Ahiflower, a plant-based omega upstart grown in the United Kingdom was recently found to have anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating effects similar to those found in fish oil.

The study was done as a double-blind and placebo controlled human trial and the findings were the first of its kind. Never before has a plant-based oil been found to home anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-10 expression (an expression the body uses to quench excess inflammation after infection or strenuous exercise).

Ahiflower was given to 88 subjects for 28 days. The subjects were given 100, 60, or 40 percent of ahiflower blended with sunflower oil. An increase in EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) levels were found in groups given 60-100 percent of the ahiflower. An increase production of anti-inflammatory IL-10, increased blood levels of omega-3 EPA, and increases in alphalinolenic acid (ALA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), and eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA), were also found.

Greg Cumberford, vice president of strategic initiatives at Nature's Crops International, said, “I definitely think this places ahiflower in the same category as marine oils as regards anti-inflammation. Because of this study’s outcomes, now we’re looking at ahiflower’s applications in a range of athletic and senior nutrition involving joint pain and range of motion and movement.”

Cumberford also said that this recent knowledge opens up opportunities in applications of ahiflower from sports nutrition, fermented beverages, salad dressings, and even powdered drink mixes. Since its 2015 launch, eight brands licensed the ingredient while more than a dozen used ahiflower in their products.

Cumberford stated, “My company has spent over 12 years bringing ahiflower up from wild cultivars. All that work has resulted in a crop that is reproducible, scalable, delivers a competitive return to growers because of the high oil content in seeds, and a higher SDA content in seed than wild-type varieties.”

Posted on WholeFoods Magazine Online, 3/17/17