Metabolomics in nutraceuticals

30 / 03 2021

Understanding the mechanisms of action of natural active ingredients and evaluating their efficacy and safety still represent a challenge in the field of food supplements.

The richness of the phytocomplex and the multiplicity of action targets that characterize many of the natural active ingredients go well with the holistic vision of the metabolomic approach, a science that studies the general profile of the metabolites of an organism and how these vary as a result of stimuli of various nature.

The research group of Professor Stefano Dall’Acqua with the collaboration of the Department of Chemical Sciences and the Department of Molecular Medicine of the University of Padua and with the participation of the University of Trieste has studied the effects of a prolonged administration of different plant extracts commonly used (Vaccinum macrocarpon, Polygonum cuspidatum, Curcuma longa, Coffea robusta) on the urinary metabolome, both in healthy subjects and in laboratory animals.

On the one hand, these studies have made it possible to correlate the administration of plant extracts to the presence of urinary markers linked to specific physiological transformations, such as the metabolism of fatty acids and the reduction of inflammatory activity, providing information on the mechanism of action, and from the other allowed to demonstrate the active role of the intestinal microbiota, whose composition and activity is influenced following the administration of the extract.

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