Taiwanese-made blood pressure supplement launched

By Lee Yu-hsin and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with Staff writer

Tue, Oct 23, 2012 - Page 4

A new health supplement to tackle high blood pressure that was jointly developed by National Chung Hsing University, Da Yeh University and researchers from the pharmaceutical industry was introduced yesterday at a product launch.

According to the Da Yeh University research team’s director, Chen Hsiao-ling (陳小玲), statistics from the Department of Health (DOH) indicate that one out of four people over the age of 20 has high blood pressure.

If left uncontrolled, high blood pressure could lead to serious cardiovascular diseases, Chen said.

Chen said that research teams from the two universities cooperated with teams from China Chemical and Pharmaceutical Co and the company’s affiliate, Chunghwa Biomedical Technology Co, in a five-year-long research venture to produce a new peptide from kefir grains.

Kefir grains are a mix of bacteria and yeasts in a matrix of proteins, lipids and sugars traditionally added to goat or cow milk to make the milk drink kefir. Peptides are short polymers of amino acid monomers linked by chemical reactions between carboxyl-amino groups of two molecules.

The purified anti-hypertensive peptide developed and extracted from kefir grains by the team provide a substance that helps lower blood pressure, National Chung Hsing University research team director Chen Chuan-mu (陳全木) said.

According to the Ministry of Education’s Web page, Chen also said that the peptide was very versatile and could be used extensively in other pharmaceutical products.

If legally permitted, the peptide could be combined with the research team’s patented mammary gland-specific expression platform to raise cows and goats that have the peptide inherently in their systems, allowing more people to ingest the peptide through cow’s or goat’s milk, Chen said.

As more than 70 percent of health products in the nation are reliant on foreign imports, Chen said if the peptide is successfully manufactured, Taiwan would own the intellectual property rights to a product that can be locally made and enable Taiwan to break into the international health product market.

The invention was awarded a silver medal this year by the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ intellectual property office and has been granted patents in the US, some European countries, Taiwan and China.