De­pres­sion break­through on hori­zon

Townsville Bulletin - - News -

A SMALL New Zealand com­pany says it is win­ning a world­wide race to ex­tract a brain acid from al­gae which may pro­vide a rem­edy for de­pres­sion.

Henderson-based Pho­tonz, backed by The Ware­house founder Stephen Tin­dall, is pro­duc­ing micro­organ­isms which gen­er­ate eicos­apen­taenoic acid (EPA), one of the two omega-3 un­sat­u­rated fatty acids nor­mally found in fish which eat the al­gae.

The NewZealand Her­al­dreported that the acid and its cousin, known as DHA, have be­come a holy grail for the food in­dus­try be­cause they are seen as ben­e­fi­cial for a range of mod­ern disor­ders from heart dis­ease to dyslexia and at­ten­tion deficit hy­per­ac­tiv­ity dis­or­der.

Pho­tonz chief ex­ec­u­tive Karl Geiringer said his com­pany was fo­cused on de­pres­sion be­cause New Zealand had one of the world’s high­est rates of de­pres­sive disor­ders.

‘‘We also have one of the low­est fish con­sump­tions,’’ he said.

Mr Geiringer said there had been a study by Joseph Hibbeln at the United States Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health in the late 1990s which looked at 60 coun­tries and plot­ted fish con­sump­tion and de­pres­sion.

‘‘Right across all the 60 coun­tries there was an in­verse cor­re­la­tion — Ja­pan at one end with the high­est fish con­sump­tion and low de­pres­sion, and New Zealand at the other end with the re­verse,’’ he said.

A trial in Durham, Eng­land, re­cently found that 40 per cent of chil­dren with dyslexia and other learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties showed dra­matic learn­ing im­prove­ments by tak­ing sup­ple­ments of EPA and other brain acids.

Mr Geiringer said DHAwas­now com­monly ex­tracted from fish oil and was used in baby for­mula, but EPA was harder to ex­tract.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.