Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Soluble aspirin is a universally accepted treatment regime for preventing blood clotting and consequent myocardial infraction and stroke. That aspirin does not go well with many users has spawned many alternatives from the pharma industry. But it was known that some fruits do exhibit aspirin like activity at significant levels and Tomato has been extensively studied for the same property. Commercial products based on Tomato seeds are now available as food supplements approved by food safety agencies in some countries. Here is a take on that.

Fruitflow, a tomato-extract product developed by Provexis, has been found effective to prevent blood clots that risk heart attacks and strokes without the side-effects of the widely used blood thinner Aspirin. Fruitflow is a water-soluble tomato concentrate. Clinical studies using Fruitflow that compared the effects on platelet aggregation of the tomato-extract product and aspirin showed that up to 30 percent reduction from baseline platelet aggregation. Platelet aggregation can contribute to unwanted clot formation in the bloodstream.

The seven-months long human studies also examined the interactions between Fruitflow and aspirin consumed together. Aspirin could lead to gastric ulceration and bleeding.The effect takes place within three hours of consumption and lasts for up to eighteen hours, making it ideal for daily dosage in functional foods or dietary supplements.

Provexis has developed a syrup format for use in food & beverages and a concentrated powder format for tablets and capsules.Fruitflow syrup is GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) by the US FDA and is not regarded as a Novel Food in the EU, clearing it for wide use in foods, beverages and supplements. In May 2009, the Fruitflow technology was the first to be substantiated by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) under the new Article 13(5) for proprietary and emerging science. In December 2009 the European Commission authorised the health claim "Helps maintain normal platelet aggregation, which contributes to healthy blood flow", which was the first wording to be authorised under Article 13(5). The technology has been granted patents in the EU, US, Australia, Canada and Mexico, with Japan pending. Further patents have been filed for the bioactive components of Fruitflow and for other developmental areas such as deep vein thrombosis and triglyceride lowering. Discovered by Professor Asim Dutta Roy at the Rowett Institute in 1999, the technology has been developed by the Provexis team in recent years. This development programme includes eight clinical trials. The product is commercially-ready for delivery in a wide range of food, beverage and dietary supplement formats.

Besides blood thinning, aspirin is also taken for controlling inflammation in many people, especially those suffering from the painful arthritis. Whether the Tomato extract has this property also is not clear. While patenting is a genuine tool to recover investments in R & D, it is debatable whether such an invention as the present one that can influence the lives of millions of people across the world can be allowed to be "bottled up" for use only by affluent people. Probably WHO should think of buying the technology from the private developers for mass application in all countries under its charter. This development hopefully will not deprive the consumer of the pleasure of eating tomato which is an integral part of many salad preparations.


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