Nov 20 2017 -- A major technological breakthrough by a Kiwi company makes it simple for New Zealanders to be tested for vitamin C blood levels. Newly released data from a University of Otago study shows more than two thirds of Kiwis over 50 are low in vitamin C, more than one in 10 severely so. The Otago researchers say it is time blood is routinely checked for vitamin C levels, as it is now for cholesterol and iron. Vitamin C deficiency can lead to scurvy and other illnesses.
To date, existing technology using a blood sample extracted in a laboratory is only available in some parts of the country and not often utilised.
That is why Auckland company Feedback Research Limited spent five years developing its Feedback C Meter, a more accessible, easier point of care test for vitamin C.
CEO for Feedback Research Jackson Perry says the company believes its patented test for vitamin C is a world first. The company hopes to market the Kiwi-developed product locally next year and worldwide within two years.
Mr Perry is confident the finger prick test would allow vitamin C testing to become as commonly used as blood glucose or cholesterol finger prick tests.
“We are very close to the finish line, and the last piece of the puzzle is finding a local company that can help with vacuum packing the electrodes in foil, which is commonly used for glucose test strips. Our goal is to keep the design and manufacturing of the meter in New Zealand.” If the company can’t find a local partner for this step, it would have to be shipped offshore, Mr Perry says.
“It is very common in New Zealand to test for vitamin B12 and D, but for reasons unknown to us, vitamin C is not routinely tested.”
Scurvy risk identified
In the University of Otago study 400 Christchurch people’s blood was tested for vitamin C.
Only 7% had optimal levels and 13% had very low levels showing pre-clinical signs of scurvy.
“Vitamin C plays a significant role in health, as a wide range of bodily functions depend on optimal levels,” Mr Perry says.
“Dietary changes are effective in overcoming most basic deficiencies. Where appropriate there are a multitude of dietary supplements available, some of which are government subsidised.”
Mr Perry believes low vitamin C levels are largely due to our modern diet and lifestyle.
“Processed, over cooked foods contain very little vitamin C. Stress, chronic and acute illnesses all increase the need for vitamin C, which can only be replaced by eating enough vitamin C rich foods and or supplementation.”
| A Feedback Research Limited release || november 20, 2017 |||