One of few companies to introduce a novel ingredient at Vitafoods this week, Lipid Nutrition will be hoping to gain a significant edge in the competitive weight loss sector by offering more than one solution to obesity. It also markets the fat loss ingredient CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which reduces weight through a different mechanism.
The firm extracts the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid pinolenic acid from the seeds of the Korean pine nut tree (Pinus koraiensis), one of more than 140 varieties of the nut, which also grows in China.
When added to the diet, this PUFA stimulates the release of the hormone cholecystokinin (CCK), which slows gastric emptying, resulting in the feeling of satiety, claims Lipid Nutrition.
Their claims are supported by a small, randomized, double-blind study, carried out by Netherlands-based research firm TNO. The trial, not yet published, compared the effects of 3g of PinnoThin pinolenic acid to placebo on 18 women who had fasted overnight.
"We measured two hormones - cholecystokinin and glucagon-like peptide (GLP1) - which are both made in the intestine. Four hours after taking the supplements, CCK levels were 60 per cent higher than in the placebo group. And GLP1 was 23 per cent higher," manager of scientific affairs Dr Sandra Einerhand told NutraIngredients.com.
The researchers also questioned the women about their desire to eat. Those that had taken PinnoThin had lower prospective food intake scores, or felt like eating less.
One of the main advantages of the ingredient is its safety profile. "There is a history of pine nut consumption so we could do the human study quite rapidly," said Dr Einerhand. She compared it to hoodia, a plant extract currently gaining huge attention from consumers wishing to lose weight, which is derived from a cactus not normally eaten by people.
"You could also use the ingredient in combination with Clarinol CLA," noted John Kurstjens, marketing manager, adding that ideally, this combination should be tested together.
The new product could be easier to market than Clarinol. Although recently awarded the Slimming Ingredient of 2004/5 by the Societe Francaise des Antioxidants (SFA), there have also been some questions over CLA's safety, most recently raised by the French food authority AFSSA.
The French body considers the product to be a trans fat, unlike authorities in the US and Denmark. Lipid Nutrition says it is continuing to talk with AFSSA to inform them of the latest evidence that appears to back the long-term safety of the ingredient.
PinnoThin has also been introduced to the US market at last week's Supply Side East show. Lipid Nutrition, a division of the oils group Loders Croklaan, has patented the composition of the ingredient and its association with weight loss claims.