Bioactive compounds are generally nutrients found in food that have potential health benefits. Some of these compounds, including dietary fibers and antioxidants, may help in the prevention and/or management of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and even heart disease.1,2 Food and beverage manufacturers are increasingly developing fortified “functional foods” that incorporate these nutrients, making these foods a hot topic for scientific research.
A recent study from researchers in Europe assessed the impact of these functional foods on cholesterol and triglycerides found in serum.3 Both cholesterol and triglycerides can provide helpful insight into the possible risk of metabolic syndrome, a term used to describe a collection of different metabolically related diseases and conditions. These include things like heart disease, diabetes, and even stroke. The study, which used Bruker BioSpin’s nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy technology, may lead the way in how metabolic syndrome risk is assessed.
Bioactives and Functional Foods: The Impact on Human Health
Functional foods are becoming increasingly popular. Additionally, the dietary supplement industry, which typically contains bioactive ingredients, have grown exponentially over the past decade. Often, bioactive ingredients are included in food or nutraceutical products at levels higher than what is naturally found in food. This helps increase the optimal dose levels that are associated with the probable health benefits.
An 1H-NMR-Based Analysis Finds Plasma Metabolic Changes After Eating Omega-3-Fortified Food
In a new NMR-based plasma metabolomics study, researchers looked at the impact of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid commonly found in fish, on plasma lipids in people with risk factors for metabolic syndrome.3 This study was performed partly due to prior research that found a correlation between increased DHA intake and decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.4
The study included 117 healthy volunteers with either an increased waist circumference, high fasting triglycerides, elevated blood pressure, or high fasting blood sugar. Once a day over a 4-week period, participants were given either milkshakes, biscuits, or pancakes enriched with DHA, anthocyanins, oat beta-glucan (oat fiber), DHA plus anthocyanins, or DHA plus oat beta-glucan.
1H-NMR Analysis using Bruker IVDr system
All serum samples were analyzed by 1H NMR using a Bruker Avance IVDr 600 MHz system (Bruker Avance III HD with a 5 mm PATXI 1H-13C-15N probe with automatic tuning-matching, z-axis gradient coil, and Bruker’s automatic and refrigerate sample changer SampleJet) and following the Bruker SOPs for sample preparation and analysis. Bruker’s bodyfluid NMR methods package B.I.Methods 1.0 was used for fully automated acquisition and processing and the Lipoprotein Subclasses distribution were performed on the spectra using the Bruker IVDr Lipoprotein Subclasses Analysis (B.I.LISA). The results of the study showed that consumption of DHA plus the oat fiber resulted in strong lipid profile rearrangement. Reductions in very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) particle number as well as a decrement in triglyceride number were observed in the group that received DHA plus oat beta-glucan. Total apolipoprotein B100 (ApoB100) and LDL particle number, particularly small and dense LDL subparticles, were observed in participants who consumed DHA. Dietary intake of DHA, however, was also associated with an overall reduction in the ApoB100/apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA1) ratio, which suggests DHA may reduce the risk of atherogenesis and metabolic syndrome.
The researchers wrote that NMR-based metabolomic studies and 1H-NMR based lipoprotein subclass analysis may help researchers, lab professionals, and even clinicians in identifying changes in the patients’ metabolic syndrome risk profile during and after dietary intervention. While promising, future studies that include a placebo group and appropriate blinding may help validate these findings.