Functional food as a natural strategy against Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome has become one of the main issues in public health, it is considered by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the most important epidemic in the twenty first century. The elevated and increasing prevalence of this syndrome in the last few years is largely due to the change in lifestyle, characterized by a decrease in physical activities along with unsatisfactory dietary factors.
This syndrome is defined as a set of metabolic alterations consisting of central obesity distribution, decrease of cholesterol concentration linked to the high density lipoproteins (HDL), elevation in triglycerides, an increase in arterial pressure and hyperglycaemia. All of these changes involve a heightened risk of suffering from diabetes, dyslipidemia and cardiovascular disease and as a result, an increase in mortality and morbidity derived from these causes.
The METASIN Project: “Research, development and innovation in new multifunctional foods for metabolic syndrome”, was born in this context, and developed in the Food and Health working group of the Food for Life Spain (PTF4LS) platform, which was approved in the 2015 announcement of the CIEN strategic programme, managed by the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI).
This programme finances large industrial research projects and experimental development aimed at conducting planned research in strategic areas of the future and with potential international impact.
The METASIN project’s main goal is to investigate and develop active ingredients, food and multifunctional food supplements capable of having an influence over the diseases and risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome, in order to comprehensively improve the lives of this sector of the population.
In its entirety, this Project involves a total investment of around 10 million Euros and will be carried out by eight Spanish companies in the biotechnology and food sector, with strong scientific and technological capacity and presence at international level. All of them, aware of the scope of this epidemic relating to the nutritional habits of the population, have united in the challenge which, for our society today, involves the fight against metabolic syndrome and associated diseases: BIOSEARCH, S.A., The company coordinating the Project, specialised in research, development, production and marketing of healthy ingredients of natural origin; ACEITES DEL SUR-COOSUR, S.A., a company with over a century of experience dedicated to the preparation of olive oils and table sauces; ALGAENERGY, S.A., Technology based company focused on the development of innovative products derived from microalgae; CREACIONES AROMÁTICAS INDUSTRIALES, S.A. (CARINSA), whose main business is the creation, production and marketing of all kinds of fragrances, aromas and prepared additives; FEIRACO LÁCTEOS, S.L., A reference in the Galician dairy sector, focused on the collection, processing and marketing of cow’s milk and derivatives; GO FRUSELVA, S.L., specialized in the development and co-manufacture of purées, smoothies, juices, nectars in pouch and glass formats; MAHOU, S.A., A leading company in the Spanish beer sector and VIDA (VÉRTICE DE INNOVACIÓN Y DESARROLLO DE ALIMENTOS, S.A.), a society belonging to Galletas Gullón, S.A., one of the main biscuit manufacturers in Europe and one of main food manufacturers in Spain, a leader within the healthy-biscuit sector.
Major research groups are also cooperating in the METASIN Project from various universities and technological centres in Spain including LEITAT- Acondicionamiento Tarrasense, scientific coordinator of the Project which has extensive experience in research, development and industrial innovation tasks, as well as in collaborative Project management, the University of Granada, Jaén, Santiago de Compostela, Pablo de Olavide in Seville, Polytechnic of Valencia, the Institute of Dairy Products (IPLA-CSIC), The Institute of Food Sciences (CIAL-CSIC), AINIA Technological Centre, CARTIF, IRTA, FIBAO and the National Association of canned fish and shellfish (ANFACO-CECOPESCA).
Throughout the four years that the METASIN project will continue, a large variety of prototypes will be developed, of new bioactive ingredients (microalgae, probiotics, vegetable extracts, oils, fats and dairy fractions, among others) and foods (dairy, meat, creams, drinks, oil, cereal bars, pancakes, etc.) of a multifunctional nature, of which the nutritional profiles and effectiveness will be sustained by appropriate scientific evidence. The approach will be global, in order to influence the risk factors related to the various manifestations of metabolic syndrome, such as type 2 diabetes Mellitus, cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic fat liver disease, hyperuricemia, polycystic ovary syndrome and the obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome.
In the development of these new products, special care will be taken of the organoleptic features of the products developed, in order to offer solutions which, as well as being effective, will be to the satisfaction of the consumer and therefore become part of the regular diet.
The METASIIN project is, therefore, a commitment for the biotechnical and agri-food companies making up the consortium to fight against metabolic syndrome through innovation in the field of food.
With this project, Biosearch Life intends to develop and market new, healthy ingredients which involve a natural alternative for the prevention and/or treatment of diseases associated with metabolic syndrome, through their three product platforms: Omega 3 lipids (EPA, DHA), Vegetable extracts and isolated Probiotics from breast milk.