The latest project, led by Professor Marlena Kruger from Massey University, will examine the role of GSM in assisting a significant part of the Aotearoa New Zealand population who are healthy, but living with early stages of osteoarthritis.
It includes funding of $350,000 over 24 months and follows two earlier projects, the first of which provided evidence in pre-clinical models of GSM's ability to help protect against cartilage damage.
The second study aims to evaluate this in healthy individuals, while the latest research will evaluate effects among those with early signs of osteoarthritis.
Collectively this research could inform the consideration of health claims not only for osteoarthritis symptoms such as functionality and pain, but also for physiological signs of osteoarthritis such as cartilage breakdown.
It will also contribute to the understanding of the mechanism causing recession of symptoms such as inflammation and cartilage degradation.
An estimated 18 per cent of women and 9.6 per cent of men worldwide have symptomatic osteoarthritis, making it the leading cause of disability in older adults.
Progress and presentation of the disease can vary among individuals, but there is a common pathway of joint structure pathogenesis suggesting the possibility of a common treatment in the early stages of the disease.
The research team will build on the successful collaboration between industry and leading New Zealand scientists established previously. The team will incorporate the expertise of scientists from Massey University, the Cawthron Institute, with the support of Sanford, bringing together experts in bone and joint health and nutrition.
Sanford Limited is New Zealand’s largest GSM producer, generating over 35 per cent of the country’s output, and is actively working to improve all aspects of GSM breeding, production, processing and food innovation.
“Regular consumption of GSM may be a simple way to reduce inflammation and protect cartilage in joints,” says Professor Marlena Kruger.
“This study will produce clinical evidence demonstrating the impacts of consuming New Zealand GSM in combatting early stages of osteoarthritis. Results of the study will increase our understanding of the cause of osteoarthritis, while taking another step towards clinically validated health claims for New Zealand GSM foods.”
The HVN Challenge is a mission-led programme of innovative research into the health and wellbeing attributes of New Zealand produced foods for our major export markets. The Challenge will over the next five years fund a number of projects through a competitive contestable funding process, and has recently approved other contestable funding projects that will be completed together with business partners.