Healthy Ageing APAC Summit 2019

No strain no gain: Kirin seeks expansion for immunity and anti-ageing functional foods

By Guan Yu Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Range of iMUSE products
Range of iMUSE products

Related tags Ageing Kirin Functional food

Kirin is seeking to secure new markets for its functional food brand “iMUSE”, which contains the lactic acid bacteria Lactococcus Plasma, with work also underway to include another strain, Lactobacillus KW.

Speaking at our Healthy Ageing APAC Summit in Singapore, Dr Daisuke Fujiwara from the firm’s Business Creation Department, shared Kirin’s research in this novel area to develop immunity strengthening and anti-ageing products.

Fujiwara said: “Along with ageing, our body also comes with other problems like muscle loss, metabolic decline, skin deterioration, bone density reduction, eye problem, and infections​.

“Most of these problems in the human body are related to immunity. The best way to maintain health is to control the immunity.”

Kirin was the first in the world to discover Lactococcus Plasma could activate the “control tower” of immunity, and significantly enhance resistance to infection and ageing. They found conventional LAB could not achieve the same results​,”

The study was published in the journal PLoS One​ in 2012.

Infectious diseases

In a clinical trial, elementary school students in the town of Shizukuishi in Japan, were given yoghurt containing Lactococcus Plasma​. The rate of absence from flu from students in this town was significantly lower than that of other neighbouring towns. The study was published in the journal Health​ in 2017.

Seeing the results of Lactococcus Plasma​ activating the immune system positively, Kirin believes it has a shot at protecting against other infectious diseases like the dengue virus infection.

Published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine​ in 2019, mice which were orally administered Lactococcus Plasma​ were found to have lower concentrations of the dengue virus in their bodies, compared to the control group.

This could represent a huge opportunity for the potential use of Lactococcus Plasma to fight dengue fever. Globally, the number of patients infected with dengue is increasing and vaccines have yet to be developed,​” added Fujiwara.


Fujiwara said another potential use of Lactococcus Plasma​ is its anti-ageing effects. In a study conducted on mice, those orally administered with Lactococcus Plasma​ had better anti-ageing appearance.

In same aged mice, mice given Lactococcus Plasma did not lose as much fur as the control group. In the control group, the outer layer of the skin got thinner after two years, while the group with Lactococcus Plasma did not​,” he added.

Apart from appearance, Lactococcus Plasma can also affect mobility positivity. Lactococcus Plasma mice had better mobility, and also have a longer lifespan than mice without it.”

The study was published in the journal International Immunopharmacology​ in 2018.

No strain no gain

“Immunity is one of the strategic approaches to address global social health issues, such as ageing and infectious diseases.”

Fujiwara said Lactococcus Plasma​ is added to their products in the form of killed dry powder.

“Killed dry powder has the same activity as live bacteria form. The powder is heat resistant, with no taste and smell.”

Currently, their products consist of beverages, yoghurts, soft drinks, gummies and supplements. They are available at CVS, supermarkets, pharmacies, hospitals and vending machines.

The firm also hopes to launch the range in other markets, especially in South East Asia and the US.

It plans to release products with the Lactobacillus KW ​strain, which is said to offer eyecare benefits, in October this year.

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