Many African HIV sufferers are benefiting from a combination of plant sterols and sterolins, according to Professor Patrick Bouic, chief immunologist at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, South Africa. Now he is hoping to win support from the US scientific community for his findings.
"There are many immune supplements available in Africa, but very few of these products ever make a significant impact on improving a person's health and quality of life while they endure a life-threatening disease," said Prof. Bouic who has spent the past 15 years studying the role phytonutrients play in the body to improve immune system function.
Prof. Bouic has discovered that the correct ratio of plant sterols and sterolins needed to balance an overactive or underactive immune system is 100:1.
"The ratio is the most crucial step in mixing the plant sterols and sterolins," said Prof. Bouic. "It's during the extraction process that most manufacturers will lose the correct ratio because the sterolins are a very fragile molecule and can easily be destroyed during the process."
Without the proper combination of sterols and sterolins a supplement will have little or no effect on balancing the immune system, Prof. Bouic said.
Plant sterols can be found in foods such as cholesterol-lowering margarines and yoghurts, peanuts, beans and some oils. But it is the combination of plant sterols and sterolins that is difficult for food and supplement manufacturers to replicate.
A proprietary blend of plant sterols and sterolins extracted from pine and called Moducare has been created at Stellenbosch University. Prof. Bouic is now looking to receive more support from the US scientific community to fund collaborative studies in the US.