Ahiflower oil shows promise in use during total parenteral nutrition according to recent study


A recent animal study conducted by the University of Alberta in Edmonton Canada compared the use of Ahiflower oil with soybean oil and fish oil during administration of total parenteral nutrition.

Image courtesy of Nature's Crops International

Image courtesy of Nature's Crops International

A recent animal study1 conducted by the University of Alberta in Edmonton Canada compared the use of oil from the seeds of Buglossoides Arvensis, sold commercially as Ahiflower by Nature's Crops International (Winston-Salem, NC), with soybean oil and fish oil during administration of total parenteral nutrition (TPN). TPN is a method of feeding patients which bypasses the gastrointestinal tract. It is used as a last resort for providing complete nutrition to patients with severely compromised digestive pathways, such as those with Crohn’s Disease or bowel cancer, for example. These nutrients are delivered as a lipid emulsion, typically soybean oil or fish oil, because they are sources of essential omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. However, these emulsions can also be associated with side effects such as inflammation, reduced immune function, reduced glucose sensitivity and poor gut microflora.

Results showed that TPN with the ahiflower oil was associated with significantly lower inflammation, improved insulin sensitivity, and improved gut microbiota, compared to that of soybean oil or fish oil. “The results of our study demonstrate that a novel lipid emulsion based on this oil has remarkable anti-inflammatory, insulin-sensitizing and immunity enhancing properties acting as ‘immunonutrition’ during TPN,” said Professor Michael Zaugg, one of the study’s co-authors, in a press release. “This unique oil could be of particular benefit to vulnerable patients at risk of infection, sepsis patients with ‘immune paralysis’ as well as cancer patients.”

Ahiflower­ – also known as Corn Gromwell where it is native in the UK ­– is a highly sustainable plant-based alternative to fish oil, and cultivated using regenerative agricultural practices. “We started growing Corn Gromwell as a replacement for oilseed rape and have found it to be an excellent break crop that is financially viable in its own right,” explained Iain Hust, a farmer in Yorkshire. “Its lower agrochemical input requirements and smaller carbon footprint fit well with our regenerative approach to farming, particularly at a time of very high fertilizer costs. We like the fact that there does not have to be a trade-off between environmental and financial gain. Ahiflower brings diversity to the rotation and the soil structure enhancing benefits after growing the crop making it an ideal entry for direct drilled wheat. We are unlikely to go back to growing OSR again.”


  1. Lucchinetti, E.; Lou, P.H.; Holtzhauer, G., et al. Novel Lipid Emulsion for Total Parenteral Nutrition Based on 18-Carbon n-3 Fatty Acids Elicits a Superior Immunometabolic Phenotype in a Murine Model Compared With Standard Lipid Emulsions. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2022, 116 (6), 1805-1819. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqac272.
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