mg PrimaVie brand shilajit (sourced from Natreon, now owned by Kerry) with placebo examined effects after 8 weeks of use on various parameters of strength. The results on 63 recreationally active men in Nebraska found the 500 mg dose promoted the retention of muscular strength following a fatiguing protocol.

Watch the complete video to also get the news on why methylcobalamin is the preferred form of vitamin B12 over cyanocobalamin.

About the Author(s)

Todd Runestad

Content Director,, Natural Products Insider

Todd Runestad has been writing on nutrition science news since 1997. He is content director for and Natural Products Insider digital magazines. Other incarnations: supplements editor for, Delicious Living!, and Natural Foods Merchandiser. Former editor-in-chief of Functional Ingredients magazine and still covers raw material innovations and ingredient science.

Connect with me here on LinkedIn.


Todd writes about nutrition science news such as this story on mitochondrial nutrients, innovative ingredients such as this story about 12 trendy new ingredient launches from SupplySide West 2023, and is a judge for the NEXTY awards honoring innovation, integrity and inspiration in natural products including his specialty — dietary supplements. He extensively covered the rise and rise and rise and fall of cannabis hemp CBD. He helps produce in-person events at SupplySide West and SupplySide East trade shows and conferences, including the wildly popular Ingredient Idol game show, as well as Natural Products Expo West and Natural Products Expo East and the NBJ Summit. He was a board member for the Hemp Industries Association.

Education / Past Lives

In previous lives Todd was on the other side of nature from natural products — natural history — as managing editor at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. He's sojourned to Burning Man and Mount Everest. He graduated many moons ago from the State University of New York College at Oneonta.


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