Universitat Rovira i Virgili

MoBioFood team unraveling new year's challenges!!!

Preventive long-lasting effects of food bioactives on gastrointestinal tract under metabolic homeostatic challenges: obesogenic diet and aging.

The group has recently obtained funding from the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad of the Spanish Government to unravel how food bioactives can modulate the effects of two metabolic homeostatic challenges (obesogenic diet and aging) on the gastrointestinal tract.

Abstract of the project:

Loss of quality of life in individuals is associated with loss of metabolic robustness. This is now a problem in developed societies and a growing phenomena in developing countries due to high food availability but also due to a longer life expectancy. Previous results from our group in rodents indicate that subchronic treatments with proanthocyanidins may act as preventives against metabolic distortions induced by an obesogenic diet and that this effectiveness may have a relatively prolonged duration (longer than eight weeks). These healthy effects are observed on general aspects such as body weight, adiposity and type of oxidative substrate, but also on specific parameters of intestinal wall functionality, such as physiological barrier or immunoenteroendocrine functions.

In this context, we hypothesize that "extracts rich in proanthocyanins, through their interaction with the gastrointestinal tract, could condition the organism's functionality in a prolonged way, preventing loss of metabolic flexibility associated with metabolic challenges of high incidence in the current population, obesogenic diets and/or aging".

The general objective of this proposal is to determine the effectiveness and mechanisms by which proanthocyanidins act in the long term on the enteroendocrine and immunoprotective function of the gastrointestinal tract by improving the metabolic homeostasis distorted by obesogenic diets and/or aging.

Since the gastrointestinal tract is the gateway to our organism, we propose also to initiate the evaluation of the bioactivity of insect protein sources on the barrier and on  immunoenteroendocrine function on human colon. Being a secondary objective to identify new bioactive compounds to these functions derived from protein sources of high biological quality and respectful towards the environment.

The results of this study aim to define the memory effects of extracts rich in proanthocyanids at the level of the gastrointestinal tract that can lead to the definition of bioactive or nutraceutical foods with preventive capacity using a sporadic dosage against situations of overweight and aging. These results could lead to a patent that would be of applicability in the next few years. We also expect to generate new knowledge regarding the functionality of intestine and the use of new and more sustainable protein substrates.


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