Elderly people who consume the wolfberry fruit in a milk-based formula may strengthen their ability to fight certain infections, according to a new study by Nestlé.
The company’s scientists in Switzerland and China investigated whether giving healthy Chinese people aged 65-70 a daily supplement of ‘lacto-wolfberry’ would enhance their immune response to a seasonal influenza vaccine.
The study, published in the scientific journal Rejuvenation Research, is believed to be the largest randomised controlled clinical trial to examine the effect of wolfberry supplements on the immune response of this population group.
It follows earlier published research conducted by Nestlé scientists into lacto-wolfberry, the company’s proprietary blend of milk protein and wolfberry.
That study, undertaken in collaboration with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, found lacto-wolfberry enabled the fruit’s natural antioxidants to be more easily available to the body after ingestion.
The results showed that while all the participants had increased levels of influenza-specific antibodies after being vaccinated, those who had consumed lacto-wolfberry had a higher increase in antibodies than those in the control group, who had not.
Dr Karine Vidal, the scientist from the Nestlé Research Centre in Switzerland who led the study, said: “People’s natural ability to fight infection often declines as they age, as does their capacity to develop effective vaccine response.
“The outcomes of this study, as well as data from previous research, suggest dietary supplementation with lacto-wolfberry can strengthen the immune system.
“We believe this could translate into a clinical benefit, for example a reduced rate of respiratory infections.”
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