An extract from West African sorghum may provide immune benefits, according to a new study people with HIV but with broader health management potential.
The ingredient, commercialized under the Jobelyn brand name by Nigerian company Health Forever Products, was found to enhance the activity of antiretroviral therapy (ARVT) in 51 HIV+ people, report researchers from the 68 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital in Lagos, Nigeria, NIS Labs in Oregon, and Health Forever.
Health Forever sponsored the new research, results of which were published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine .
“The core result presented here is the improvement in CD4+ T-cell numbers over time in the two groups that consumed Jobelyn when compared to the group treated with conventional antiretroviral treatment only,” wrote the researchers.
An additional pilot investigation found that the sorghum extract was associated with increases in hemoglobin, which led the researchers to propose that the Jobelyn may support bone marrow function. Antiviral effects may also be suggested, they added.
“Future clinical studies need to address whether Jobelyn has similar effects in populations with different demographics, diet, and lifestyle, as well as different prevalence of concomitant infectious diseases,” they said.
“These effects by Jobelyn may suggest a role for its use in broader health management, and not limited to HIV or HIV-associated anemia alone. Given the significant effects seen over a relatively short study period in a West African population, consideration should be given to expanding its use in other countries with different health challenges, to help augment health improvements in acute and chronic viral illnesses.”
Jobelyn in the US
In the supplement market, Health Forever has positioned Jobelyn as an antioxidant and immune health ingredient.
Health Forever’s Ademola Okubena told NutraIngredients-USA that Jobelyn is doing, “modest direct to consumer sales in the US dietary supplements market, [and] there's also been a surge with practitioners making orders to use in their different practise to manage an array of disease conditions and for preventative healthcare and this is quite encouraging as they start to build the trust in the efficacy.
“Jobelyn still and will be considered to be not popular even though, the opposite is the case in West Africa and some other regions. We have our work cut out for us with respect with the science and marketing of Jobelyn to be more acceptable and more popular, and that will surely then lead to more commercial applications in the sophisticated US market.”
The sorghum used for the ingredient is sourced in Nigeria from the company’s plantation. “Nigeria is a major sorghum producing country in the world and it has the capacity to produce sufficient sorghum sheaths to meet world demand,” said Okubena.
For the new study, the researchers recruited 51 HIV+ people with in Nigeria and randomly assigned them to antiretroviral therapy (ARVT) with or without additional Jobelyn for 12 weeks. The daily dose of the sorghum extract was 1 gram.
Results showed that all participants experienced significant improvements in their CD4+ T-cell counts, with statistically faster improvement observed in the ARVT plus Joeblyn group.
“Further studies are needed to examine similar effects in other populations, and to elaborate on the underlying mechanisms, specifically, whether the consumption of Jobelyn supported multiple aspects of bone marrow function,” they concluded.
Source: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Published online ahead of print, doi:10.1089/acm.2013.0125
“Clinical Efficacy of a West African Sorghum bicolor-Based Traditional Herbal Preparation Jobelyn Shows Increased Hemoglobin and CD4+ T-Lymphocyte Counts in HIV+ Patients”
Authors: G.I. Ayuba, G.S. Jensen, K.F. Benson, A.M. Okubena, O. Okubena