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Canada: Manitoba company converts spuds into supplement that is being studied for its health benefits

An apple a day is all fine and good. But what about a potato? Or more precisely, a raw potato to fight chronic kidney disease.

That’s at the heart of a soon-to-be-launched clinical trial of a made-in-Manitoba dietary supplement consisting of what’s called a resistant starch.

The initiative comes out of one of the world’s leading centres for chronic kidney disease research, the Chronic Disease Innovation Centre at Seven Oaks General Hospital. And it’s the brainchild of nutrition and lifestyle researcher, Dylan Mackay, a University of Manitoba associate professor of community health sciences.

“We’re testing a product that’s made in Carberry to see if it can assist with a problem that we have an over-representation of in Manitoba.”

The product, called MSPrebiotic, is manufactured in Carberry and it largely consists of what’s called resistant starch, which is derived from raw potatoes.

Already another Manitoba-based study has shown the supplement offers promise in managing blood-glucose levels and reducing insulin resistance, a key cause of Type 2 diabetes — which also happens to be a key culprit in chronic kidney disease.

“What we also saw was an increase in… good bacteria… and a decrease in the bad bacteria,” says Jason Leibert, vice-president of business development for MSPrebiotic. “Basically it showed that it can have a positive impact on your microbiome.”