Presented at FI Asia 2017 in Bangkok by Oryza Oil & Fat Chemical’s Masami Kawaziri, the herbaceous plant is also called black turmeric in Japan, and krachai dum in its country of origin, Thailand.
The plant’s extract has been used in Thailand for many years as a traditional medicine to boost energy and relieve gastrointestinal problems, and more recently, researchers in Asia have been looking into its benefits for seniors, diabetics and sportspersons.
Its polymethoxyflavones are said to enhance energy production, thereby improving glucose, fat and lipid metabolism. This can either prevent metabolic syndrome, or aid in treating diabetes.
The boost in energy production also helps to enhance athletic performance and recovery.
Kawaziri shared the results of a 2016 study on the effects of black ginger extract intake on physical strength, skin condition, post-exercise fatigue, and general fatigue.
Subjects who had been given the extract reported an increase in strength, and being less fatigued overall and after exercise.
Brains and brawn
Kawaziri said this was important for the elderly as well, since the extract is believed to minimise muscle loss. He added that the extract could play a part in “preventing poor blood circulation” and lowering blood pressure.
Furthermore, he said the extract could help to enhance and maintain cognitive function, delaying or perhaps even preventing diseases like Alzheimer’s.
What’s the use?
Already, the extract has been incorporated into finished products in Japan, Taiwan and of course, Thailand, such as fat burners, bottled drinks, dietary supplements, and even haircare and skincare products.
In light of growing consumer awareness and health consciousness amid an increase in sedentary lifestyles and an ageing population in Asia, black ginger extract’s reputation for “muscle activation without exercising” could present ample potential for the region’s supplement and functional food and beverage markets.