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West African sorghum extract shows anti-inflammatory and immune health benefits

By Stephen DANIELLS , 17-Jan-2013

West African sorghum extract shows anti-inflammatory and immune health benefits

An extract from West African sorghum may provide anti-inflammatory effects and immune benefits, as well as offer food color and nutricosmetic potential, according to new data.

The ingredient, commercialized under the Jobelyn brand name by Nigerian company Health Forever Products International, was found to increase production of anti-viral compounds, report researchers from NIS Labs (USA), Dover Sciences (USA), and Health Forever Products Inc. (Nigeria).

In terms of anti-inflammatory potential, cell studies revealed three anti-inflammatory activities of the polyphenol-rich extracts from a West African variant of Sorghum bicolor.

These included “reduced production of free radicals by PMN cells, reduced migratory responsiveness toward the inflammatory chemoattractant LTB4 and induction of several anti-inflammatory cytokines,” they wrote in the Journal of Medicinal Food.

“The unique properties of the west African Sorghum bicolor leaf sheaths reported here go beyond a simple content of antioxidant polyphenols and water-soluble pro-inflammatory glucans,” they added.

“The complexity is illustrated by the presence of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds in both the aqueous and ethanol-based extracts, as well as the presence of immune modulating compounds with selectively different biological effects in the aqueous versus ethanol-based extracts.”

“The data suggest that there may be value in evaluating anti-inflammatory and immune modulating effects in clinical studies, which may also help explain the traditional use of sorghum-based products and extracts thereof in traditional medicine across the world.”


HealthForever Products’ Ademola Okubena told NutraIngredients-USA that the ingredients is positioned for “the antioxidant market having the confirmation through peer-review publication that it is almost 4 times more powerful than the current American champion, i.e., Acai berry.

“It will also have strong support for anti-inflammatory and immune modulating properties.”

The sorghum used for the ingredient is sourced in Nigeria from the company’s plantation. “Nigeria is a major sorghum producing country in the world and it has the capacity to produce sufficient sorghum sheaths to meet world demand,” said Okubena.


According to Okubena, Jobelyn is the most popular dietary supplement in the Nigerian market for over a decade and being prescribed by orthodox medical practitioners. It has been on the international market since 2005 through the internet.

“The lack of awareness about the potential of Sorghum particularly in the American market, where it is only being used for animal nutrition, contributed to the slow growth in the internet market.

“With adequate scientific backing and orientation, the awareness should launch the product significantly in the immediate future.”


The ingredient could also have applications as a natural food color, according to data published last year in the Journal of Food Science (doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2012.02668.x).

The research indicated that high levels of the polyphenol antioxidant, 3-deoxy-anthocyanidin, may offer an intense red color for food and beverage formulators.

Researchers from the Soil and Crop Science Department at Texas A&M University found that the pigment is resistant to pH changes and bisulfate, while many other natural colorants, such as anthocyanin, do not tolerate these changes very well. 

Okubena added that the ingredient could also be used in nutricosmetic products. “We have test carried out by Brunswick lab and certified high anti-oxidant properties to enhance skin beauty and health,” he said.

Source: Journal of Medicinal Food
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1089/jmf.2012.0214
“West African Sorghum bicolor Leaf Sheaths Have Anti-Inflammatory and Immune-Modulating Properties In Vitro”
Authors: K. F. Benson, J.L. Beaman, B. Ou, A. Okubena, O. Okubena, G.S. Jensen

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