In 1999, Kao had introduced Econa, as a diet cooking oil with a food of specified health use (FOSHU) label and in peak times reached sales of 30 billion yen per year. Econa was a mixture of triglycerides and diacylglycerides produced by a 1,3-specific lipase from glycerol and undisclosed fatty acids. When a German laboratory reported trace amounts of potentially carcinogenic glycidol fatty acid esters in Econa, and Kao stopped selling Econa in September 2009. Recently, Kao has announced several studies on α-linolenic acid diacylglycerol (ALA-DAG) using linseed oil (ALA – TAG oil) rich in ALA as a raw material. A part of ALA-DAG is metabolized in the body and converted into EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) or even DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Studies with continuous ingestion of 2.5 g per day in human trials have shown that ALA-DAG improves lipid metabolism such as reduction of visceral fat by. Kao has not yet applied for registration of ALA-DAG.
Kao presentation at 24th Japan Food Chemistry Society, May 18, 2018 in Tokyo