The Complete Guide to NeuroFactor -- The Brain Building, BDNF Boosting Nootropic
If you want to know what NeuroFactor is, how it increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and what the benefits of BDNF are, then you want to read this article.
The world of nootropics is fascinating.
Where else can you readily find compounds that not only make you smarter, improve your ability to remember, and at the same time ward off cognitive decline?
Yes, nootropics are awesome, and the really cool thing, is that we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of the powers of nootropics. Science is still learning about the intricacies of the human brain, and with each new discovery comes with it the potential for new nootropics to preserve and enhance our cognitive abilities throughout our lifetime.
One of the newest nootropics to enter the market in recent years is NeuroFactor.
It’s showing up in several nootropic formulas, and even some pre workouts.
We’ve got everything you want to know about this booming brain-booster ahead as we do a deep dive into all things NeuroFactor.
What is NeuroFactor?
NeuroFactor™ is an all-natural, patented compound made from the whole fruit (including the bean) of the coffee plant, Coffea arabica. It was developed by nutraceuticals company FutureCeuticals for the purpose of enhancing the production of a powerful protein in the brain called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
We’ll get more into the specific actions of NeuroFactor a bit further down below, but first let’s discuss what led to the creation of NeuroFactor a bit more.
When you go to make your cup of coffee in the morning, chances are you either flip on the Keurig machine and toss in a pod of coffee grounds or dump some pre-ground coffee into your Mr. Coffee and click “Brew”.
But, there are probably a few of you that are more “refined” and consider yourself a coffee connoisseur, and no Mr. Coffee or Keurig will do for you. So, you take the time to grind your beans (using a burr grinder of course) and then brew your coffee in a French Press.
Whatever way you enjoy your coffee, you have in some way, shape, or form used the coffee bean in the brewing process.
But, have you ever given much thought to what it takes to get that bean you so love?
You might think the typical coffee bean grows on trees or bushes…
And you’d be partially correct.
You see, the coffee bean as we know it isn’t really a bean at all. It’s actually a seed that comes from coffee fruit.
The coffee fruit (or berries) are typically harvested by a machine or picked by hand. The outer fruit is then removed in order to extract the beans. Following this, the beans are collected and transported for processing, drying, roasting, packaging and shipping.
What about the fruit?
It’s usually discarded as it was believed there wasn’t much benefit to it, other than to provide the coffee seeds (“beans”) that brew up each day.
However, recently scientific research has shown that coffee fruit contains powerful antioxidants that have the potential to impart tremendous healthful powers.[1,2]
As a result of these findings, scientists developed processes that have allowed them to collect and concentrate this potent blend of antioxidants found in coffee fruit at the height of freshness and potency.
The result of these pioneering efforts led to a concentrated whole coffee fruit extract, rich in antioxidants, called NeuroFactor™.
What Does NeuroFactor Do?
Through years of careful research (including two HUMAN trials), scientists from FutureCeuticals discovered that consuming small amounts of whole coffee fruit concentrate (NeuroFactor) significantly increases levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor.[3,4]
In fact, NeuroFactor increased levels of BDNF up to 143% from baseline measurements and kept them elevated for at least two hours. Technically speaking, levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor can remain elevated longer than two hours, but researchers conducting the trials stopped tracking after two hours had elapsed.
Due to these findings, researchers may begin using NeuroFactor in the treatment of BDNF-dependent health conditions in humans.
You’re probably thinking:
“That’s great and all, but what the heck is brain-derived neurotrophic factor and why is elevating it good?”
Let’s address those questions now.
What is Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) and What Does It Do?
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor is a neutrophin, a type of protein active in the brain as well as the central and peripheral nervous systems. It serves a critical role in the growth, development and repair of neurons, specialized cells that transmit nerve impulses throughout the body.[4,6]
Additionally, BDNF has been documented to play a role in neuroplasticity, which is a fancy way of saying this powerful neuro protein helps your brain adapt to new situations, changes in the environment, or any potential brain injury.[7,8]
On top of that, BDNF also supports the survival of existing neurons and encourages the growth, regeneration and creation of new neurons and synapses, indicating BDNF is a key player in neurogenesis.
In other words, brain-derived neurotrophic factor is really, really important, and increasing it is a very good thing, particularly if you want to live a longer, healthier, more mentally adept life!
Can BDNF Help Me Lose Weight?
Interestingly enough, brain-derived neurotrophic factor may also help you lose weight, in addition to its brain-building benefits.
Research has shown that the powerful brain protein can suppress food intake via hippocampal signaling. Studies in rats have shown that infusions of BDHF help lower body weight and reduce hunger.
Human studies have documented that people who are overweight, obese, or type 2 diabetics have low levels of BDNF.[10,11,12]
The fat-fighting effects of brain-derived neurotrophic factor may be due to its ability to activate the stress response and induce UCP1 (uncoupling protein 1)– a powerful uncoupling protein that creates brown fat, which your body readily burns for fuel.
One other way in which BDNF may support a healthy weight is due to its ability to improve insulin resistance. Acting directly on the brain, BDNF regulates glucose metabolism, which supports a healthy insulin response, maintains steady blood sugar levels, and helps prevent fat gain.
How Do I Increase BDNF?
We’ve already mentioned that two different human trials have shown that NeuroFactor can significantly increase BDNF levels, but is there anything else you can do?
In addition to supplementing with NeuroFactor, several other things have been shown to impact BDNF levels including:
One of the most effective ways to increase BDNF is by exercising.[15,16] In fact, high-intensity exercise increases not only levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, but improves memory as well.
Even better, the increase in BDNF doesn’t only last the day you exercise, but may last up to several weeks after you train.
If you’re walking around stressed all of the time, not only are you increasing cortisol and torpedoing your testosterone levels, you’re also hurting your BDNF levels too.
Research shows that both chronic and acute stress decreases BDNF[18,19], with acute stress having the bigger impact.
We know that sunshine is important for a lot of things -- creating vitamin D, enhancing levels of serotonin, getting a nice tan, etc. It may also impact your body’s production of BDNF as well.
An analysis of 2,851 individuals in the Netherlands documented that BDNF were linked to the number of hours a person was exposed to sunshine. Levels were higher in the spring and summer, and lower in the fall and winter.
As if you didn’t have enough reasons to get outside and enjoy nature, here’s another one!
Animal studies note that chronic sleep deprivation reduces BDNF, and it increases levels of two inflammatory cytokines, interleukin-1 (IL-1b) and tumor necrotic factor (TNF).
These findings back the results of another study which showed that humans battling insomnia has significantly lower levels of the important brain protein.
Fasting, especially intermittent fasting, is all the rage these days, and for a number of reasons. Well, here’s another one you can add to the list -- fasting increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor up to 400%!
Research shows that subjects utilizing alternate-day fasts, where they only consumed 600 calories worth of food on their “fasting” days, noted that production of BDNF increased between 50-400%!with a single meal of about 600 calories on a fast day, can boost the production of BDNF by 50 to 400 percent, depending on the region of the brain being examined.[23,24]
There’s several other means you can use to get your brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels on the rise, but these are the most common and readily achievable.
Of course, we’re here to talk about how NeuroFactor increases BDNF levels, so let’s take a quick look at the two human studies that proved the coffee fruit extract to be beneficial for boosting BDNF.
NeuroFactor Human Study #1
For the pilot study on NeuroFactor, researchers recruited 25 healthy, non-smokers between the ages of 18-55 years old with a BMI between 18 and 25 kg/m2. Test subjects could not use any type of medication or supplement for 15 days leading up to the study.
The 25 subjects were then randomly divided into groups of five and received one of the following treatments:
- Green coffee caffeine powder
- Green coffee bean extract powder
- Grape seed extract powder
Three of the extracts contained various amounts of caffeine:
- NeuroFactor (0.7% caffeine)
- Green coffee caffeine powder (72.8%)
- Green coffee bean extract powder (2%)
Subjects fasted for 12 hours prior to baseline measurements, then consumed a single, 100 mg dose of each material. Plasma samples were then collected at 30 minute intervals beginning after ingestion and ending two hours after ingestion.
At the end of the trial, only NeuroFactor led to any significant increase in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (up to 143% above baseline), indicating there’s something else going on in the fruit of coffea arabica outside of the caffeine or chlorogenic acid, which was plentiful in the green coffee bean extract and caffeine powders.
“These results indicate that WCFC (NeuroFactor) could be used for modulation of BDNF-dependent health conditions.”
NeuroFactor Human Study #2
Shortly after the results of the first study were published, a follow up study was conducted to confirm the findings of the first and provide greater understanding of the novel nootropic.
For this study, researchers used a single dose, placebo-controlled, within-subject study involving 20 healthy subjects ages 25 to 35.
Each subject consumed all three treatments according to the following dosing schedule:
- Day 1 -- placebo
- Day 2 -- 100mg dose of NeuroFactor
- Day 3 -- 300 mL of freshly brewed coffee on the Day 3
For each case, subjects has to fast for 12 hours prior to blood sample collection. Three blood draws were collected at 0 hours, 1 hour, and two hours following ingestion of the given treatment.
Researchers again noted significant increases in subjects consuming the 100mg dose of NeuroFactor. Though this time the increase weren’t up as high as the first trial.
For this study, subjects on average experienced an increase of plasma BDNF by 91% at 60 minutes and 66% at 120 minutes compared to baseline. While it’s not as high as the first trial, it’s still a significant boost in powerful brain protein.
Again, coffee came up short as it did not have any significant impact on BDNF levels.
To get the BDNF-boosting benefits of NeuroFactor, you would need to consume 100mg per day. This is the dose proven to be effective in research trials to increase brain levels of BDNF.
Can I Just Drink Normal Coffee and Get the Same Benefits?
You can’t get the same benefits from coffee that you would get from NeuroFactor.
Research even compared the consumption of coffee to that of NeuroFactor and found that only NeuroFactor led to significant increases in brain-derived neurotrophic factor.
But, that doesn’t mean you have to swear off coffee entirely. You can still take your NeuroFactor alongside your morning cup of coffee to enjoy the brain-boosting benefits of both, as numerous studies have espoused the brain-boosting benefits of coffee.
The Bottom Line on NeuroFactor and BDNF
The world of nootropics is an ever-expanding one, and NeuroFactor™ is one of the newest ones to pique the interest of biohackers. It’s backed by two human studies showing it significantly increases levels of the important neuro-protein BDNF.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor is associated with cognitive health, memory, learning, and helping your brain adapt to new situations or come back from an injury.
NeuroFactor is non-stimulative and fits nicely into any nootropic stack.
- Mullen, W., Nemzer, B., Ou, B., Stalmach, A., Hunter, J., Clifford, M. N., & Combet, E. (2011). The Antioxidant and Chlorogenic Acid Profiles of Whole Coffee Fruits Are Influenced by the Extraction Procedures. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 59(8), 3754–3762. http://doi.org/10.1021/jf200122m
- Duangjai, A., Suphrom, N., Wungrath, J., Ontawong, A., Nuengchamnong, N., & Yosboonruang, A. (2016). Comparison of antioxidant, antimicrobial activities and chemical profiles of three coffee (Coffea arabica L.) pulp aqueous extracts. Integrative Medicine Research, 5(4), 324–331. http://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.imr.2016.09.001
- Reyes-Izquierdo, T., Nemzer, B., Shu, C., et al; “Modulatory effects of coffee fruit extract on plasma levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in healthy subjects”; British Journal of Nutrition; 2013;
- T. Reyes-Izquierdo, R. Argumedo, C. Shu, B. Nemzer and Z. Pietrzkowski, "Stimulatory Effect of Whole Coffee Fruit Concentrate Powder on Plasma Levels of Total and Exosomal Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor in Healthy Subjects: An Acute Within-Subject Clinical Study," Food and Nutrition Sciences, Vol. 4 No. 9, 2013, pp. 984-990. doi: 10.4236/fns.2013.49127.
- Bekinschtein P, Cammarota M, Katche C, et al. BDNF is essential to promote persistence of long-term memory storage. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2008;105(7):2711-2716. doi:10.1073/pnas.0711863105.
- NCBI Gene; “BDNF brain derived neurotrophic factor [ Homo sapiens (human)”;
- Calabrese F, Rossetti AC, Racagni G, Gass P, Riva MA, Molteni R. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor: a bridge between inflammation and neuroplasticity. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience. 2014;8:430. doi:10.3389/fncel.2014.00430.
- Lu, B., Nagappan, G., & Lu, Y. (2014). BDNF and synaptic plasticity, cognitive function, and dysfunction. Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology, 220, 223–250. http://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-45106-5_9
- Rossi, C., Angelucci, A., Costantin, L., Braschi, C., Mazzantini, M., Babbini, F., … Caleo, M. (2006). Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is required for the enhancement of hippocampal neurogenesis following environmental enrichment. The European Journal of Neuroscience, 24(7), 1850–1856. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-9568.2006.05059.x
- Xian-Yong Ma, Wei Qiao Qiu, Caren E. Smith, et al., “Association between BDNF rs6265 and Obesity in the Boston Puerto Rican Health Study,” Journal of Obesity, vol. 2012, Article ID 102942, 8 pages, 2012. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/102942.
- Pillai A, Bruno D, Sarreal AS, et al. Plasma BDNF Levels Vary in Relation to Body Weight in Females. Zhang XY, ed. PLoS ONE. 2012;7(7):e39358. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039358.
- Araki, S., Yamamoto, Y., Dobashi, K., Asayama, K., & Kusuhara, K. (2014). Decreased plasma levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and its relationship with obesity and birth weight in obese Japanese children. Obesity Research & Clinical Practice, 8(1), e63-9. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.orcp.2012.07.003
- Tsuchida, A., Nonomura, T., Ono-Kishino, M., Nakagawa, T., Taiji, M., & Noguchi, H. (2001). Acute effects of brain-derived neurotrophic factor on energy expenditure in obese diabetic mice. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders : Journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, 25(9), 1286–1293. http://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ijo.0801678
- Nakagawa, T., Tsuchida, A., Itakura, Y., Nonomura, T., Ono, M., Hirota, F., … Noguchi, H. (2000). Brain-derived neurotrophic factor regulates glucose metabolism by modulating energy balance in diabetic mice. Diabetes, 49(3), 436–444.
- Erickson KI, Voss MW, Prakash RS, et al. Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2011;108(7):3017-3022. doi:10.1073/pnas.1015950108.
- Griffin, E. W., Mullally, S., Foley, C., Warmington, S. A., O’Mara, S. M., & Kelly, A. M. (2011). Aerobic exercise improves hippocampal function and increases BDNF in the serum of young adult males. Physiology & Behavior, 104(5), 934–941. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2011.06.005
- Murakami, S., Imbe, H., Morikawa, Y., Kubo, C., & Senba, E. (2005). Chronic stress, as well as acute stress, reduces BDNF mRNA expression in the rat hippocampus but less robustly. Neuroscience Research, 53(2), 129–139. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.neures.2005.06.008
- Fumagalli, F., Bedogni, F., Perez, J., Racagni, G., & Riva, M. A. (2004). Corticostriatal brain-derived neurotrophic factor dysregulation in adult rats following prenatal stress. The European Journal of Neuroscience, 20(5), 1348–1354. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-9568.2004.03592.x
- Zielinski MR, Kim Y, Karpova SA, McCarley RW, Strecker RE, Gerashchenko D. Chronic Sleep Restriction Elevates Brain Interleukin-1 beta and Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha and Attenuates Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor Expression. Neuroscience letters. 2014;580:27-31. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2014.07.043.
- Molendijk ML, Haffmans JPM, Bus BAA, et al. Serum BDNF Concentrations Show Strong Seasonal Variation and Correlations with the Amount of Ambient Sunlight. Hashimoto K, ed. PLoS ONE. 2012;7(11):e48046. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048046.
- Giese, M., Unternährer, E., Brand, S., Calabrese, P., Holsboer-Trachsler, E., & Eckert, A. (2013). The Interplay of Stress and Sleep Impacts BDNF Level. PLOS ONE, 8(10), e76050. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0076050
- Halagappa, V. K. M., Guo, Z., Pearson, M., Matsuoka, Y., Cutler, R. G., LaFerla, F. M., & Mattson, M. P. (2007). Intermittent fasting and caloric restriction ameliorate age-related behavioral deficits in the triple-transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Neurobiology of Disease, 26(1), 212–220. http://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nbd.2006.12.019
- Mattson, M. P., Duan, W., & Guo, Z. (2003). Meal size and frequency affect neuronal plasticity and vulnerability to disease: cellular and molecular mechanisms. Journal of Neurochemistry, 84(3), 417–431.