Oils and Fats News April 2020

Oils and Fats News April 2020

Laurence Eyres



As the disease begins to dominate all aspects of our day to day lives it’s hard to envisage that one day we will return to normal and get back to other issues.

Whilst not giving medical advice I have been giving some thought as to how we can support our natural nutrition and resistance to this type of RNA virus. There are several well documented articles in the literature that point to certain natural ingredients being of benefit in prevention or alleviating symptoms of respiratory ailments.

These are as follows:

Zinc: Several countries including New Zealand are deficient in zinc due to its low levels in the soil. Taking a supplement containing 15 mg per day may have some benefit. Good thinking and advice from Dr. Bob Corish.


Vitamin D: As we are less exposed to sunlight in modern times it would be advisable to take a Vitamin D3 supplement. Low levels of this Vitamin leave us susceptible to infection.

Antioxidants from blueberries and blackcurrants are well known defence ingredients.

Other powerful antioxidants include polyphenols such as Hydroxytyrosol from quality virgin olive oil. They have proven to be anti-inflammatory.

We can always stick to Manuka honey the old stand- by if we can afford it.

The other lipid product of benefit is of course soap. Dr. Bronner’s liquid soaps are concentrated and contain essential oils such as peppermint and lavender.



Other benefits of Virgin olive oil for health

As people age, the more their brains could benefit from the action of an important component in olive oil. New research has revealed the deeper effects of hydroxytyrosol (HTyr): Not only does it protect brain functions from ageing, but it may even restore the vitality of brain neurons, and multiply them.

The antioxidant activity of hydroxytyrosol activates a sort of cleaning treatment for nervous cells

Italian scientists at the National Research Centre (CNR) investigated how hydroxytyrosol works in those portions of the brain that generate new neurons throughout life. They discovered that HTyr impacts brain activities far beyond its well-known neuroprotective effects.

Researchers at the CNR Biochemistry and Cellular biology Lab (CNR-Ibbc) were able to show how the administration of the compound in the elderly may reverse neuronal ageing, combining the protection of the active neurons and the generation of new ones.

“Hydroxytyrosol oral consumption by young and older animals within a month shows not only how the new neurons generated by the brain in that timeframe are protected, but it also hints how in older animals it stimulates the multiplication of stem cells,”

CBD-a complex mixture of chemical species

This is another emerging natural product that may have some benefit in our armoury of weapons against infection.

 A new study of the first 400 patients in Aotearoa New Zealand assessed for medical cannabis suggests potential benefits for thousands of people beyond currently recognised uses.

The study, a collaboration between the University of Auckland and GP Dr Graham Gulbransen, who opened the first medical cannabis clinic in Aotearoa New Zealand, examined the records of 400 patients assessed for treatment at Dr Gulbransen’s west Auckland clinic Cannabis Care.

Products containing cannabidiol (CBD oil), an active compound derived from the cannabis plant which does not give people a ‘high’, were legalised for prescription by doctors in New Zealand in 2017. CBD is FDA-approved for the treatment of two childhood seizure disorders, but early evidence suggests it could also help treat anxiety and chronic pain and may reduce psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia. Due to a lack of large-scale, controlled studies in humans, there are no prescribing guidelines.

The new study found that CBD oil taken for four weeks significantly improved the self-reported quality of life most for patients living with non-cancer chronic pain and anxiety-related mental health conditions. Patients with cancer or neurological symptoms also experienced improved quality of life, but to a lesser degree. Because symptom assessments were subjective, it is not possible to determine how much of this was due to placebo effect.

“Our findings show that CBD is well-tolerated in most patients and can markedly ease symptoms in a range of hard-to-treat conditions, and that there are people keen to access this and self-fund the medication (about $300 per month),” says Professor Bruce Arroll, senior author in the study and head of the Department of General Practice and Primary Healthcare at the University of Auckland.

“The study has limitations due to drop-out and other factors, but the findings are consistent with other evidence and underline the need for more research to allow us to fully realise the therapeutic potential of medical cannabis.” N.B. only GP’s can currently prescribe CBD.


Lipid mediators -the ethanolamides

The resolution of neuroinflammation is a process that allows for

inflamed tissues to return to homeostasis. In this process the important players are represented by lipid mediators. Among the naturally occurring lipid signalling molecules, a prominent role is played by the N-acylethanolamines, namely N-arachidonoylethanolamide and its congener, palmitoylethanolamide or PEA. PEA possesses a powerful neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory power with no known adverse side effects.


The discovery of the cannabis receptors and the nuclear peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors was the beginning of a completely new understanding of many important homeostatic physiologic mechanisms in the human body. These discoveries were necessary for us to understand the analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity of PEA, a body’s natural fatty amide. PEA is a nutrient known for more than 50 years. PEA is synthesized and metabolized in animal cells via several enzymes and has a multitude of physiologic functions related to metabolic homeostasis. PEA was identified in the 1950s as a therapeutic principle with potent anti-inflammatory properties. Since 1975, its analgesic properties have been noted and explored in a variety of chronic pain states. Since 2008, PEA has been available as a nutraceutical A literature search on PEA meanwhile has yielded over 350 papers, all referenced in PubMed, describing the physiologic properties of this endogenous modulator and its pharmacologic and therapeutic profile

Step by step emergence of insight These four periods are: • 1954–1979, when PEA was found to be an nonspecific immunologic resistance enhancer, with anti-inflammatory properties and anti-influenza and anti-common cold indications • 1980–1992, “a silent gap”, with unanswered questions related to the mechanism of action of PEA • 1992–1998, due to the work of Nobel prize winner, Levi-Montalcini, PEA was recognized as a mast cell modulator, and then (wrongly as it appeared later) as a CB2 cannabinoid agonist • 1998 onwards, when PEA was identified as having high affinity for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPAR-α), transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1, and the GRP 55 receptor.

It has also been found to be a nonspecific immune enhancer in respiratory tract infections After commercialization of PEA in the early 1970s, six clinical studies of the effects of Impulsin in the treatment of respiratory tract infections were published. In 1974, Masek et al published the results of two double blind, controlled trials including 1,345 healthy subjects, of which 41 failed to complete the trial.27 The goal of these trials was to evaluate the efficacy of PEA in upper respiratory tract infections. The subjects were to take 600 mg PEA three times daily or placebo for 12 days. In the first trial, 468 employees of the Skoda car factory, all suffering from influenza-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, sore throat, myalgia, nasal discharge, productive or dry cough, malaise, and fatigue were randomized to receive PEA 600 mg or placebo three times daily for 2 weeks. The second trial, which was prophylactic, included 918 volunteers aged 16–18 years and living in an army unit. Treatment was identical to that in the first trial for the first 2 weeks, after which a continuation dose of PEA 600 mg or placebo was administered once daily in a double-blind fashion.

Journal of Pain Research 2013:6

N.B. The Oils and Fats Group have sponsored a fourth year Food Tech. project at Massey University on delivery systems for PEA>


WCOF 2020 Sydney

Despite the lower than expected attendance at this conference in Sydney, the participants enjoyed a stimulating and informative conference with specialist courses on frying, and nutrition held concurrently.

There were interesting papers from New Zealand presenters who included Professor Marie Wong speaking on why Extra Virgin olive oil is an excellent cooking oil. Allan Woolf recounting on Plant and Food avocado work in Kenya. Dr Mikhail Vyssotsky spoke on NMR of lipids, Geoff Webster on rice bran oil, Matt Miller on near IR of marine lipids and Glen Neal gave an update on hemp oil. A jolly fatty time was had by all.



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