Whole Coffee Cherry Study

  • days left to enroll
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Auburn University
Updated on 6 October 2021
Accepts healthy volunteers


There has been increasing interest in natural dietary supplements that may support healthy cognition. Recent studies have demonstrated promising effects of bioactive phytochemicals (e.g., polyphenols) on cardiovascular and endocrine health outcomes. As such, an increasingly intriguing line of inquiry is whether materials high in these compounds may also have effects on psychological measures. Preliminary evidence suggests that polyphenols may improve cognition, for example, particularly in aging populations. Whole coffee cherry extract (WCCE; otherwise known as the generally-recognized-as-safe (GRAS) supplement Neurofactor(TM)), is a proprietary, safe, powdered extract of whole coffee cherries from coffea arabica with high levels of polyphenols and substantially low (<2%; <4mg) levels of caffeine. WCCE has been previously associated with increased serum concentrations of both circulating and exosomal brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), in addition to increased alertness and decreased fatigue. However, few well-powered and well-designed studies have been conducted despite the mounting preliminary evidence. Here, the investigators propose a study to examine the long-term effects of a 200mg dose of WCCE on measures of cognition.


The investigators will conduct a virtual study whereby participants will be given either 200mg WCCE or placebo to take every day for 28 days. Every 7 days, participants will take a cognitive assessment via the internet using a platform called Millisecond (https://www.millisecond.com/). The cognitive assessment will be composed of tasks that broadly test working memory, focus, and attention. Compliance checks will be administered daily via the participant's smartphone. This study will be conducted in a double-blind fashion, such that the experimental team and the participants are unaware of group assignment (200mg vs. placebo). Blinding information will be held by the study sponsor, VDF FutureCeuticals, Inc. Group assignment will be determined by random number generator, with restrictions to ensure equal group sizes, and equal distribution of males/females in each group. Participants, between 40-65 years of age, with no known psychiatric or neurological conditions, will be recruited from the general community via online advertisements, social media posts, community flyers, and newspaper ads (if needed). Participants will be excluded if they are taking medications known to alter cognitive functioning (psychotropic medications such as fluoxetine, benzodiazepines, etc. or other medications such as insulin). The primary variables of interest will be the behavioral performance on the cognitive tasks over time, inclusive of reaction time and accuracy. Compensation will be commensurate with study participation, with a maximum payout of $125.

Condition Effect of Drug
Treatment Placebo, Whole coffee cherry extract
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04986956
SponsorAuburn University
Last Modified on6 October 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Between 40-65 years of age
No diagnosed psychiatric or neurological condition
Reliable internet service
Moderate computer literacy
Individuals must have a smartphone
Individuals must have a laptop, desktop, or iPad

Exclusion Criteria

Individuals taking medications known to alter cognitive functioning (e.g., psychotropic medications such as fluoxetine, benzodiazepines, etc.)
Individuals taking medications that alter metabolic function, such as insulin or metformin
Shift workers
Health conditions that would prevent an individual from successfully completing the study (I.e., motor control conditions such as Parkinson's, or psychiatric conditions such as ADHD)
Individuals with metabolic conditions
Have had or currently have cancer
Have taken CBD or multivitamins in the last 2 weeks
Individuals with unreliable or no internet access/service
Individuals who are unable to use a smartphone or are lacking the computer literacy necessary to complete the study remotely
Individuals without a laptop, desktop or iPad that would prevent them from completing the study
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Additional screening procedures may be conducted by the study team before you can be confirmed eligible to participate.

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If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

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Complete your scheduled study participation activities and then you are done. You may receive summary of study results if provided by the sponsor.

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