Yvonne Konkol, University of Turku, telephone: +358 2 333 7907, e-mail: yvonne.konkol(at)utu.fi
A spruce based hemicellulose extract has been identified as a remedy for lower urinary tract problems of men. Hemicellulose is a plant-based fibre that can be isolated for example from spruce.
By-products of the wood industry, such as sawdust, can be used as the raw material for the extract. The extract is isolated from the pulp with water.
So far the effect has been discovered in research and the specific mechanism requires further research. Animal testing has indicated that the extract greatly reduces problems in the lower urinary tract, without adverse effects in human behaviour, for example in eating habits.
It will still take a long time for the extract to hit the shelves of a store as the legislation concerning food supplements is strict in Finland. The product is yet to be tested on humans.
Possibly the biggest advantage of the extract is in its ecological qualities. Instead of requiring completely new plantations, the extract can be produced from by-products of existing production processes in, for example, forest industry.