The fatty acid CLA not only helps weight loss but also appears to help people reduce body fat over the long-term, suggest preliminary findings presented by Cognis Nutrition and Health last week.
The company released early results from a two-year trial on its Tonalin brand conjugated linoleic acid at the SupplySide West show in Las Vegas last week.
The study, by Dr Jean-Michel Gaullier from Scandinavian Clinical Research in Norway, is a one-year continuation of the original 12-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial on 180 overweight subjects. In the first year, subjects were randomised to receive placebo (olive oil), or CLA as either a free fatty acid or a triglyceride. In the second year, all subjects took CLA supplements as triglycerides.
Tonalin CLA supplementation appeared to prevent subjects in the two CLA groups from regaining the 8 per cent of body fat they lost in the first year, reported Dr Heather Nelson Cortes, Cognis research scientist, on Friday. The participants that had been on a placebo the first year and then took CLA for 12 months experienced a 5 per cent reduction in body fat, she added. The research from the first phase of the study is expected to be published early next year.
CLA is consumed primarily in meat and dairy products but the CLA content of natural dairy products has fallen over time. Tonalin CLA is extracted through a proprietary process that converts linoleic acid from safflowers into CLA, providing 80 per cent activity.
The research also supported the long-term safety of Tonalin CLA.
Kathleen Moran, global market segment manager of dietary supplements, said: "Dr Gaullier's study is the first to show no regain of body fat mass among those taking Tonalin CLA for 24 months, and is also the first to examine CLA's efficacy and effects long-term."
The Cognis product is backed by eight studies published in peer-reviewed journals and has a majority share in the CLA market. It is currently the focus of a major marketing campaign, with a video news release launched in the US during July in the firm's first consumer-targeted campaign.
First-half results released in August revealed that Cognis is unlikely to achieve its ambitious growth goals publicised by its new owners in 2001. "We're rethinking the targets given the current economy and also wondering if sales are the most important thing for investors," David Eckert, business director of North America, told NutraIngredientsUSA.com last week. "But Nutrition & Health is still in the limelight."
Acquisitions are still expected for the health unit and it will also look to develop its functional foods and pharmaceutical sections, both much smaller segments currently, but with strong growth potential.
"Growth is targeted for all these segments, both geographically and in terms of sales," said Eckert, pointing to room for expansion of food ingredients in the US market and new dietary supplement applications.
Cognis, which sponsored the expanded education programme at SupplySide last week, was also promoting a new focus on condition-specific formulations for customers.