Clinical studies show that oat beta-glucan significantly reduces LDL and total cholesterol and the substance has carried a health claim, approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), since 1997.
However, the health claim requires people to eat at least 3 grams of oat bran soluble fiber daily to reduce the risk of heart disease and this could only be obtained by eating at least two portion of oat cereal.
"Until now, it has been difficult to consume amounts of oat beta-glucan sufficient to reliably control cholesterol, because oats typically contain only 2-4 per cent by weight beta-glucan," said Dr Richard Potter, chief science officer of Nurture. "However, the 54 per cent beta-glucan content of OatVantage provides a concentrated dosage form, which readily permits consumption of efficacious amounts of beta-glucan."
Nurture claims its process produces a more concentrated form of beta-glucan than other extraction methods, making it more suitable for use as an ingredient in supplements.
The company's ingredient, OatVantage Oat Bran Concentrate, is said to contain 54 per cent beta-glucan by weight, compared with 12 to 20 per cent in other concentrated products. It can be used in encapsulation and tableting, semi-solid and solid foods and beverages, functional foods, nutraceuticals and dietary supplements. It is also water soluble.
"Beta-glucan, which has important cholesterol-lowering benefits, has been largely unavailable as a food additive due to the cost-prohibitive nature of conventional extraction," added Potter. "The benefit of this process is that it is entirely aqueous and results in efficient production of beta-glucan concentrates."
Additional patent cases for Nurture's process are pending in the US and internationally.
More than 100 million Americans have elevated cholesterol levels. For the 65 million who are 'borderline high', (200-239 mg/dL), lifestyle modifications such as diet can play a role in maintaining normal cholesterol levels, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP).