What is Koso?
Koso drink is a fermented beverage. It is usually made from a variety of vegetables and fruits, and is fermented from one month to three years by using a traditional Japanese method.
The most common way to make koso is this. Taking out nutrient rich juice from vegetables and fruits using osmotic pressure of sugar and ferment using lactic acid bacteria and yeast naturally found in vegetables and fruits. Traditional blend of lactic acid bacteria and natural yeast are added to it. Duration of fermentation varies depending on the weather, ingredients, and season. It affects the flavor.
Koso is first introduced as a dietary supplement about 100 years ago. It was difficult to get enough nutrients from the diet at the time. Koso contains not only nutrients from its ingredients but also nutrients added during the process of fermentation. But it is only today that we are uncovering the science behind it.
The Science behind Koso
Koso cleanse is gaining popularity among Japanese musicians, models, and entrepreneurs, with the growing demand, more sciences are putting into this ancient supplement, and more health benefits are being discovered.
Koso, the fermented japanese juice contains abundant functional ingredients, i.e. polyphenols, dietary fiber, beneficial bacteria and indigestible dextrin. The Koso indicated high antioxidant activity and suppression of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) formation, which is thought to be responsible for the pathogenesis of various lifestyle diseases. There are possibilities for the benefits of consuming koso in body fat reduction, improvement of bowel movements, and improvement of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. So, the products commonly called Koso, which means ’enzyme-foods’ or ‘enzyme-containing food’ in Japanese, may be beneficial for health maintenance because of its abundant functional ingredients, not the food-enzyme, contained in them per se.1
Koso as a beneficial beverage for health maintenance
In Vivo & Vitro studies, it has been demonstrated that Koso contains antioxidant activites, immunostimulatory effects (enhances phagocytic activity and superoxide production of leucytotes post consumption vs control), suppress emotional stress induced stomach ulcers post consumption via itself or its metabolites .
In the most comprehensive human clinical study, Koso has been recommended as a hypercholesterolemia combating beverage. It has demonstrated to be antioxidative and cardioprotective properties. Subjects consuming Koso had improved intestinal microflora and lowered total cholesterol(TC) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL).3 Volunteers were assigned to two groups; Koso consumption vs placebo in a span of 8 weeks. Anthropometric measurements were done initially on the 4th & 8th & 10th week of consumption. Body weight, body fat and body mass index were markedly lower in the Koso-consumption group. The total antioxidant capacity and total phenolics in the plasma were increased along with a reduction in total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) after supplementation of Koso.
Participants who drank Koso also showed pounced increase in the number of beneficial bacterial (Bifidobacterium spp. and Lactobacillus spp) and a reduced number of harmful bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Clostridium perfringens.
In another vitro study, it was shown that Koso contained anti-inflammatory substances which inhibit the activity of Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2).6 COX-2 is known as an enzyme which is related to a cause of pain and a formation of tumor. Thus, Koso might be beneficial for those who are suffering from chronic inflammatory diseases and conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Clinical studies have indicated that Koso as a beneficial beverage for health maintenance in improved bodily complaints such as feeling of fatigue, stiff shoulders, stiff muscles and joints, also the heaviness of the head & bloating in hemodialysis patients.
Not only is koso recommended for the maintenance of general good health, it does show functionality in specific health conditions as well.
Globally, there is growing number of men (52%)4 and women (40%)5 with sexual dysfunction. It is known that the decline of androgen is correlated with sexual dysfunction and other related symptoms. Clinical data indicated that the consumption of Koso increased the amount of androgen, indicating the possibilities of improving sexual function.
Koso has also demonstrated to reduce the amount of acetaldehyde, the breakdown of alcohol which is also the culprit for facial flushing, nausea, hungover and deterioration of liver function due to drinking.
Koso is a nutritious supplement that has been used for more than 100 years now, and we are only uncovering part of its health benefits today. The health benefits is not only limited to the enzymatic activities from the fermentation process, but along with all of its functional ingredients. It has been demonstrated to be good for lowering total cholesterol and LDL level, increasing immunostimulatory effect, sexual function, beneficial bacteria and relieving bodily complaints.
HASE-TAMARU, Shizuka, and Chihiro OKUNO. “The in Vitro and Vivo Evaluation of Products so Called ‘Enzyme-Foods’ .” 福岡工業大学環境科学研究所所報, 2018, pp. 81–87.
Ashida, Takayuki, et al. Effects of a Fermented Vegetable Product on Hemolysis and Lipid Peroxidation of Japanese Flounder Erthrocytes . Fisheries Science, 2002.
Chiu, Hui-Fang, et al. “Regulatory Efficacy of Fermented Plant Extract on the Intestinal Microflora and Lipid Profile in Mildly Hypercholesterolemic Individuals.” Journal of Food and Drug Analysis, vol. 25, no. 4, 2017, pp. 819–827., doi:10.1016/j.jfda.2016.10.008.
Erectile Dysfunction, www.clevelandclinicmeded.com/medicalpubs/diseasemanagement/endocrinology/erectile-dysfunction/.
Jan L Shifren, MD.Overview of sexual dysfunction in women: Epidemiology, risk factors, and evaluation