Nutrigenomics point the way to anti-inflammatory supplements

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Green tea extract, Nutrition, Obesity

A supplement containing nutrients selected for their anti-inflammatory action may lead to significant metabolic changes in overweight people, as shown by new nutrigenomic research.

A combination of fish oil, green tea extract, resveratrol, vitamins C and E, and a lycopene-rich tomato extract produced changes to genes associated with inflammation, blood vessel health, and oxidation of fat in the liver, according to findings published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition​.

The supplement was also associated with a 7 per cent increase in levels of adiponectin, a protein hormone linked to various metabolic processes, and levels are inversely related to body fat levels.

“Our approach allowed for the detection of multiple subtle health effects of a mix of dietary components in relatively healthy overweight subjects,”​ wrote the researchers, led by Gertruud Bakker from TNO Quality of Life.

“Furthermore, the changes in concentrations of genes, proteins, and metabolite induced by the ‘anti-inflammatory dietary mix’ appeared to be consistent. This may prove to be an additional advantage of nutrigenomics technologies in human intervention studies, namely enabling the high-sensitivity detection of multiple physiologic changes,”​ they added.

The rise of ‘omics’

Many food companies – both ingredient suppliers and food manufacturers are taking the potential of nutrigenomics very serioulsy. Companies such as Nestle, DSM, and Chr Hansen are all investing heavily in the area. However, actual products are as yet, scarce.

Nutrigenomics is seen by many as the future of nutrition. Nutrigenomics is defined as how food and ingested nutrients influence the genome (personalised nutrition). Nutrigenetics is defined as how a person's genetic make-up affects a response to diet (individual nutrition). The difference between the two is important.

Study details

Bakker and her co-workers looked at the potential of the ‘anti-inflammatory dietary mix’ to counter inflammation in 36 overweight men with mildly elevated levels of inflammatory compounds in the blood (C-reactive protein). Chronic inflammation is brought about by an over-expression or lack of control of the normal protective mechanism. It has been linked to range of conditions linked to heart disease, osteoporosis, cognitive decline and Alzheimer's, type-2 diabetes, and arthritis.

The five week double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study used a supplement containing resveratrol (6.3 milligrams), green tea extract (94.5 mg containing 40 per cent EGCG), alpha-tocopherol (90.7 mg), vitamin C (125 milligrams), omega-3 fatty acids (1200 mg, of which 380 mg is EPA and 260 mg DHA), and tomato extract (3.75 mg of lycopene)

The researchers applied the ‘omics’ approach, including proteomics, metabolomics, and trasncriptomics, to assess 120 plasma proteins, 274 metabolites, and the transcriptomes of blood cells and fat tissue.

In addition to the improvements in adiponectin levels, Bakker and her co-workers detected a “multitude of subtle changes”, “which indicated modulated inflammation of adipose tissue, improved endothelial function, affected oxidative stress, and increased liver fatty acid oxidation”​.

The researchers noted that the compounds were chosen in order to reproduce real life situations, and that levels were determined by data for their individual anti-inflammatory action. “A more optimal combination may exist,”​ they noted.

The study was funded by TNO Quality of Life. TNO is a member of the European Nutrigenomics Organization.

Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.28822
"An anti-inflammatory dietary mix modulates inflammation and oxidative and metabolic stress in overweight men: a nutrigenomics approach"
Authors: G.C.M. Bakker, M.J. van Erk, L. Pellis, S. Wopereis, C.M. Rubingh, N.H.P. Cnubben, T. Kooistra, B. van Ommen, H.F.J. Hendriks
A full-text version of the article is available here​.

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