We speak to a nutrition and mental health expert about the ‘brain care’ beverage’s euphoric ‘feel good’ claims
Between the never-ending COVID strains, horrific political events of the past year, and an entire summer of February weather, it’s safe to say our mental health is suffering. Appropriately, last week Bella Hadid announced the launch of her new ‘brain care’ beverage company: Kin Euphorics.
According to the supermodel, this is “THE drink to make you feel good”. “I have suffered from extreme depression and anxiety for most of my teenage and adult life. Since I was 14, I had tried everything to help myself feel better,” said Hadid in the Instagram post where she announced the company, alongside images of her drinking the beverages while riding a horse and posing in a field.
“With a life that is constantly pushing a social regime, along with working 13 hour days, every single day, I knew this wasn’t a sustainable life for me,” she continued. “So I searched and scoured for anything holistic that would help with my chronic exhaustion, depression, and anxiety.”
However, while Kin Euphorics seems like the mental health cure-all we’ve been waiting for, 2021’s wellness culture movement which has been imbued with mistruths and misconceptions (and which is often perpetuated by rich, skinny, white influencers and celebrities) adds skepticism to its claims. Could the ‘brain care’ drink really ease feelings of depression and anxiety? We spoke to Zara Wilkinson, a registered nutritionist with a specialisation in mental health from the London Clinic of Nutrition, to find out.
As stated on Kin Euphorics’ website, the drinks contain a number of holistic ingredients including lavender, vanillin, sea salt, passiflora, GABA, tyrosine, and rhodiola rosea. While Wilkinson explains that the some of the ingredients have been found to improve serotonin signaling to reduce anxiety, boost mood, provide electrolytes, reduce depression, increase dopamine production, and provide calming effects, she also notes that it is “difficult to ascertain whether Kin Euphorics can provide the health benefits they claim to as there have not been clinical studies on it”.
“The key ingredients (in Kin Euphorics’ drinks) are not at the therapeutic dosages needed to make a difference. With herbs it is also important to use high quality extracts and unfortunately, we do not know what specific extracts have been used in these drinks” - Zara Wilkinson
Further, she states that some of the ingredients must be taken in specific ways in order to do their jobs. For example, Rhodiola rosea – an adaptogen herb which may aid the body in responding to stress – must be taken consistently for three months to prove effective.
Wilkinson also explains: “The key ingredients (in Kin Euphorics’ drinks) are not at the therapeutic dosages needed to make a difference. With herbs it is also important to use high quality extracts and unfortunately, we do not know what specific extracts have been used in these drinks.” In other words: the drink will not be powerful enough to improve diagnosed health conditions.
Beyond Kin Euphorics, Wilkinson notes that there are other ways that the drinks’ claims can be achieved. “Firstly, our neurons need sufficient oxygen and nutrients to thrive,” she says. “Other factors such as good social support, physical activity, intellectual stimulation, and sufficient relaxation and sleep are also important.”
“Practising mindfulness and meditation could be a good alternative to Kin Euphorics as it has beneficial effects on mental health, and cognitive performance,” she continues. Further, she recommends exercise to de-stress because it creates brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which is vital for brain health and increases sensitivity to insulin, which is an effective way to improve blood sugar balance and regulate mood.
As for treating anxiety and depression, Wilkinson notes: “There can be many causes of anxiety and depression which could be complex and deep rooted so it is important that these are addressed with a qualified practitioner and the drinks are not used as an alternative to this.” She continues: “Working with a healthcare practitioner for more specific advice tailored to your individual needs would be the best way to approach mental health and wellbeing.”
Although, the ‘brain care’ drinks could provide a useful alternative to CBD – which works by interacting with non-cannabinoid receptors to influence brain functions such as serotonin neurotransmission and cell division and growth. With Kin Euphorics making users feel more relaxed, the drink mimics CBD’s calming and anti-anxiety effects. It will not, however, reduce pain. “Those with debilitating health conditions may use CBD to alter pain perception and I do not believe that Kin Euphoric drinks could have this effect,” says Wilkinson.
Otherwise the drink follows suit with non-alcoholic beverages’ explosion in popularity as mental health awareness and health consciousness grow. “If you are seeking an alcohol-free, healthier alternative to socialise with then Kin Euphorics is definitely worth trying,” says Wilkinson. “With its serene, yet vibrant and positive mission, I can see how these drinks could be effective in helping those transition to sobriety or simply reduce their alcohol intake.”
That being said, will we feel as good as Bella Hadid riding a horse around Beverly Hills with an icy Kin in hand? Probably not, unless we’re able to also partake in her other regular beauty and health treatments. Although, the beverages could serve as an attainable and relaxing act of self-care – which, in our opinion, we all deserve a bit more of these days.