“Plant-based botox?”: Maple leaf extract holds wrinkle-preventing properties, study finds

636706937853561325woman skin.jpg

24 Aug 2018 --- Compounds in maple leaf extracts hold wrinkle-preventing properties, researchers at the University of Rhode Island have found. The research team have released a formulation, based on the extracts, named Maplifa, ideal for cosmetic applications or dietary supplements.

Proteins such as elastin maintain skin elasticity and wrinkles form when the enzyme elastase breaks down elastin in the skin as part of the aging process. “We wanted to see whether leaf extracts from red maple trees could block the activity of elastase,” says Hang Ma, Ph.D., who is presenting the work at the 256th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). 

The scientists had previously studied the chemistry and health benefits of sap and syrup obtained from sugar maple and red maple trees. Historical records suggested that other parts of the trees could also be useful, according to Navindra P. Seeram, Ph.D., the project's principal investigator. “Native Americans used leaves from red maple trees in their traditional system of medicine,” he says, “so why should we ignore the leaves?”

Seeram tells NutritionInsight that the wrinkle-prevention results surprised the researchers: “We had already published on the anti-inflammatory and skin lightening effects of the compound, so this [wrinkles prevention] was an additional surprise. We found that the compounds had pleiotropic effects for potential cosmetic applications.”

The researchers zeroed in on phenolic compounds in the leaves known as glucitol-core-containing gallotannins (GCGs) and examined each compound's ability to inhibit elastase activity in a test tube. The scientists also conducted computational studies to explore how the GCGs interact with elastase to block its activity, and how the molecules' structures affect that blocking ability.

Click to Enlarge
Extracts from summer or fall red maple leaves
are formulated into a powder that could
be incorporated in skincare products to prevent wrinkles
Credit: Hang Ma.

They found that GCGs containing multiple galloyl groups (a type of phenolic group) were more effective than those with a single galloyl group. But these compounds can do more than interfere with elastase. In prior work, Seeram's group showed that these same GCGs might be able to protect skin from inflammation and lighten dark spots, such as unwanted freckles or age spots.

Potential future applications: Plant-based botox?
Seeram and Ma plan to do further testing. “You could imagine that these extracts might tighten up human skin like a plant-based Botox, though they would be a topical application, not an injected toxin,” Seeram says, “And the fact that the extracts are derived from trees would be appreciated by consumers who are looking for natural, plant-based ingredients in their skincare products.”

The researchers have taken steps to get the extracts into products, having developed a proprietary patent-pending formulation containing GCGs from summer and fall maple leaves and maple sap, which they named Maplifa. They have licensed it to botanical extracts supplier Verdure Sciences based in Indiana and are hoping to eventually find a market for the formulation in the cosmetics sector or even in dietary supplements.

If these products come to fruition, the team's findings could benefit the local economy, the researchers add. “Many botanical ingredients traditionally come from China, India and the Mediterranean, but the sugar maple and the red maple only grow in eastern North America,” Seeram says. Farmers in the region, who currently only harvest sap from the maple trees, could tap the leaves as a value-added product for an additional source of income. Even better, the process would be sustainable because leaves could be collected during normal pruning or when they fall from the trees in autumn.

“Our research adds to the growing body of data supporting the diverse applications of maple ingredients including as a food (maple sap, syrup, and sugar) as well as in the functional food, nutraceutical and cosmetic industries,” Seeram tells NutritionInsight

Indeed, maple water is increasingly featuring in plant-based water NPD. Despite coconut water clearly leading the plant-based hydration category, 2017 saw 28 percent of the category launches from new plant-based waters, with maple water among the beverages within this category expansion, albeit from a small base.

By Laxmi Haigh

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

Related Articles

Health & Nutrition News

Gut appeal: Healthy microbiome thanks to food processing waste

15 Feb 2019 --- New research from Maastricht University (UM) has uncovered a novel use for waste from the food processing industry: boosting the microbiome. Using the TNO in vitro model of the colon (TIM-2), research by Carlota Bussolo de Souza has shown that fermenting fiber from fruit and vegetable peel can help improve the gut flora of people with obesity.

Health & Nutrition News

“Ready for the keto comeback”: Abitec Corporation pegs keto-friendly ingredient range

15 Feb 2019 --- Nutritional and functional lipids manufacturer Abitec Corporation is “close to launching” an MCT powder on a fiber carrier that will be keto friendly and dairy free. This comes as there is huge market potential for its portfolio of keto-friendly ingredients, as the diet’s popularity continues to spike.

Health & Nutrition News

Indena’s Centella Asiatica extract touted as beneficial for heart and skin health

14 Feb 2019 --- Botanical ingredients company Indena’s Centella asiatica extract holds potential in a wide range of medicinal applications in diabetic neuropathy, cardiovascular diseases and skin health. This is according to a new monograph by several researchers, commissioned by the company and coined “Centella asiatica: entering a new era” which takes note of the pre-clinical and clinical studies that confirm the plant’s properties for broader applications.  

Health & Nutrition News

Long-term school meals improve children’s learning abilities, Berlin study finds

14 Feb 2019 --- Children who ate lunch for a period of three to five years scored 18 percent higher in reading test scores and 9 percent higher in math test scores than those with less than a year of school lunches. This is according to a European School of Management and Technology (ESMT) Berlin study. The findings enforce the significance of long-term nutrition for school children, with the researchers noting that the effects of nutrition on cognition are cumulative. The researchers highlight the importance of free school meals and call for governments to take notice.

Health & Nutrition News

Gut bacteria and depression: “Compelling” further support to the “gut brain axis” notion

14 Feb 2019 --- Researchers have established a correlation between depression and a group of neurotransmitter-producing bacteria found in the human gut, further expanding clinical evidence of the gut-brain axis. Interestingly, an inverse relationship between specific gut bacteria and brain activity in areas connected to depression were identified in the animal study. Published in Nature Microbiology, the findings could lead to the development of bacterial therapeutics for depression, including a growing role for probiotics, but significant work is first required, the researchers note.

More Articles
URL : http://www.nutritioninsight.com:80/news/plant-based-botox-maple-leaf-extract-holds-wrinkle-preventing-properties-study-finds.html