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Soldiers in the field have little or no access to fresh foods and the important nutrients that such foods contain ߝ especially antioxidants. So, the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center in Natick turned to Prof. Robert Nicolosi of the Clinical Laboratory and Nutritional Sciences Department.
“The Army uses some antioxidant additives now, such as Vitamin E, amino acids and spice derivatives, to support health and enhance performance,” says Nicolosi, who directs the Center for Health and Disease Research and conducts extensive research on nutrient delivery systems. “But these are dissolved as suspensions in a drink powder where the nutrient particle sizes are large and not very soluble or stable.
“We have demonstrated that nanoemulsions are more stable and more effective ߝ that is, more bioavailable,” says Nicolosi.
With a $50,000 grant, Nicolosi’s team will conduct two studies. The first will produce and characterize the formulation, starting with 100 variations to determine the optimal formulation. Tests will measure solubility, loading capacity, nutrient release and stability under extreme conditions of temperature and pH.
The second study will determine the bioavailability of the compounds when delivered as nanoemulsions, using animal models and testing for oral, transdermal and intramuscular delivery.
“We hope to complete these pre-clinical trials in one year and then advance to human trials, possibly using soldiers at Natick and University athletes,” says Nicolosi, who is joined on the study by Assoc. Prof. Thomas Wilson of the same department and co-director of the Center, and by doctoral candidates Srikanth Kakumanu and Fonghsu Kuo.