A new study led by Fonterra, the University of Auckland, and the University of Otago revealed that supplementing diets with broad-spectrum phospholipids found naturally in milk fat globule membranes (MFGM) reduces stress.

Project EMPOWER (Employing Milk Phospholipids to Observe Wellbeing Emotional Resiliency) aimed to enrich research in the phospholipids field. The full research paper has been accepted and published in the Journal of Functional Foods. The study extends current research on the role of milk-derived phospholipids in reducing stress.

Overall, the EMPOWER study found a statistically significant 45% reduction in mean stress scores, compared to 21% in the placebo group. This proves an effective link between supplementing with Nutiani Phospholipids and participants’ stress response, the study revealed. 

Researchers examined adults aged between 25 to 60 years old residing in New Zealand. Participants received either Nutiani Phospholipids (Fonterra's MFGM rich powder) or a maltodextrin placebo. They consumed one serving every day for 12 weeks mixed into drinks like smoothies, milk, or water, or sprinkled over breakfast cereal.

 Unlike single phospholipid sources, Nutiani Phospholipids are broad-spectrum phospholipids, containing a range of major phospholipids and sphingolipids, including Phosphatidylserine, Phosphatidylcholine, Phosphatidylethanolamine, Phosphatidylinositol, and Sphingomyelin. Each of these is present in a similar proportion to that of the human brain.

After a check-in on week six and at the end of the 12 weeks, it was found that the group given 300mg of broad-spectrum phospholipids reported significantly lower stress scores than the placebo group.

“These findings are consistent with previous work demonstrating that supplementation with broad-spectrum phospholipids improve the response to a stressful situation,” said Dr. Fuad, Research Clinician/ Health and Nutrition Science Team, Fonterra.