Further evidence for CLA as cold-fighter

Related tags Fatty acid Linoleic acid

The fatty acid CLA, currently marketed for weight management, could
soon enter the fast-growing segment for immune-boosting
supplements, suggests a new human trial carried out for Loders
Croklaan Lipid Nutrition.

The trial is the fourth by the company to investigate the effects of Safflorin, a conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) derived from safflower oil, on the immune system.

It found that supplements of the oil had a significant effect on reducing the incidence of sore throats due to colds in a group of 45 volunteers.

"There is more and more interest from the market for immune-boosting ingredients,"​ Katinka Abbenbroek, marketing director for Lipid Nutrition, told NutraIngredients.com.

"Demand is already very high in Asia but Europe is following, with the outbreak of avian flu making consumers aware of just how dangerous viruses can be,"​ she said.

And with heightened media discussion of the issue, consumers are beginning to understand what viruses are, prompting them to look for long-term protection of their immune system in the event of an uncurable infection.

Subjects recruited by the University of Virginia in the US were given a rhinovirus in a double-blind, randomized trial. Those who took a daily dose of 2g Safflorin experienced an overall reduction of symptoms, such as sore throat, sneezing, coughing and headaches, compared to those taking placebo.

The results will be presented for the first time at the 17th International Conference on AntiViral Research​ in Tucson, Arizona from 2-6 May 2004.

The company's first human study, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition​ (57, pp595-603) last year, found that supplements increased antibody protection in healthy people, suggesting that the isomerized safflower product could boost the immune system and prevent allergic response in people.

"What is exciting about this new study is that it investigates Safflorin against experimentally induced illness in humans,"​ said Abbenbroek.

The firm is currently repeating the study with 40 per cent more people, she said.

The Western Europe retail market for cough, cold and allergy remedies was worth $5210 million in 2003 according to Euromonitor research and has seen a compound annual growth rate of 2.3 per cent since 1997.

CLA, a fatty acid found naturally in milk, is currently marketed in supplement form designed to decrease body fat. It has also recently been added to foods on the Spanish market and a recent GRAS determination​ for Loders' Clarinol CLA in the US is expected to produce a spate of new product launches there too.

The fatty acid is therefore set to become a core product in the company's portfolio, with applications for weight management and immune-boosting meeting two of today's biggest growth areas in the nutrition market.

Loders says it only has one 'serious' competitior, German health ingredients firm Cognis, which markets CLA under the Tonalin brand. But there appears to be enough room for both suppliers.

Safflorin is made in a proprietary process that increases the ratio of the trans10-cis12 isomer, found to be the most effective for supporting the immune system, to 60 per cent, compared with the other active isomer, cis9-trans11.

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