2019 Results and achievements

1.  Body fat improvement effect of ginseng or “Otane carrot” on humans
【Purpose】In this experiment, the effect on the metabolic changes upon ingestion of ginseng, especially on lipid metabolism (burning), were examined on the whole body including brain and skeletal muscle while at rest.

Verification of the fat burning promotion effect of ginseng using an exhalation-gas analyzer
Subject: 4 women and 1 men (average age of 20 years old)
Measurement condition: The experiment was carried out in a room environment with a temperature of 21-26°C and a humidity of 40-70%. After entering the room, the subject was asked to keep at rest (being awake in a sitting position). After 10-15 minutes from starting at rest, the subject ingested the prescribed food (a dehydrated soup purchased at a store: energy 16 kcal, protein 0.8 g, lipid 0.8 g, carbohydrate 1.7 g, salt equivalent 1.4 g) with or without 0.8 g of ginseng mixed with it. This was repeated at the interval of at least one week by one subject at one time. 15 minutes after the ingestion of a test food, the energy metabolism after keeping at rest for 15 minutes was measured using a portable gas monitor (AR-10, ARCO SYSTEM). The respiratory quotient (RQ), oxygen consumption (VO2) and carbon dioxide output (VCO2) were measured in the expired gas analysis.

【Results and Discussion】
The effect of Panax ginseng on resting metabolic RQ was investigated by measuring respiratory quotient (RQ), oxygen consumption (VO2) and carbon dioxide emissions (VCO2) of 5 subjects with a breath gas analyzer, during a 25-30 minute time period after consuming either a test meal containing 0.8 g of panax ginseng or a test meal not containing it.
The RQ value was almost constant after 5 minutes from the start of the measurement, regardless of the presence or absence of panax ginseng. Among the five subjects, three subjects showed a decrease in the average RQ value during the 5 minutes between 25 to 30 minutes after ingestion of panax ginseng, compared to when not ingesting it. No significant changed were seen in the other two subjects.
Table 1 summarizes the relative fluctuation rate (the relative value of the RQ during ingestion when the RQ value without panax ginseng is taken as 100%) of the average RQ value in the resting metabolism within the measurement time (25 to 30 minutes).
The average value of the relative variability of the five subjects was 96.2%, while the maximum was 103.2%, and the minimum was 87.8%. Although it cannot be said that the RQ value is statistically significantly reduced by panax ginseng since the standard deviation of the mean value is 6.6%, tendency of decrease was suggested when taking the maximum and minimum values into consideration. In a similar experiment with a separate six people in 2018, the relative variability of the average RQ was 96.4%, the maximum was 103.4%, and the minimum was 87.6%, giving almost the same results.
The theoretical RQ value for fat burning in the body is 0.7, and 1.0 for carbohydrate burning. The RQ value fluctuates between them. This time, it was suggested that the RQ value of the subjects tended to decrease due to the panax ginseng intake, and that the decrease in the RQ value was mainly due to the decrease in the VCO2 value. Based on the above, the possibility that fat burning during rest is promoted by ingesting Panax ginseng was shown. It is expected that the effect of Panax ginseng on body fat burning in humans will be demonstrated by continuing to increase the number of subjects and conducting verification.

2. Consideration of the lifestyle, based on the data obtained through body index measurement of school children
【Purpose】The purpose of this business, started in 2018, is to confirm the current situation of the target children’s’ physical condition and daily living habits along with changes from the previous year, and to verify changes in health consciousness of children by giving them hands-on experiences of measuring their own physical indices (body fat, daily activity) by continuing to measure physical parameters of children and conducting dietary and lifestyle surveys at cooperating elementary schools.

2-1. Physical indicators of children
2-1. Body index measurement using a body composition measuring device
Subject: 8 children (average age of 11 years old)
Measurement condition: The operation and measurement was carried out with the children using a portable body composition analyzer (Inbody 470, InBody Japan Inc.) (upper figure in FIG. 2). The body index data such as body weight (BMI), muscle mass, body fat mass, etc. obtained through a body composition measurement were analyzed using a Lookin’Body software. The feedbacks about the measurement results were given to the participated children and their parents

2-2. Collection of the basic data on daily activities by an accelerometer device
Subject: 8 children (average age of 11 years old)
Measurement condition: Kenz Life Coder GS4 sec. version (SUZUKEN) (width 7.2 cm, height 4.2 cm, thickness 2.9 cm, weight 45 g, with hooks to attach) was attached to the waist of the subject. The daily activities were carried out as usual for 10 days from Friday to the next Sunday (after wakening up in the morning to bathing at night), and the activity amount was measured (the lower chart in Fig. 2). The daily activity amount was analyzed based on the amount of time for moderate exercise and the number of steps, using a Lifelyzer 05 Coach software (SUZUKEN).

2-3. Research on eating behavior and lifestyle
Subject: 8 children (average age of 11 years old)
Measurement condition: A questionnaire survey on eating behavior & habit (BDHQ 15y, 2009 school) equivalent to five A4 sheets and another questionnaire survey on the daily life, health awareness and knowledge of traditional foods, equivalent to one A4 sheet, were conducted at the same time. These questionnaires were filled out by the participated children and their parents while discussing together at home and then submitted. The feedback on the diagnostic result of their eating behavior & habit based on the answers for the questionnaire was given to the participating children and parents

【Results and Discussion】
2-1. Body index measurement using a body composition measuring device
Figure 1 shows the measurement results of the physical indexes (BMI, body fat percentage (%), and muscle mass) of eight children at the cooperating elementary schools. The BMI is expected to be different from that of adults, as the subjects are fifth-grade elementary school children who are in the process of development and development. The height and weight of eight growing individuals have increased. The physical index of each individual differ greatly. None of them are currently obese.
Overall, muscle mass is steadily increasing with growth. It can be said that this is a favorable tendency, as when the muscle mass increases, the basal metabolism increases accordingly and the body becomes less likely to become obese.
On the other hand, the body fat percentage greatly varies depending on the individual. In both increasing and decreasing cases, there is a tendency to converge to the standard value. It can be said that the body quality is steadily transforming to a healthy adult body along with their growth.

2-2. Daily activity amount of children
Figure 2 shows the measurement results of the average daily activities (number of steps, total activity time, and moderate activity time) in the daily life of eight children at the cooperating elementary school. The average for the eight children was decreased for all activity indicators than in 2018. The maximum values of all three indicators have increased since 2018, while the minimum values have all decreased. There is a possibility that the daily activities of the children have been bipolarized. In particular, the decrease in moderate exercise time, must be improved, as it is considered to be most involved in the burning of body fat in connection with obesity. There was no clear correlation between body mass index, BMI, body fat percentage, and muscle mass with number of steps or moderate exercise time.

2-3. Eating behavior and lifestyle
The results of a questionnaire survey on eating behavior and routines, and a questionnaire survey on daily life, health consciousness, and knowledge of traditional ingredients performed on eight children at a cooperating elementary school. By looking at the balance of the diets of the eight children, it was observed that the intake volume of the main dish has improved compared to 2018. However, children who lack the main dish were newly recognized. The lack of side dishes and fruit, and the consumption of sweets, such as candy were also made apparent, indicating that there is a need to improve as in 2018. This suggests that the dietary tendency of developing children is moving toward a higher intake of protein-rich main dishes(meat and fish, eggs and soy products, etc.) and staple foods(carbohydrates such as rice and bread).
Regarding nutrient intake, the protein: fat: carbohydrate intake ratio was close to the standard daily intake ratio. Fat intake has been optimized, which is a good change. One child with insufficient fat intake was newly identified. As dieting is a concern for some children of this age, it is necessary to further encourage them to get proper nutrition. As for individual nutrients, as in 2018, the daily intake of calcium and iron still tend to be insufficient. On the other hand, excessive intake of salt continues on a daily basis. Excessive intake of salt is a factor that definitely raises blood pressure. Though this does not present a major problem yet, health problems may arise in the future if a preference for salty tastes become established. Feedback on these findings and improvement sheets have been provided to parents.
As for the questionnaire survey on daily life, activity amount measurement results showed that the activity time of children has been shortened as a whole. It was shown that knowledge was properly established throughout the year, making children aware that excessive intake of sweets increases body fat, that fat can be decreased by exercising, and the proper way to eat in order to lose fat. However, every child consumes excessive sweets and fats, such as candy, on a daily basis, and the correct knowledge still has not led to correct actions. This is an important issue for future project activities. Passive knowledge acquisition through other people and media such as television and knowledge through independent learning and to experience of practical activities are both important.

3. Creating a lunch menu using Panax ginseng
Panax ginseng, a functional traditional vegetable in the Aizu region, has a unique medicinal bitterness and aroma, and has traditionally been used as a food ingredient for tempura. It is known to have an effect of increasing body metabolism and also helps recovery from fatigue. The purpose is to create a lunch menu that children can eat deliciously without losing the unique flavor of Panax ginseng to teach children about the ingredient that is traditionally eaten in the region to help maintain health.

3-1. Menus formed from student suggestions
Carrot rice
When adding sesame along with seasonings such as soy sauce, the aroma of sesame softens the unique smell and bitterness of Panax ginseng. It can be prepared easily by mixing stir-fried chopped carrot and panax ginseng into freshly cooked rice.

Chicken curry
Panax ginseng goes well with chicken, so it is perfect for curry. The strong aroma and flavor of spices in the curry powder softens the unique smell and bitterness of the Panax ginseng.

Mapo tofu
The spiciness of hot-bean paste softens the unique smell and bitterness of the Panax ginseng. Panax ginseng matches well with green onions, miso and hot-bean paste, so this menu is great for warming the body during the cold winter season.

4. Summary
Since 2018, we have continued to conduct experiments to verify the effect of Panax ginseng on improving body fat (fat burning) in humans. Although not statistically significant, the same result as the previous year was obtained, in which Panax ginseng ingestion promoted a 5 to 10% increase in lipid burning in the resting state. We will continue to conduct similar studies with more subjects to accumulate more rigorous scientific evidence.
Measurements of physical indexes and daily activities of children at cooperating elementary schools showed that the improvement of physical status, such as height and weight, has converged to the standard range. Compared to 2018, there was a change in the amount of daily activity, showing that the amount of activity decreased as a whole. This is also apparent from the questionnaire results on daily life. There is a possibility that the activity amount of the children have been bipolarized. As there have not been any changes in transportation methods such as buses and walking, it may be that their habits of outdoor activities in daily life have changed.
From the results of the survey of eating habits and living behaviors conducted at the same time as the measurement of physical indicators and daily activities, the percentage of children with correct knowledge about eating habits and diets has increased from the previous year, allowing us to conclude that the achievements of the project have been attained. On the other hand, as in the previous year, it is apparent that correct knowledge did not lead to correct eating habits and diets. This fact indicates that more practical intervention is needed to achieve the purpose of this project: to raise the awareness of children and lead to correct eating habits and diets. Information of the individual diet balance, nutrient items (minerals) and food intake items (staple food, side dishes, fruits, sweets) revealed by this year’s project will be utilized in the next year’s project to take concrete measures to change consciousness in children that actually leads to a change in behavior.
Panax ginseng has a unique bitterness and aroma and is not ideal to be eaten raw. In this year’s project, in addition to using Panax ginseng powder, we worked on developing a practical lunch menu using the roots which are relatively easy to eat. We prepared dishes with a unique flavor such as curry and curry and mapo tofu which are popular among children, and also rice mixed with carrots, developed with a new perspective from the cooking side. These menus go well with the flavors and aroma of Panax ginseng powder and roots. The unique flavor of Panax ginseng was softened by the strong flavors of the dishes. These menus are not only familiar and popular with children, but they can be cooked in large portions which is ideal for school lunch menus. In the next fiscal year, we plan to refer to these menu examples to provide lunch meals to children in cooperation with cooperating elementary schools.

5. Cooperation with a school lunch provision business at Aizuwakamatsu city elementary and junior high schools.
Content: In cooperation with the Aizu Regional Development Bureau, Fukushima Prefecture, during the period from February 18 to 27, 2020, we collaborated with 26 elementary and junior high schools in Aizuwakamatsu City to provide meals using Panax ginseng. Menus which were suggested by a student of a seminar ran by the project implementation representative, such as “Panax ginseng rice”, “Panax ginseng curry” and “Panax ginseng mapo tofu” were served to approximately 6,800 children and students in the city for lunch.