Lab-based research has found that the Arenga pinnata fruit contains a molecule with significant anti-aging potential.
The rising interest in natural beauty products is constantly fueling a demand for cosmeceuticals – natural cosmetics with a pharmaceutical component. A key area of interest is anti-aging skincare since visual signs of aging inevitably affect the entire population at some point. Arenga pinnata, also known as sugar palm, is a fruit predominantly found in South-east Asia. The fruit is rich in galactomannan, a polysaccharide sugar that is believed to have anti-aging properties. In order to test these claims, a new study published in Pharmacognosy Research evaluated the ability of galactomannan to inhibit tyrosinase at the cellular and enzyme level in addition to the antioxidant and anti-photoaging activities of the fruit.
Tyrosinase is involved in melanin synthesis, melanin being the skins natural pigment. Since melanin is also responsible for dark spots, the tyrosinase inhibiting ability of galactomannan is of particular interest with regards to anti-aging potential. Secondly, it’s antioxidant activity is important as it counteracts the effects of free radicals which disrupt cells, proteins and DNA. This damage can be seen in the form of wrinkles and damaged skin. Lastly, anti-photoaging properties are crucial as exposure to sun is a leading cause of premature skin aging. The damage is caused by production of genes, MMP-1 and MMP-13, which produce enzymes known as collagenases. These enzymes break up the skin’s collagen network, again leading to damage and aging.
Results from the study found that at a cellular level, tyrosinase was inhibited by more than 50% upon treatment with galactomannan. However, inhibition was significantly lower at an enzymatic level, approximately 20%. With regards to antioxidant activity, galactomannan showed more than 50% efficacy in blocking the action of harmful free radicals. Finally, more than 50% of MMP-1 and MMP-13 gene expression was inhibited, preventing the associated production of collagenases. These findings serve as substantial evidence of the anti-ageing properties of galactomannan from the A. pinnata fruit. Further studies are necessary to confirm whether these results are applicable in a clinical setting.
Written By: Saran Amin, MPharm