The two new products, launched under the Refine (リファイン) brand, were first made available in 274 Sugi Pharmacy chain stores on April 4.
This is not the first time that Kao has launched products related to healthy aging under the Refine brand – which he says was aimed at promoting a society where “longevity is nice”.
It previously launched a tablet that claimed to support lower limb movement in people aged 50 and over.
The product, which contained 38g of milk-derived sphingomyelin as an active ingredient per tablet, was first notified to the Consumer Affairs Agency (CAA) in September 2017 but was withdrawn from the market in June 2020, according to the information from the Plusaid CTF database.
The company has now relaunched the product which is made with the similar formula – but now in a different format and a different set of claims.
Relaunched in the form of a powder to drink with water, the new product claims more specific functions.
It is allowed to claim “Milk-derived sphingomyelin helps healthy middle-aged and elderly people transmit nerves to foot muscles when consumed in combination with exercise such as walking. [It also] support the sense of balance. Recommended for people aged 50 and over.”
Sphingomyelin is a type of sphingolipid – this lipid is found in abundance in cell membranes.
Its hydrolysis releases ceramides and phosphocholine.
A study by Kao found that supplementation with milk-derived sphingomyelin, along with habitual exercise, could improve physical performance, such as agility in middle-aged Japanese people.
The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot trial involved 42 subjects.
The intervention group took tablets containing milk fat globule membrane (MFGM) – which consisted of 3.81% sphingomyelin, while the placebo group took tablets containing whole milk powder for 10 weeks .
At the same time, they were engaged in a physical training program, which consisted of walking and cycling, twice a week.
The findings, which were published in Springer More, reported that the intervention group performed better when executing a sidestep – a movement that required lower limb agility and coordination.
“The beneficial effects of MFGM plus exercise therapy may be due to increased maintenance of the motor unit of fast-twitch muscle fibers,”the researchers said.
FFC Cognitive Health
On the other hand, this is the first time that Kao has launched an FFC for cognitive health.
Containing the company’s coffee bean-derived chlorogenic acids, used in its product to improve blood circulation and skin hydration and to reduce visceral fat and blood pressure, the new cognitive health FFC claims to improve the quality sleep and support executive function.
It is a granulated product contained in a sachet.
In a 16-week RCT, chlorogenic acid supplementation was found to improve motor speed, psychomotor speed, and executive function compared to the placebo group.
During the study period, the 38 participants ingested either a drink supplemented with 300 mg of chlorogenic acids or a placebo drink daily 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime.
“Results indicated that CGAs improve certain cognitive functions, including attention as well as motor speed, which may facilitate efficient performance of complex tasks.
“Blood concentrations of TTR and ApoA1 – proteins whose reduced levels are markers of early-stage cognitive decline – increased after CGA treatment, which may reflect the improvement in cognitive functions observed in neuropsychological tests “,the researchers said in the study published in Nutrients.