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medical sciences

Pharmaceutical researchers create new research-based food supplements

Photo credit: Unsplash, Diana Polekhina
Photo credit: Unsplash, Diana Polekhina
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Pharmaceutical researchers of the University of Tartu are developing four new research-based food supplements: one to relieve stress, another to improve sleep, the third to combat viral colds and the fourth to help prevent them.

Professor Ain Raal, Head of the University of Tartu Institute of Pharmacy, admitted that there are many conflicting opinions about food supplements: some say that they do not work, others give examples of cases where a food supplement is proven to be equivalent to medicine. “When it comes to food supplements, it is important to make sure they are based on evidence,” emphasised Raal.

Therefore, researchers at the Institute of Pharmacy set out to increase the number of evidence-based food supplements. “We are developing food supplements in which the long-standing experience of the humankind in the use of natural resources is combined with information based on relevant research. Enriching herbal extracts with other natural additives helps to steer and improve their effect,” said Raal.

Thus, researchers are developing four evidence-based food supplement recipes as well as experimental products. “Besides food supplements that relieve stress, foster falling asleep and improve sleep quality, we are developing two prototypes of supplements based on black elderberry against viral colds. One of them is expected to help ease the infection and the other hopefully reduces the likelihood of catching a cold,” Raal said.

Researchers are hoping to reach experimental products by summer. “Then, we can assess their suitability and, if necessary, make changes. The prototypes suitable for production should be ready in the first quarter of 2022,” said Raal, describing the schedule.

According to Raal, future supplements are suitable for people whose illnesses are not yet acute or chronic. “At that stage, there is no need to intervene with effective synthetic (prescription) medicines for a while, as health can be supported by natural means,” he said, adding that the natural ingredients and Estonian origin of these products are equally important.

Further information:
Ain Raal
Head of the University of Tartu Institute of Pharmacy
+372 502 7574 
ain.raal@ut.ee

Information sent by
Virge Ratasepp
Communication Specialist of the University of Tartu Faculty of Medicine
+372 5815 5392
virge.ratasepp@ut.ee

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