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Thai black ginger: natural anti-ageing agent?

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Polymethoxyflavones from Kaempferia parviflora (Thai black ginger) have been shown to rejuvenate chronological aging in human ex vivo skin.

The ageing process occurs as a result of progressive functional decline. This process is a driving factor in developing cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegenerative disorders. Increased cellular senescence and mitochondrial dysfunction have been found to promote the ageing process;1,2 however, preventing these phenomena is expected to retard it, extending the lifespan.3 Time, hormones, genetics, sunlight and pollution are all factors that are said to contribute to skin ageing. The skin, being the body’s largest organ, protects against substances, infection, and ultraviolet (UV) radiation, while also regulating body temperature and water loss.4 

According to a recent study published in the Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy journal (DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopha.2021.112461), polymethoxyflavones rejuvenate chronological ageing in human ex vivo skin. 

The researchers “aimed to assess the anti-aging effect of polymethoxyflavones from K. parviflora in primary human dermal fibroblasts and, for the first time, in an ex vivo human skin model, which closely mirrors the structure and physiology of the skin.” Kaempferia parviflora (K. parviflora) is a medicinal herb found in Thailand, Laos, and Malaysia. Polymethoxyflavones such as 5,7-dimethoxyflavone (DMF), 5,7,4′-trimethoxyflavone (TMF), and 3,5,7,3′,4′-pentamethoxyflavone (PMF) are the principle phytochemicals of K. Parviflora

Study findings 

The polymethoxyflavones compounds were found to inhibit cellular senescence, ROS release, and secretion of SASP factors in primary dermal fibroblasts. This was accomplished while protecting against free radical damage and mitochondrial dysfunction and inducing tropocollagen synthesis. These compounds also enhance the expression of lamin B1, collagen type I, fibrillin-1, and hyaluronic acid; restore epidermal thickness and epidermal-dermal stability; and suppress SASP in human ex vivo skin to reduce intrinsic ageing. Despite all polymethoxyflavones showing anti-ageing properties, TMF and PMF had a greater positive effect on elastin formation, hyaluronic acid synthesis, and SASP inhibition in human skin explants. 

The researchers concluded: “polymethoxyflavones isolated from K. parviflora rhizomes exert potent anti-aging activities in aged primary skin cells and ex vivo skin tissues.” They suggest “developing a standardized K. parviflora extract enriched in TMF and PMF, which can be used as [an] active ingredient for cosmeceutical and nutraceutical products.” 

 

1. Franceschi C, Garagnani P, Morsiani C, Conte M, Santoro A, Grignolio A, Monti D, Capri M, Salvioli S. The continuum of aging and age-related diseases: common mechanisms but different rates. Frontiers in medicine. 2018 Mar 12;5:61. 

2. López-Otín C, Blasco MA, Partridge L, Serrano M, Kroemer G. The hallmarks of aging. Cell. 2013 Jun 6;153(6):1194-217. 

3. Rebelo-Marques A, De Sousa Lages A, Andrade R, Ribeiro CF, Mota-Pinto A, Carrilho F, Espregueira-Mendes J. Aging hallmarks: the benefits of physical exercise. Frontiers in endocrinology. 2018 May 25;9:258. 

4. Wang AS, Dreesen O. Biomarkers of cellular senescence and skin aging. Frontiers in Genetics. 2018 Aug 23;9:247. 

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