By: Liliam Lee Hernández
Among the many research lines of Cuban business group LABIOFAM, the nutritional supplement Acitan, has kept a team of scientists quite busy.
This is a complex food obtained from the pseudostem of the banana plant, which LABIOFAM specialists have evaluated as a prebiotic food.
Based on the traditional use of plantain sap for the treatment of various health conditions, researchers discovered that the pseudostem of the plant could also be used as a therapeutic alternative.
After achieving a physical and chemical characterization of this part of the plant through biological and toxicological analysis, which demonstrated the safety of its use in humans, LABIOFAM obtained a product rich in dietary fibre, minerals, vitamin C and polyphenolic compounds.
Together, these properties confirm Acitan as a nutritional supplement, already registered at the Nutrition and Food Hygiene Institute.
This powder is classified as a prebiotic non-digestible food that has a positive impact on the body and intestinal flora by stimulating the growth and activity of one or more strains of bacteria. María Regla Pérez Capote, MSC, head of the team developing the Acitan powder, stated “this powder can be quite beneficial for people with gastrointestinal and immune system disorders for its immuno-stimulatory and anti-inflammatory properties. It can be used in the prevention of illnesses related to lack of dietary fibres, while it also helps lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels.” As a natural product, it is fit for consumption for those from over two years of age to the elderly. The LABIOFAM medical team has been using it for several years for patients with diverse ailments with no reported adverse reactions.
The Acitan supplement now comes in powder, pill, and flavoured forms. Plans are underway for it to be made in cereal form with a high dietary fibre level similar to that of wheat bran.