A new clinical trial aims to provide scientific evidence of the role of Pāmu deer milk in supporting a healthy lifestyle and improving the general nutrition in a community-dwelling older population over the age of 65.

Funded by the High-Value Nutrition (HVN) Ko Nga Kai Whai Painga National Science Challenge Professor Marlena Kruger at Massey University has been awarded $244,000 for a project to be conducted in conjunction with industry partner, Pāmu.

Pāmu deer milk is a natural source of concentrated nutrition. The composition and sensory aspects of deer milk have been thoroughly researched and could offer improved nutritional status and vitality due to its unique composition; it has significantly higher protein content compared to cow’s milk with a different protein/fat ratio. Deer milk naturally contains vitamins and minerals that support skeletal and immune health, with additional minor components possessing anti-inflammatory effects.

“Muscle mass declines after 50 and older adults become prone to arthritis, showing potential for older adults to gain considerable benefit from the increased protein and anti-inflammatory properties of Pāmu deer milk” says co-principal investigator and nutritionist, Professor Pamela von Hurst.

The project involves a randomised comparison trial recruiting 120 women over the age of 65 with a low to normal BMI. There will be a focus on Asian ethnicity where recruitment allows for it. Participants will consume either 200ml deer milk or a commercial oral nutrition supplement daily for 10 weeks.

“This project will provide scientific evidence for the role of deer milk in supporting a healthy lifestyle and improving general nutrition in a community-dwelling older population over the age of 65,” says lead researcher Professor Marlena Kruger.

“Pāmu see a clear market opportunity in the healthy ageing space, providing a natural and great tasting nutritional solution,” says Joanne Todd, HVN Challenge Director.

“The research findings from this project will add to the existing dossier of scientific evidence for Pāmu deer milk and will be fundamental to commercialisation of a finished product that could underpin a new industry in New Zealand”.

Pāmu are focusing on China and South East Asian markets for product commercialisation, hence the desire to target an Asian population in the trial. Pāmu deer milk is sourced through the partnership with Peter & Sharon McIntyre and a Pāmu pilot scale farm in the Central Plateau.

The Māori word ‘Pāmu’ literally means ‘to farm’ but also reflects the Māori concept of guardianship of the environment. Pāmu shares with Māori a desire to see the land thrive while running productive and profitable farms. Some Pāmu farms will eventually return to iwi ownership as part of Treaty of Waitangi settlements and Pāmu are committed to working together with Māori to ensure land is farmed in a sustainable way that incorporates Te Ao Māori principles.

The High-Value Nutrition Challenge is a mission-led programme of innovative research into the health attributes of New Zealand-produced foods for our major export markets. The Challenge will, over the next four years, fund a number of projects through a competitive contestable funding process, and has recently approved other contestable funding projects that will be completed together with business partners.

About Pāmu Pāmu is the brand name for Landcorp, a Stated Owned Enterprise, and one of New Zealand’s most innovative farmers and food businesses. It is also the name given to the quality products created by the company. Pāmu is the Māori word ‘to farm’ and reflects the deep connection New Zealanders have with the land, born from respect, and a genuine desire to protect and enhance the environments in which the company works. It’s a proud provenance that stands behind every product bearing the Pāmu name.

Read more about the Pāmu deer milk Contestable Project.