Why are we conducting this research study?

There has been increasing interest in natural dietary supplements that may support healthy brain function. Many of these materials have little or no scientific evidence to support their claims. Recent studies have demonstrated promising evidence that people exhibit improved reaction times and accuracy following dietary supplementation with whole coffee cherry extract (WCCE). Until now, however, these studies have been performed on small samples of people. In this study, we hope to greatly expand the size of the study population – but we need your help!

What is whole coffee cherry extract (WCCE)?

When we think of coffee, most of us think of that familiar dark brown bean that we grind up to brew our morning cup of coffee. Actually, though, coffee begins as a fruit, a bright red “cherry”, that grows on small trees in tropical climates around the world. For centuries, traditional coffee production process stripped the red coffee skin and pulp (the “fruit”) in order to harvest the seed (commonly called a “bean”). Until recently, coffee fruit was discarded as a waste product. No one knew that many of the nutritional aspects of the coffee plant were being thrown away.

The material being tested in our study is an eco-friendly, sustainable food-grade dietary supplement that has been extracted from the whole coffee cherry (seed included). During harvest, the coffee cherries are carefully handpicked at family-owned farms and are subsequently extracted and dried. The whole coffee cherry extract has been rigorously tested and standardized and has been determined to be Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS). WCCE is delivered in a powdered format that has been put into capsules.

Early discovery research reported that whole coffee cherry extract significantly increased levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that science has shown to be essential for the health of our brain and extended nervous system. Later studies indicated that, during psychological testing that involved memory and decision-making, this extract may improve aspects of mental performance (such as reaction time and accuracy).

The mission of our current study is to test WCCE, against a placebo, on a large number of people in order to further investigate and substantiate its potential as a support for mental performance. If you participate in this study, you may get the WCCE, or you may get placebo.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible to participate, you must be between 40 and 65 years of age, with no diagnosed psychiatric or neurological conditions. You cannot be on medications that are known to alter brain function. To determine eligibility, we will ask about your medications. You must also have a smartphone, have reliable internet access, and have a computer (laptop or desktop) or an iPad. If you are interested in seeing whether you are eligible for the study, please take our quick survey here. If you are eligible, a member of the study team will be in contact with you within 72 hours.

What would be expected of me if I participate?

In short, if you agree to participate in the study, you will be asked to take either WCCE or a placebo every day, for 28 days. You will also be asked to visit a website to take cognitive assessments when you start the study, and every 7 days until the end of the study. All study materials will be mailed to you. Even though the study is being conducted through Auburn University, you will not need to come to Auburn University to participate in the study.

<strong>Principal Investigator</strong>
Principal Investigator

Dr. Jennifer Robinson earned her Ph.D. in Psychology from Case Western Reserve University. She is currently a Professor at Auburn University in the Department of Psychological Sciences where she is also the director of the Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences Ph.D. program. Dr. Robinson also runs the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory.