Biokesum is a patent-pending aqueous extract of Persicaria minor (P.minor). P.minor is an aromatic plant and locally known as ‘Kesum’ or ‘Laksa’ leaves.
It is used in cooking for flavour and fragrance, as well as a traditional treatment for dandruff, diarrhoea and indigestion.
In this study also funded by Biotropics Malaysia, researchers found that Biokesum supplementation could enhance visual memory and reduce negative moods in the elderly, believed to come from the functional properties of quercetin-3-glucuronide and quercitrin.
The findings of the randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial was published in the BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies.
This present study is said to be the first conducted on older adults with MCI.
Evidence to date only reported two human studies on P.minor extract on cognitive function, mood, and quality of life.
A study by Udani JK (2013) found that three weeks supplementation of SuperUlam significantly improved reaction time and working memory in healthy adults (aged 35 to 65).
SuperUlam is a supplement produced by Biotropics Malaysia, containing a blend of natural ingredients such as turmeric, curry leaf, ulam raja, pegaga and P.minor extract.
In another study by Yahya HM (2017), six weeks supplementation of Biotropics P.minor extract supplement (previously known as LineMinus) also demonstrated a significant improvement in attention, memory, mood and quality of life among middle-aged women.
It was conducted in healthy but stressed working adults between ages 35 and 55.
In the latest study, 30 elderly people (60 to 75 years old) with MCI were randomised into the treatment (Biokesum, 250mg/capsule) and placebo group.
Each capsule of Biokesum contains quercetin-3-glucuronide (Q3G, not less than 0.45%), quercitrin (not less than 0.15%), and total phenolic content (not less than 100 mg GAE/g dE).
The participants were instructed to take the test or placebo capsules twice daily, in the morning and afternoon followed by a meal.
Cognitive function and mood were assessed at baseline, third and sixth month using neuropsychological tests and questionnaire.
In addition, researchers also collected blood lipid profile, fasting blood glucose levels are baseline and month six.
Memory and mood effects
Six months of Biokesum supplementation was found to significantly improve visual memory in older adults with MCI, but not in other cognitive domain such as attention, verbal memory, and processing speed.
“It has been suggested that Q3G has a potential beneficial effect on cognitive health due to its ability in increasing protein secretion of BDNF, promoting neural stem cells migration and neurogenesis, inhibiting endoplasmic reticulum stress which contributed to oxidative stress and attenuating tau protein phosphorylation,” researchers explained.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a protein which promotes the survival of nerve cells (neurons), playing a role in learning and memory.
In addition, researchers also observed most of the negative mood status particularly tension, anger and confusion were significantly reduced in the participants.
“Quercetin and Q3G have been suggested to have an anti-depression ability. These flavonoids were reported to have an impact on gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors producing sedation, anxiolytic, or anticonvulsive effects. Also, quercetin can inhibit monoamine oxidase (MAO), which involved in mood disorder, depression, and oxidative stress,” they wrote.
“We also postulate that the improvement in the BDNF level may have an indirect effect on the mood findings reported in the present study. Reduction in BDNF levels has been reported in persons with depression.”
Furthermore, six months supplementation of Biokesum also reduced triglyceride levels among participants. Increased lipid peroxidation is thought to be a consequence of oxidative stress and it is associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Limitations and upcoming plans
While the findings from this research can serve as a knowledge base for other herbal or natural extracts supplementation studies in the future, it was limited to its small sample size
Researchers said: “The results must be considered preliminary until such effects can be studied further in a larger sample size. Future studies would benefit from using a larger and more diverse sample size to confirm the neuroprotective and mood regulation effects of P.minor extract supplementation.”
Biotropics hope these findings and future research can validate Biokesum’s functions and eventually allow Biokesum to carry a cognitive health claim in the future.
Dr Annie George, Biotropics Malaysia’s head of science and research, said: “We plan to develop new supplement for brain health and are open to future studies on larger populations especially in the executive group.”
“Biokesum has also found to be efficacious in enhancing innate immunity (in vivo) and demonstrated anti-ageing properties whereby it was able to reduce wrinkling by 17% in 1 month in a topical application demonstrated in a clinical study.”
Besides Biokesum, Biotropics also manufacture other supplements containing Biokesum, such as Cinnamon Plus (contains cinnamon and 100mg Biokesum) and Hawtholine (contains hawthorn and 125mg Biokesum).
Dr George said these ingredients combined with the high antioxidant property of Biokesum help in quenching free radicals in the management of diabetes (Cinnamon Plus) and cardiovascular health (Hawtholine).
Source: BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies
“The effects of six months Persicaria minor extract supplement among older adults with mild cognitive impairment: a double-blinded, randomized, and placebo-controlled trial”
Authors: Huijin Lau, et al.