Brightseed Discovers Powerful Health-Activating Compounds In Hemp Hull

Artificial Intelligence Identifies Two Plant Bioactives Found In Upcycled Hemp Seed Shells; Pre-Clinicals Suggest Compounds Support Liver and Metabolic Health 

SAN FRANCISCO (March 9, 2022): Brightseed, a 2022 SXSW Innovation Award finalist and creator of Forager® artificial intelligence (A.I.) that illuminates the connections between plants and human health, discovered two powerful health-benefiting compounds in a surprising and sustainable source: hemp hull, which is the outer shell of the hemp seed. In two preclinical studies published in Cell Death and Disease, a Nature peer-reviewed journal, the compounds N-trans-caffeoyltyramine (NCT) and N-trans-feruloyltyramine (NFT) showed a remarkable ability to clear fat from the livers of mice and in human cells. These plant bioactives, now in human clinical trials, could potentially inform how to approach weight gain during the development of obesity and the management of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) – a chronic condition that has no approved treatments and impacts billions of adults worldwide, up to 25% of the global population.

“Forager enables us to quickly traverse the molecular world of plants and find extraordinary prospects for new health solutions, often in places that are least expected,” said Sofia Elizondo, co-founder, and COO of Brightseed. “Hemp is one of the most sustainable and versatile crops on the planet, and hemp hearts are celebrated for their dense nutritional profile. The irony is that industry has been tossing the seed shells, or the outer wrapper of hemp hearts, without realizing they are a potential goldmine for human health. Armed with new insight, we can make better use of this sustainable resource.” 

This announcement builds on Forager’s earlier discovery of NFT and NCT in black pepper. Beyond well-known cannabinoids, the hemp plant, also known as Cannabis sativa, contains many bioactive phytochemicals with potential therapeutic applications for human health. Although a rich source of dietary fiber, hemp hull is largely discarded and has remained an unassuming part of the hemp plant. The first preclinical study on NCT and NFT published last year showed how these plant bioactives, found in black pepper and hemp, hull triggered a total body reset in mice fed a high-fat diet. When given certain doses of NCT and NFT, scientists observed other significant health benefits in mice, including reduced liver fat, regulated lipid levels, restored healthy organ function, as well as increased insulin levels in human cells, signaling a resetting and restoring of metabolism from poor to healthy. The second study, published in January 2022, showed the compounds reduced body weight gain and accumulation of liver fat together with a reduction in liver inflammation when mice were placed on a long-term, high-fat diet.  Moreover, NCT and NFT activated fat processing through a novel mechanism not previously reported in published literature.   

This advancement in plant science enabled through A.I. comes at a time when the global health community has been grappling with the staggering statistics on the connection between COVID complications and total metabolic health, calling on nations to address the silent pandemic of obesity and poor metabolism with urgency. In preclinicals, NCT and NFT have shown significant potential to translate into human health benefits, and the compounds are currently in human clinical trials. 

Forager found NFT and NCT in over 80 plant sources, and where we source plant bioactives is a crucial part of how we design the next iteration of proactive and preventative health,” said Jim Flatt, PhD., co-founder and CEO of Brightseed. “As we look to nature for a blueprint on how to evolve food-as-medicine and plant medicine, we also have to factor in the role of climate and its impact on plant biodiversity and crop health. In addition to creating the data that will inform the future of plant-based health, sustainable sourcing is a priority as Brightseed brings plant bioactive discovery to fruition for food and health industries.”

About Plant Bioactives

Plant bioactives are health-activating, small molecule compounds plants use to communicate with their environment. Plant bioactives show up as curcumin in turmeric, caffeine in tea, the active ingredient in aspirin, and even in some cancer drugs. Science has long known that plant bioactives are critical to human health, yet 99% remain unknown and uncharted, representing the “dark matter” of the plant kingdom. Brightseed’s A.I., Forager, is illuminating this dark compound space by discovering all of the plant bioactives in the natural world and mapping them to human health outcomes. 

About Brightseed

Brightseed, a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, enables a healthier future by illuminating and activating the biological connections between plants and people. Brightseed’s Forager® is the first and only artificial intelligence to map the world’s plant bioactives and understand which of them have the greatest impact on human health. Discoveries undergo a clinical evaluation, regulatory review, and commercial development to deliver powerful, yet natural solutions for health. To date, Forager has mapped 1.5 million plant compounds, more than 10x than what was previously known, and Brightseed is working with brands and organizations that impact the health of millions of people every day – from Danone to Ocean Spray to Pharmavite to The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Interested organizations can contact Brightseed by reaching out to   


Forward-Looking Statements

This release contains “forward-looking statements” that are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and include statements that are not historical facts regarding Brightseed’s product candidates and related clinical trials, the timing of completion of clinical trials, the timing and completion of regulatory reviews, outcomes of clinical trials of our product candidates, the potential uses and benefits of our product candidates, and our product development efforts. Investors are cautioned that all such forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, the risks that the FDA will not approve any of our products, risks related to our products, expected product benefits not being realized, clinical and regulatory expectations and plans not being realized, new regulatory developments and requirements, risks related to the FDA approval process including the receipt of regulatory approvals, the results and timing of clinical trials, patient acceptance of Brightseed’s products, the manufacturing and commercialization of Brightseed’s products, and other risks. Brightseed assumes no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements contained in this release, except as required by law.



Brightseed Contact:

Serene Buckley  

Head of Communications | 415-613-1580