Spearmint may boost sleeping ability, short-term memory among older adults, new study suggests

By Adi Menayang contact

- Last updated on GMT

iStock / Sunlike
iStock / Sunlike
A study backed by ingredient manufacturer Kemin found that participants who took 900mg a day of spearmint extract experienced improved working memory and self-reported ability to get to sleep.

The objective was to measure the effects of a dried aqueous spearmint extract on cognitive performance, sleep, and mood in healthy older subjects with age-associated memory impairment.

“These results suggest that the distinct spearmint extract may be a beneficial nutritional intervention for cognitive health in older subjects with age-associated memory impairment,” ​the researchers wrote in the report​, published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine​.

Ingredient manufacturer Kemin, which funded the study, makes and distributes the studied spearmint extract under the brand name Neumentix.

A spokesperson for the company told NutraIngredients-USA that there are cognitive health-positioned products containing Neumentix in the US, and there are products with the ingredient due to launch in Taiwan, Japan, China, and some European countries this year, although more specifics were not shared.

Study design

In the present double-blind, placebo-controlled study, researchers recruited 90 generally healthy men and women using an established database of volunteers kept by Biofortis Clinical Research, an Illinois-based contract research organization. The clinical trial was conducted at Biofortis’ Addison, IL, lab.

Selected participants were in the age range of 50-70 years, willing to maintain their habitual diet and exercise routines, and willing to maintain consistent sleep duration the evening before study visits.

Participants completed cognitive, mood, and sleep assessments, all of which were in the form of questionnaires.

The 90 participants were randomly divided into three groups with 30 members each: A placebo group, a 600 mg spearmint extract group, and a 900 mg spearmint extract group. They were instructed to consume two capsules with breakfast for 90 days.

Results

Participants who took 900 mg of spearmint showed a 15% improvement in quality of working memory performance compared to placebo, a parameter which the Kemin spokesperson described as “short term memory, it works like a mental ‘Post-it’ note of your brain.”

The company said that the clinical outcomes are significant because “they are chronic improvements in the working memory area and not just a quick fix.”

Kemin continues to invest in building the science backing Neumentix’s cognitive benefits. Studies on the ingredient include a 2016 mouse-model study​ published in Physiology & Behavior​, which found that spearmint and rosemary extracts improved age-related oxidation markers in brain tissue of mice.

The current study’s limitations include potential confounding factors such as the participants’ diet and lifestyle, but the results are nonetheless exciting, Kelli Herlinger, director of clinical research at Kemin who led this clinical trial told NutraIngredients-USA.

“The positive clinical findings should give our customers confidence in utilizing Neumentix in formulations which support cognitive performance.”

Source: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary medicine

“Spearmint extract improves working memory in men and women with age-associated memory impairment”

Authors Kelli L, Herrlinger A, et al.

Related topics: Research, Cognitive function, Botanicals

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