KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, March 14, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — A Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) lecturer, Dr You Yee Xing has discovered the use of ‘Cosmos Caudatus’, which has been proven to be effective in preventing memory loss and increasing cognitive function among the elderly.
‘Cosmos Caudatus’ known locally as Ulam Raja or King’s Salad, is a plant originating from Latin America and later grown in Southeast Asia particularly in the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Dr You, who is from the Faculty of Health Sciences UKM said that Ulam Raja had been found to be promising due to the potential value of its polyphenol and antioxidant content.
He developed Ulam Raja supplements which works by lowering lipid peroxidation, increasing serum glutathione levels, and activating the brain to prevent cognitive decline.
Dr You then carried out a study involving 48 adults aged between 60 and 75 with mild cognitive impairment who consumed the supplement for a period of 12 weeks.
“Twenty-four of them were given the Ulam Raja supplement to consume, while the remaining 24 were given placebos.
“To maintain transparency throughout the clinical trial, the distribution of the supplement had not been disclosed to me and the participants.
“The participants’ fasting serum lipids, blood sugar, kidney, and liver functions were tested at the baseline and post-intervention to determine whether or not the supplement is safe to consume,” he said.
He mentioned that his study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to test the participants’ cognitive function before and after they took the supplement.
Upon the clinical trial ended, he revealed that those who took the supplements had significant increase in brain activation when compared to those who consumed placebos.
According to him, the supplement also improves global cognitive function, working memory, reduces stress and mood disturbances among the elderly.
“It has been proven that Ulam Raja, which is high in antioxidants and other nutrients, can help prevent cognitive decline in older people,” he claimed.
Dr You added that consuming Ulam Raja was not a common practise for him, adding that he was initially hesitant to take up the study when it was first suggested to him.
“After my own research and a lot of readings, I realised that Ulam Raja has a lot of potential.
“At the onset of the study, I planned to incorporate Ulam Raja in everyday food products like biscuits or beverages, but this plant is very unique and sensitive.
“I have attempted to retain its nutrients, but it proved difficult as it loses its active compounds when exposed to high temperatures,” he added.
The most challenging aspect of his research was dealing with human subjects, he said.
“It’s critical for me to follow ethical principles and ensure that the research was carried out in the most responsible and ethical manner possible.
“The research was registered under the International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial and conducted in accordance with Good Clinical Practice Guidelines and the ethical principles of the Declaration of Helsinki 1964,” he explained.
Dr You was awarded the Doctoral Gold Award from the university for his thesis titled “Cosmos Caudatus supplementation as an ulam consumption modelling to improve cognitive function among older adults’ mild cognitive impairment” during UKM’s 49th convocation ceremony.
He has published 23 papers in reputable journals, including journal articles, conference papers and book chapters related to the field of study, throughout his academic career.