Insulin plant beverage gets boost from UPLB-BIOTECH’s MONASCUS red

With this, InsuPlus, originally called InsuJuice, stands to benefit people who have elevated blood sugar or those with diabetes and those who have high body cholesterol levels.

InsuPlus, a beverage made of extracts from the leaves of insulin plants or spiral flag (Chamaecostus cuspidatus), is a product of Ultimate Sams Herbs, a startup company based in Alaminos, Laguna that focuses on health products with insulin plant extracts, including natural juice drinks, tea, and capsule supplements. The original version of the drink, InsuJuice, was first made available at the UPLB One-stop Shop last August.

Its co-founders Ana Nuevo and Sunshine Nuevas met with MONASCUS RED colorant inventor Fides Z. Tambalo, a researcher at BIOTECH and UPLB Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension, to discuss their collaboration that eventually produced InsuPlus.

With MONASCUS Red added to it, this health drink gets a boost from a natural, cholesterol-lowering, and microbial-based red colorant developed by BIOTECH. InsuPlus is available at the UPLB One-Stop Shop, along with other food products, handicrafts, and other products from around Laguna.

“This is an exciting avenue for Monascus application in functional juices. We look forward to the group’s success in providing healthier beverages to Filipinos,” said Tambalo.

“This collaboration is one way of bringing the benefits of intellectual property to the intended users, which, in this case, are the consumers of health and wellness drinks,” said Dr. Ronilo P. Violanta, Technology Transfer and Business Development Program Leader at BIOTECH and co-inventor of MONASCUSRED colorant.

“Both products (InsuJuice and MONASCUS RED colorant) have antioxidant and health benefits. MONASCUS RED has enhanced the juice’s flavor and made the color more appealing,” said Nuevo. “If we cannot exercise, the least we could do is eat or drink healthy or natural,” she added.

MONASCUS RED colorant was developed as a safe alternative to synthetic food colorants. Unlike artificial pigments, which have been linked to diseases such as cancer and allergies, MONASCUS RED was found to lower cholesterol through its key compound, Monacolin K. This all-natural colorant has also been tested for safe use in food (meat processing, baked goods) and cosmetics. (Sophia M. Mercado)

This article was originally published in the UPLB Website on 19 December 2022 with the URL