Dutch company Loders Croklaan Lipid Nutrition yesterday presented the findings of new research to support the immune boosting function of its conjugated linoleic acid product Safflorin.
Speaking at a seminar at Vitafoods, Dr Inge Mohede, the company's nutrition manager, said that a new study showed Safflorin supplementation to increase antibody production in healthy people, suggesting that the CLA could both boost the immune system and prevent allergic responses in people.
Safflorin is made up of a mixture of two isomers, cis-9, trans-11 and trans-10,cis-12, in equal parts.
Dr Mohede, along with scientists from the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen and Strathclyde University in Glasgow, Scotland, studied the effects of the oil in 28 healthy adults aged between 18 to 45 years old, in a randomised, double-blind study. Subjects either received six capsules (3g) of placebo oil (High Oleic Sunflower) or Safflorin, both made by Loders Croklaan, everyday for 12 weeks.
Blood samples were taken at baseline, at 12 weeks during supplementation and after a 12-week wash out period. Weight, height, blood pressure and recording of any changes in diet or exercise were determined on clinic days. Blood samples were analysed for cytokines (like TNFa) and immunoglobulins (IgA, IgG, IgM, and the allergy related Immunoglobulin IgE).
Both IgA and IgM levels increased after wash out, while the 'allergy antibody' IgE decreased by 20 per cent after the wash out period, reported Dr Mohede.
"We already have evidence to show that CLA can stimulate the humoral immune response in humans (when the immune system reacts to a specific virus), but this study shows the potential of CLA to create protective antibodies to fight general disease," said Dr Mohede.
Loders Croklaan is marketing the product as a 'scientifically proven immune booster', which can protect against colds and flu. However Dr Mohede added that there is heightened awareness of immune protection since the outbreak of the SARS epidemic.
"It is well known that conjugated fatty acids can increase lean body mass, and when this happens virus protection is much better. But only this combination of isomers has been shown to have this effect on the immune system," said Dr Mohede.
Safflorin is available either in concentrate form, (74 per cent active isomers) or 60 per cent active isomers, for use in supplements. The study presented yesterday is currently awaiting journal publication.