A revealing journey to South Africa begins at North West University
Plandai Biotechnology has probably chosen to err on the side of 'under promise and over deliver' when it comes to the bioavailability of its green tea extract, Phytofare Catechin Complex. At least after sitting across the desk from North West University's Professor Anne Grobler, that is the conclusion one could reach regarding what Plandai has said about its highly bioavailable extract to date.
Professor Grobler, along with her team of scientists at the University, have been conducting human clinical trials on the company's products, and after spending one day with that team, it was clear they are impressed with Phytofare's bioavailability.
Stock Market Media Group, a content development investor relations firm, has written about Plandai, its technology and its products for almost 2 years, and we recently travelled to South Africa with a film crew to document just what it is that the company has built and operates at the Senteeko Tea Estate. Once the corporate video is completed, it will be released to the public. In the meantime, a series of articles will be released to briefly highlight some of what we learned.
First, we landed in the very crowded Johannesburg, before beginning our journey 2 hours south in Potchefstroom at North West University, home to the largest Pharmacy school in South Africa. The school is ideally set up for drug development and includes each of the necessary steps in the development pipeline from formulation to stability to preclinical studies to clinical trials. Naturally this is an advantage to any company looking to develop pharmaceuticals or nutraceuticals that will require clinical testing and/or regulatory approval.
Scientists are reserved by nature, but after sitting down with Professor Grobler, her facial expressions and excitement when discussing the clinical trial data for Phytofare told the story that Plandai's CEO, Roger Duffield, has been telling for years. The company's Phytofare Catechin Complex was proven to be dramatically more bioavailable than the extract it was compared with in human clinical trials.
We've all heard about the data — with Phytofare, all 8 of the catechins, which come from the leaves of the green tea plant and provide its health benefits, were present in the bloodstream of those people participating in the trial, versus just two of the plant's catechins found when participants used the commercial extract in the trial. Also, Phytofare provided 5 times greater absorption of those catechins, and the clinical trial found that the life span of the catechin's molecules in the bloodstream was doubled in Phytofare.
This is, of course, the data on paper, but it's what is not on paper that was exciting to hear from an animated Professor Grobler when she spoke of all eight catechins, which are a sub-class of flavonoids or antioxidant compounds, that her team found in the bloodstream of participants using Phytofare.
'There are functions that the catechins, which were not previously in the bloodstream, can now perform. I mean it may be a completely new function that can be supplied by the Plandai product because previously those molecules were just not absorbed.'
Her point was powerful. Because there is no real data available showing all 8 of the green tea plant's catechins making it into the bloodstream, she says we could begin to learn about brand new functions that the catechins could carry out in our bodies. When asked about her initial reaction to the results of the study, with a big smile, Professor Grobler said: 'I have to do it again.' She added that the results were 'that dramatic.'
Professor Grobler made a point to repeat the importance of what the study really tells us, which is an area that has not been fully highlighted and explains how the company's green tea extract could be more potent than first reported.
'The duration of circulation of those catechins in the blood was increased dramatically in the case of the Plandai product, and that is important because now you're maintaining a therapeutic level of those molecules in the blood that was previously not possible,' said Grobler.
Make no mistake about it, that data alone could hold the key to Plandai's future with Phytofare. For the end user of the company's green tea extract, the results from this study could be viewed as more beneficial than first reported.
The Professor says with the company's product, a user would only need to take one Phtyofare capsule every 24 hours. She explained: 'After 24 hours, the level of catechins (in the blood) in the case of the Plandai product is still higher than the maximum concentration ever obtained from the commercial green tea extract used in the study.'