Kolé Tonics are the first innovation of new beverage Company, Kolé Life Foods. Each Kolé Tonic is carefully crafted with scientifically-backed ingredients to provide an inspired functional benefit. Doctor Bankole Johnson, an award-winning neuroscientist and founder of the Company, formulated each Tonic with amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and herbal ingredients, added loads of great taste (but no calories) – making Kolé Tonics the future of function.
When asked why he developed Kolé, Professor Johnson states, “One fine day, I was sent to the grocery store by my wife to purchase some items. I happened to pass by the beverage counters, and was overwhelmed by the large number of products. As I started to review what was on offer, two ideas came into my mind. One, looking at the formulations of the so called “functional” drinks, most of the ingredients seemed to me like that they would be little better than a placebo. I believed that with my knowledge of brain science, I could certainly develop more “functional” products that would provide the consumer with a greater benefit and enjoyment. Second, it seemed that practically all the products on the shelf were there to just boost physical performance.
What about brain performance I wondered? Surely, many people must be interested in getting all they can from their brains just as much as they would from their body. And, there really are no products out there for that except for those that simply provide large amounts of caffeine that produces a temporary boost in energy followed by the inevitable crash some hours later. Others contained ingredients that would not even enter the brain let alone provide any functional effect. Given my two thoughts, the platform was, therefore, set for me to do work to bring to market truly functional brain drinks targeted at specific types of feelings”.
“In developing these products, I focused on making them not only effective but enjoyable drinks, and all of them contain no calories, and are filled with naturally occurring health promoting ingredients. By providing these drinks that are the “future of function” the consumer has, for the first time, the ability to harness the power of a range of products to help support the performance of several aspects of their brain and mind.”
My own journey into the world of dietary supplements that may help promote healthy functioning of certain functions of the brain is a strange and curious one. Some of you might have read that this story began when I was teased by my wife to produce a tonic that might have potential to promote healthy brain function. But the story actually starts even earlier. My own father was a specialist in nutrition, a rare specialist for a physician in those times, and as early as I can remember (perhaps at about the age of 4 years), was trying out my sister and I on various supplements, which he would make us as shakes, to help support our brains. All of this, more than five decades ago, long before anyone had awakened to the thought of creating functional drinks for the brain. Who knows whether his experiments worked on us (although I was able to play chess blindfolded with my father as a young child – a skill I have since lost). What truly mattered was that my father was willing to try…and therein lies the kernel of my story.
Perhaps, now is the right time for this idea to truly emerge, and possibly my wife’s teasing only unearthed a boyhood story, that formed a foundation. This idea has now germinated a deep passion and curiosity – to support healthy brain performance naturally. After decades of my becoming a brain scientist during which I spent much time worrying about diseases of the brain, now was the time to give serious thought to what kept the normal brain healthy. How so very curious a development after all of these years!
The best questions in science are not, typically, those that provide easy answers or, worse, are interrogatives that are seemingly so complex in their nature that few understand. On the contrary, what appears to be a simple question may stimulate many trains of thought or processes to seek an answer. The curiosity to pursue answers to these seemingly simple “brain teasers” drives most proper scientists who do not see these questions as trivial but a path towards some better understanding.
Certainly, I did not wake up one morning from a dream and thought about how I could produce beverages or become a beverage manufacturer. Also, I have no desire to create beverages that are simple sugared solutions that convey doubtful benefit to the end user. My curiosity is to see if that decades old question from my father could be answered – is it possible to create beverages using naturally occurring ingredients that promote certain functions of the brain? Perhaps, the even wider question might be – how can the functions of the healthy brain be support through a variety of different means such as foods and beverages?
Dream but awaken to become a master of your own brain –
not just of your body – and help it do what you most wish it to do!Dr. Bankole Johnson
My research into what are currently thought of as functional beverages was quite puzzling and at times confusing. It was hard for me to understand the basis of many formulations, and I puzzled, indeed wondered, or should I say worried if any of these beverages could support the functions of the brain they were purported to aid. Rapidly, I came to the realization that many formulations reminded me of the warning I often give to my trainees in brain science – the brain is not a gland (e.g., if it contains less of a chemical simply add more or if it has to much simply provide less) but is regulated by a multitude of mechanisms that keep many of its functions in fine balance!
In the healthy brain, it is, often, difficult to talk about true deficiencies or excesses as if they were absolutes. Indeed, the key to optimizing the brain would appear to be in the regulation of the balance and interaction between brain chemicals. There is a further complication. The brain is protected by a blood-brain barrier that controls the ingress of many nutrients. The brain, therefore, has specialized methods of taking in and utilizing what is presented to it. Indeed, several substances found in many purported functional beverages do not even enter the brain at all, and, therefore, can have no effect.
I will not bore you with stories of how complex developing these beverages have actually become, or the many challenges in formulation and production that had to be overcome. Also, it might be quite boring, at this stage, to describe how many naturally occurring nutrients that impact the brain in the concentrations needed are unpalatable and sour, and how, through many rounds of focused groups with taste testers, all these were integrated into what I think are delicious tasting and refreshing beverages. All those were themselves interesting paths of following the scientific curiosity of seemingly simple questions, which, in the end, were not a simple as they might have appeared.
From my mind to yours describes my quest to take what I know about the brain, and to use that skill to formulate beverages that may truly have some benefit and enjoyment…for you! That journey has now begun, and is gathering pace, and as more is known, that will be applied to our beverages.
In closing, I leave you with my own challenge. The next time you think of improving your own physical health through exercise, nutritional supplements, or both, think about how taking the right beverage, developed though painstaking scientific thought, may support your brain. In short, dream but awaken to become a master of your own brain – not just of your body – and help it do what you most wish it to do!
DisclaimerThese statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Professor Johnson’s role as founder and Chairman of Kole Life Foods has no affiliation with his role as a faculty member at the University of Maryland. The University of Maryland does not endorse Kole Tonics or other commercial products.