Malaysia firm develops laksa leaf as chewables and capsule supplements for supporting brain health

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Biotropics notices that functional foods for supporting brain performance are increasingly popular among the younger generation. © Getty Images
Biotropics notices that functional foods for supporting brain performance are increasingly popular among the younger generation. © Getty Images

Related tags Biotropics Malaysia chewables

Malaysia company Biotropics has developed chewables and capsules using Kesum, also known as Polygonum minus / Persicaria minor, a leaf commonly consumed as salad or used in the cooking of laksa across South East Asia.

The company notices that functional foods for supporting brain performance is increasingly popular among the younger generation.

“For brain health supplements, the target audience is mainly the younger adults or even children. The younger generation is into boosting what they already have, and so you can see a lot of the nootropic products being targeted at the young people,” ​Azreena Abas, marketing and technical specialist, Performance Ingredients, Biotropics, told NutraIngredients-Asia.

The company showcased its Polygonum minus ​leaf extract marketed as BioKesum and LineMinus at the Vitafoods Asia show held in Bangkok during September, where it also highlighted clinical findings related to the extract.

It has so far formulated BioKesum into capsule supplements for adults and chewables for children. The BioKesum extract is standardised to total polyphenol levels and quercetin-3-glucuronide, which is an active format of quercetin. It has also developed nootropic drinks as a product concept. 

biotropics nu-kids chewables
Biotropics' nu-kids Chewables

“Nootropics shots are becoming more popular because the crowd consuming brain health supplements is getting younger and young people do not really want to take pills or capsules.

“Most of the enquiries that we have received is to use BioKesum in products designed for the executives or working adults – people who are multi-tasking,” ​she said, adding that BioKesum has been shown to improve executive functioning which is linked to multitasking behaviour.

A six-week randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 35 middle-aged adults showed that the supplementation of BioKesum at 500mg per day had significantly improved cognitive flexibility, processing speed, and executive function by the end of the study.

Findings were published in Sains Malaysiana.

Other examples of branded finished products containing BioKesum is ReszGuard, a capsule supplement designed for sleep and stress support. It was launched in Malaysia earlier this year.

Azreena said that the bulk of orders for BioKesum came from the US, where the ingredient was exclusively distributed by Herbal Power Ingredients (HP Ingredients). 

The bulk of Biotropics business (80 per cent) is in the sale of functional ingredients, with the remaining in the sale of its finished products. 

Effects on MCI

Another randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study also showed that supplementation of BioKesum could benefit older adults suffering from mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Biotropics Kesum extract 250mg
Biotropics Kesum extract 250mg

Involving 36 participants, it was shown that participants taking BioKesum at 250mg twice daily for six months had significantly higher brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) concentration as compared to the placebo group.

Triglyceride concentration was also significantly reduced in the intervention group by the end of the study.

The researchers concluded that BioKesum supplementation for six months has significantly improved visuospatial memory and tension in older adults with MCI.

Findings of the study were published in BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies.

Upcoming research

Biotropics will be researching on whether BioKesum could benefit attention and focus, as well as identifying a more optimised dosage.

“We want to strengthen our brain health claims and we are looking into attention, focus, and also a more optimised dose. Our past studies have looked at BioKesum’s use at 500mg a day.

“We probably will have other areas that we are looking at, such as its anti-inflammatory actions,” ​said Azreena.

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