Industry study finds joint health benefits of cucumber extract containing iminosugar

By Nikki Hancocks

- Last updated on GMT

Getty | Wavebreak media
Getty | Wavebreak media

Related tags Research Joint health

A recent clinical study found a cucumber extract containing iminosugar, marketed as Q-actin, improved joint function and mobility significantly better than a placebo.

The six month observational study of 91 adults with moderate joint health issues, conducted by scientists at the iminosugar research firm PhytoQuest Limited, concludes that just 20 mgs daily of the supplement significantly improved a range of joint health scores.

The research, published in Current Rheumatology Reviews, ​also states that the results were dose dependent, so a higher Q-Actin concentration of 100 mg reduced the OA-related parameters by a greater extent.

The authors therefore suggests there could be a personalised supplementation approach required with a specific dosage for an optimum activity for a given age.

Discussing the mechanism of action, the authors hypothesise it is due to the anti-inflammatory activity of idoBR1 - the iminosugar amino acid isolated from cucumber.

Q-actin and iminosugars

Q-actin, marketed by the iminosugars developer IminoTech Inc, is a cucumber (Cucumis sativus L​.) extract containing the iminosugar ido-BR1 standardized to > 1%. 

Iminosugars are analogues of sugars in which the oxygen​ is replaced by a nitrogen​ atom. This substitution prevents normal metabolism resulting in inhibition of glycosidases​ and glycosyltransferases​.

These compounds are attracting interest as therapeutic agents due to their ability to interact with human glycosidases, other proteins, and sugar receptors. 

InimoTech says Q-actin works by inhibiting Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha (TNF-α), a chemical messenger immune cells release to help orchestrate immune system responses to potential threats or damaged tissues.

previously published randomised, double-blinded clinical study​ involving 122 adults reported that 20 mgs of Q-actin daily significantly improved joint health in comparison with 2,700 mgs of glucosamine-chondroitin over a six-month period. Subjects were evaluated at 30-day intervals using WOMAC, VAS and LFI. Q-actin reduced WOMAC scores by 70% over six months.

Earlier studies​ showed Q-actin/ido-BR1 reduced LPS-induced pro-inflammatory cytokine tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) in both ex vivo​ human serum and THP-1 cells. TNFα can drive degenerative changes such as in joints when chronically elevated.  Research shows that idoBR1 works in a dose-dependent manner to reduce inflammatory markers, including LPS-induced production of TNFα, IL-6, nitric oxide and the transcription factor NF-κ​B.

Study Design and Results

The recent study enrolled 101 subjects with moderate osteoarthritis, 91 of which were evaluable. Subjects were divided into three groups taking a placebo or 20 mgs or 100 mgs of Q-actin daily for six months. Following a baseline evaluation, subjects were evaluated at 30-day intervals using the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC), the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and Lequesne's Functional Index (LFI).

Both Q-actin groups experienced significant reductions in pain and improvements in other joint function parameters at every point of the study by every evaluation method.  For example, subjects taking 20 mgs daily of Q-actin experienced a 32% improvement in WOMAC scores over six months, compared with a 5% improvement for the placebo group. The Q-actin health benefits were dose dependent. The WOMAC score of the 100 milligram-group increased 39% over the duration of the study.

Shil Kothari, IminoTech Chief Executive Officer states: “It is remarkable that a daily serving of only 20 mgs of Q-actin produced significant improvements in joint function, including the ability to complete daily activities such as using stairs, shopping and working at home.

“Q-actin’s daily serving size is a small fraction of leading joint health dietary supplement ingredients. It opens the door to many new joint health product formats and applications.”


Source: Current Rheumatology Reviews

DOI: 10.2174/1573397119666230206105703

Standardised ido-BR1 Cucumber Extract Improved Parameters Linked to Moderate Osteoarthritis in a Placebo-controlled Study​.

Nash. R. J., et al

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