Lipids and nutraceuticals August 2020 Laurence Eyres and Mike Eyres


Welcome to the new look for the newsletter. It was a suggestion from the late Bernie Radford that we branch out from straight oils and fats into the interesting world of natural compounds and  health. So, we have changed the name to reflect this perspective and we have been looking at compounds such as CBD, antioxidants, and vitamins in recent newsletters

A N N U A L D I N N E R A N D    A G M

This will now be August 4th at The Northern

club in Auckland. Reserve your tickets with the secretary ruth.eyres@gmail.com

($70 each), The Chairman’s report has now been circulated.

A O C S  V I R T U A L

C O N F E R E N C E  2 0 2 0

In the absence of the normal annual conference which was  cancelled  due  to  Covid-19,  the  organisation  ran  a virtual conference which was a great success. Sign up now and gain access to on-demand presentations and posters like “Hard Surface Cleaner Development with HLD-NAC Principles.” In this presentation, Eric “Rick” Theiner, Applied Technology Manager, of Evonik Corporation discusses how the concepts behind HLD- NAC can be combined with substrate wetting and surfactant monomer diffusion to provide an efficient and effective hard surface cleaner. Register today to view presentations on cutting edge research related to fats, oils, proteins, and surfactants.

www.aocs.org  aocs@smartbrief.com


The role nutrition plays in supporting the immune system is well-established.A number of vitamins (A,B6, B12,  folate,  C,  D  and  E)  and  trace  elements  (zinc,  copper,  selenium,  iron)  have  been  demonstrated  to have key roles in supporting the human immune system and reducing risk of infections. Other essential nutrients including other vitamins and trace elements, amino acids and fatty acids are also important.  A recent article by Professor Phil Calder is well worth reading. “Inflammation and Immunity Inflammation is the first biological response – the first immune mechanism to an external aggression of physical such as injury, toxic, chemical, or biological (virus and bacteria) agents. The duration of the inflammation depends on the time that is required to eliminate these harmful causes and repair the damage. The pain that accompanies this natural process thus does not interfere with the quality of everyday life. However, at times, inflammation becomes pathological due to an imbalance in the relationship between pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory mediators and can produce the now well discussed cytokine storm. Acute respiratory tract infections, for example, were responsible for approximately 2.38 million deaths worldwide in 2016 and the current global death rate is rising rapidly. Supplementation with the above micronutrients and omega-3 fatty acids is a safe, effective, and low- cost strategy to help support optimal immune function; (2) supplementation above the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), but within recommended upper safety limits, for specific nutrients such as vitamins C and D is warranted; and (3) public health officials are encouraged to include nutritional strategies in their recommendations to improve public health.”

Calder PC. Nutrition immunity and COVID-19. BMJ Nutrition, Prevention &Health 2020;0. doi:10.1136/

Optimal Nutritional Status for a Well-FunctioningImmune System Is an Important Factor to Protectagainst Viral Infections Philip Calder Nutrients 2020, 12, 1181

Research from The University of Western Australia reports their findings that a diet rich in nutrients and antioxidants may prevent or even reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.The study, published in Open Biology, found taking a combination of antioxidants at increasing doses was more beneficial at preventing the debilitating disease than any other treatment currently available.Professor Tony Kettle a Research Professor at Otago University NZ,has a comment on this article. “Undoubtedly oxidative stress is a feature of AD. However, whether it is a cause or consequence of the pathology is debatable; I would think it is the latter. Even so, targeting oxidative stress may restrict some of the neurodegeneration associate with AD. Antioxidants in general, particularly dietary antioxidants, are unlikely to affect the oxidative stress because they are unlikely to get to the source of oxidants and compete with endogenous targets. We need to know what produces the oxidants and then target the source. For example, we have a project looking at neutrophils invading the brain and then producing oxidants via their oxidative enzyme. Our strategy is to develop inhibitors that could block production of oxidants by neutrophils.” “I believe that diet – poor or good – is neither a cause nor cures of AD.”
Veurink G, Perry G, Singh, SK. 2020 Role of antioxidants and a nutrient rich diet in Alzheimer’s disease. Open Biol. 10:http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsob.200084

P L A N T  B A S E D  S P R E A D S  B Y  U P F I E L D
The company originally known as Unilever has been a leader in the plant-based spreads
industry from the very beginning, when the patent for making plant-based spreads was acquired from its inventor, Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès in 1871. The company became known as Unilever in 1930 following a merger between Margarine Unie and Lever Brothers. The business continued to grow significantly through the years, when in December 2017, the business was sold and relaunched as Upfield.They have now developed a spread from Allanblackia seed oil. Allanbackia seed oil is unusual in that it is composed of only a few triglycerides, derived from palmitic, oleic and stearic acids. This is similar to other tropical fats such as shea and cocoa butter. However, Allanbackia has an unusually high stearic acid content above 50%. More specifically Allanbackia seed oil contains 52-58% stearic acid, 39-45% oleic acid and 2-3% palmitic acid.This simple triglyceride composition provides Allanblackia seed oil with very steep melting behaviour. This composition makes it useful for making food products such as margarine, without any further modification like fractionation of fractional crystallization. The melting point is around 34°C. Specific physical characteristics of SOS-SOO mixtures, like fat crystallization aspects, have extensively been investigated in model systems.


According to new research from food science experts at the University of California, Davis, most of

the avocado oil sold in the U.S. is of poor quality, mislabelled or adulterated with other oils.


In the country’s first extensive study of commercial avocado oil quality and purity, UC Davis researchers report that at least 82 percent of test samples were either stale before expiration date or mixed with other oils. In three cases, bottles labelled as “pure” or “extra virgin” avocado oil contained near 100 percent soybean oil, an oil commonly used in processed foods that is much less expensive to produce.


“I was surprised some of the samples didn’t contain any  avocado oil,” said Selina Wang, Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Food Science and Technology, who led the study recently published in the journal Food Control. “Most people who buy avocado oil are interested in the health benefits, as well as the mild, fresh flavour, and are willing to pay more for the product. But because there are no standards to determine if an avocado oil is of the quality   and purity advertised, no one is regulating false or misleading labels. These findings highlight the urgent need for standards to protect consumers and establish a level playing field to support the continuing growth of the avocado oil industry.”


Note we still do not have an accepted global standard for avocado oil in NZ although we believe work is being carried out in this area.


Fatty acid composition % (typical values)


Palmitic acid (16:0) 10–25
Palmitoleic acid (16:1) 2–8
Stearic acid (18:0) 0.1–0.4
Oleic acid (18:1) 60–80
Linoleic acid (18:2) 7–20
Linolenic acid (18:3) 0.2–1
Antioxidants (mg.kg) 70–190


oil soldin the US” by Hilary

Reference: “First report on quality and purity evaluations of avocado S.Green and Selina C.Wang, 3 May 2020, Food Control.

DOI: 10.1016/j.foodcont.2020.107328


Another old friend and lipids colleague recently died at the age of 88.
Hyam Myers spent most of his career at Unilever and then at Marrickville, He became a consultant and carried out significant work for Abels NZ on pastry margarine and for the NZ dairy Board on pastry butters. His best memorium is summed up by his wife Shirley. “I could not find suitable words to describe Hyam or his work and two have just come to mind the words ‘dynamic’ and ‘innovative’?
Then ‘gentls’ was another, less descriptive word ‘gentle’.” Hyam’s major work in his retirement was on dry refining of oils using calcium hydroxide rather than sodium hydroxide.
PCT Patent Application WO 97/07186 assigned to Hyam Myers Consulting PTY. Ltd. Myers H (2000) Method of refining oils and fats. US Patent 6,111,120, assigned to Hyam Myers Consulting PTY.

Artemisia annua (Sweet annie, Sweet wormwood, Qing hao) is a herb with a 2000 year long history of traditional use starting with Chinese medicine (TCM) and in more recent times has received attention due to the discovery of its active constituent Artemisinin, which has become a valuable prescription medicine for the treatment of malaria. The discovery of artemisinin led to the award of the 2015 Nobel prize in physiology or medicine.

Until recently Artemisia annua was found in over the counter dietary supplements and herbal extracts prescribed by clinical herbalists. Its most common use by clinical herbalists is as an anti-parasitic, but over the counter products have been marketed recently for joint health (1). Just prior to the classification change Artemisia annua was being marketed overseas without evidence as a treatment for Covid-19 and is soon going to be the subject of human clinical trials (2).

In May 2020 Artemisia annua was subject to a classification change and became prescription only on the recommendation of Message and the Medicines Classification Committee. This decision was based on a series of cases of liver injury that were reported to CARM (Centre for Adverse Reactions) (3).

The decision to protect the public from harm is commendable. This was based on the adverse events and the increasing product use (purchased online) of the herb for Covid-19. The problem with the blanket classification change is that when viewed objectively the safety issue appears to be due to one product or perhaps one type of extract rather than the herb itself which has had a very good safety record as evidenced by thousands of years of traditional use and multiple clinical trials.

The product that caused the adverse events was a supercritical CO2 extract in a base of grapeseed oil. The recommended use of the product for joint health involved ongoing daily use. Traditional use and prior clinical use of this herb generally involves short term treatment using water or water/ethanol extracts. The question has been raised by industry bodies and associations regarding the safety of this novel extract and requesting a review of the decision as it currently stands. It is unknown at this point if there were product specific issues of toxicity. For example, the herbal material used to produce the product in question may have been contaminated, or toxic artifacts may have been produced by the extraction process. Discussions and investigations are ongoing.

This event, in which 29 New Zealanders were harmed has highlighted the urgent need for a review of the regulation of natural health products in New Zealand. We need a regulatory model that ensures products are made to strict quality standards including rigorous testing of herbal raw materials prior to manufacture to ensure public safety.

The New Zealand Association of Medical Herbalists (NZAMH) have had an outstanding re-application for statutory regulation of under the HPCA act since 2015. This regulation, if approved, would potentially allow safe prescribing of an approved list of plant medicines by clinical herbalists that are not safe for over the counter sale but that are also not suited to being prescribed by general practitioners who have to date shown reluctance to prescribe plant medicines. This would ensure that the New Zealand public are not denied the use of valuable plant-based medicines like Artemisia annua in the future.

1. Alesaeidi S, Miraj S. A Systematic Review of Anti-malarial Properties, Immunosuppressive Properties, Anti-inflammatory Properties, and Anti-cancer Properties of Artemisia Annua. Electron Physician. 2016;8(10):3150-3155. Published 2016 Oct 25. doi:10.19082/3150
2. Cheong DHJ, Tan DWS, Wong FWS, Tran T. Anti-malarial drug, artemisinin and its derivatives for the treatment of respiratory diseases. Pharmacol Res. 2020;158:104901. doi:10.1016/j.phrs.2020.104901
3. Savage RL, Hill GR, Barnes J, Kenyon SH, Tatley MV. Suspected Hepatotoxicity With a Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Extract of Artemisia annua in Grapeseed Oil Used in New Zealand. Front Pharmacol. 2019;10:1448. Published 2019 Dec 20. doi:10.3389/fphar.2019.01448


Mike Eyres BSc. BNatMed
Mike Eyres is a technical consultant, researcher and Registered Medical Herbalist and Naturopath (NZAMH) with 18 years professional experience in the food, beverage, and natural health industries. He was a co-author of a peer reviewed, scientific article in the journal “Nutrition Reviews” on coconut oil and cardiovascular risk factors. Consulting projects have covered herbal, food and nutraceutical products in various formats including gel caps, soft gels, sachets, bulk powders, tablets, and topicals.



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