The ingredient, which is Ecocert natural certified, is extracted from new shoots of the plant which have higher levels of nutrients, including vitamins and antioxidants, than the mature plant.
These nutrients help stimulate ATP production (the cell’s energy molecule) as well as helping to inhibit a number matrix metalloproteinases (enzymes that break down the extra cellular matrix proteins such as elastin and collagen), the company claims.
A CoQ10 equivalent
Some of the ingredient’s characteristics liken it to coenzyme Q10, explained head of research for the company Daniel Schmid.
The Q10 is part of the electron transfer chain in the mitochondria of the cells, the power station where cellular energy is produced, Schmid said.
“Q10 as an antioxidant helps to protect this machinery and guarantees energy production,” he said.
“With a reconstructed epidermis model [in vitro test], we could demonstrate that the Sunflower Shoot Active inhibits the ageing-associated decline in energy production,” he added.
While the company does not know the exact mechanism behind the inhibition of a decline in energy production, Schmid suggests that the extract could help repair the DNA.
Mibelle Biochemistry also investigated the sunflower shoot extract’s effect on the expression of genes in both dermal fibroblasts and keratinocytes.
The expression of genes related to cell growth and extracellular matrix maintenance was analyzed using normal human dermal fibroblasts that had been treated with hydrogen peroxide to simulate ageing.
According to the company, the fibroblasts that were incubated with the new active following hydrogen peroxide treatment did not suffer, unlike those not treated, from a down regulation in genes relating to cellular growth and an up regulation in the matrix metalloproteinase gene 3.
The company also claims the sunflower shoot active regulates the genes involved in the maintenance of the skin’s structural components, shown by a gene assay was performed in keratinocytes.
No clinical tests
However, Mibelle Biochemistry has not performed any in vivo clinical tests on the ingredient to date.
“We have now very good results from a series of in vitro studies. So, we decided to launch the ingredient without clinical study results,” Schmid said.