Bitter Breakthrough - The Science Behind Calocurb

Bitter Breakthrough - The Science Behind Calocurb

Like a lot of great ideas, Calocurb was created out of necessity.

In the USA alone, more than two thirds of people are overweight or obese, resulting in a whole bunch of associated health and social problems. It’s been clear for a long time that we’re facing a public health crisis as a result of sedentary living and high-fat, high sugar diets.

Behind those scary numbers are millions of personal stories about the struggle against excess weight. Parents that want to be better role-models for their children, people who feel powerless in the face of overeating, health scares that threaten livelihoods.

And so, 6 years ago, a group of New Zealand scientists decided to do something about it.

A team at Plant & Food Research (New Zealand’s largest research institute) was inspired by new scientific research suggesting that a solution might lie in the hidden power of bitter plants. The search would take years of lab work, screening more than 900 bitter plants to find one with the potential to change the way we eat.

And then, in 2014, Eureka! 

A little-known, New Zealand hops flower extract was found to contain a certain type of bitter compound capable of activating a feeling of fullness and progressed through to clinical testing.

The results were game-changing.

This hops flower extract was proven to reduce calorie intake across meals and snacks by 20% and the Amarasate™ extract, the first bitter compound weight management supplement in the world and now the active ingredient in Calocurb, was born.

But how does Calocurb actually work?

When we talk about the science of calocurb, we often tell a story about old science meeting new.

Old Science – a Evolutionary Mechanism Millennia in the Making

Calocurb works by activating what Plant & Food Research scientists call ‘the bitter brake’. ‘The bitter brake’ occurs when bitter compounds (in this case, a hops flower extract) interact with specific receptors in the gut to send a ‘stop-eating signal’ to the brain. 

It all starts special enteroendocrine cells. It’s their job to sense the chemical make-up of food and tell the body how to react. Some of these enteroendocrine cells are primed to respond to bitterness and there’s a bunch of them just after the stomach in the small intestine.

When activated by a bitter compound, these cells release a satiety hormone which in turn activates a feeling of fullness and slows gastric motility (the movement of nerves and muscles in the digestive system). The research team coined this stop-eating signal ‘the bitter brake’ as a result – catchy isn’t it?

It’s thought that this response to bitterness is an evolutionary mechanism designed to help early humans steer clear of dangerous food, which were usually bitter. Think of this response as a kind of 2nd line of defence against potentially dangerous food – the first line of defence being taste and the natural reaction to spit out that bitter berry or plant.

Another way to think of Calocurb is that it mimics the effects of a potentially dangerous, bitter food – without all the danger. It’s the body’s natural physiological response, this feeling of fullness, that makes Calocurb a great tool for cutting calorie intake at meal or snack time.  

calocurb and the bitter brake in action

Calocurb and the bitter brake in action

 New Science – Cutting Edge Capsule Technology

‘The bitter brake’ works best when bitter compounds (in our case the specific hops flower extract) are delivered to the part of the gut with the most enteroendocrine cells – just past the stomach in the small intestine, a spot called the duodenum. Getting the extract there however, can be a bit tricky.

Normal pharmaceutical capsules are designed to break down in the stomach, but not Calocurb’s. Our delayed-release capsule is specifically designed to release at just the right spot to activate the stop-eating signal and trigger a feeling of fullness within one hour.

It’s this combination of cutting-edge capsule technology and ‘the bitter brake’ breakthrough that make Calocurb an effective, world-first and all-natural weight management supplement.

Learn more

If you would like to learn more about the science behind calocurb, our partner’s at Plant & Food Research have also produced a video that demonstrates ‘the bitter brake’ in action.

You can also read press overviews from The Daily Mail or New Zealand Herald.

If you’re interested in a little more science on the relationship between hunger and dieting, have a look at Calories & Caveman, our blog about dieting in a high fat, high sugar world.

Happy curbing!


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