Functional nutrition as a natural strategy against the metabolic syndrome, the epidemic of the 21st century
The metabolic syndrome, also known as Reaven’s syndrome or insulin resistance syndrome has become one of the major public health problems in many industrialized countries, being considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the most important epidemic of the century. The high and increasing prevalence of this syndrome in recent years is due in large part to change in lifestyle associated with a decrease in physical activity along with inadequate dietary factors. The prevalence is around 24% in the general population (both men and women) and about 50% in patients with ischemic heart disease or other vascular condition.
This syndrome is defined as a set of metabolic derangements consisting of central distribution obesity, decreased cholesterol concentration lipoprotein high density (HDL), elevated triglycerides, increased blood pressure and hyperglycemia. All these disorders carry a high risk of diabetes, dyslipidemia and cardiovascular disease, and therefore an increase in mortality.
In this context, the METASIN project is born: “Research, development and commercialization of new multifunctional food for metabolic syndrome,” managed in the working group Food and Health Platform for Life Spain (PTF4LS), which has been approved in the call CIEN 2015 strategic program, managed by the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI).
This program funds large industrial research and experimental development, develops effective collaboration by business groups and is oriented to the realization of planned research in strategic areas of the future with international potential.
The main objective of the METASIN project is to research and develop active ingredients, food and multifunctional food supplements capable of influencing the pathologies and risk factors associated with the metabolic syndrome, in order to improve holistically the quality of life of this population sector.
As a whole, the project will involve a total investment of 10 million euros and eight Spanish companies in the biotechnology and food sector, with strong scientific and technological capacity and international presence. All of them, aware of the extent of this epidemic as related to the nutritional habits of the population, have joined the challenge for today’s society to fight against the metabolic syndrome and associated diseases: Biosearch, SA, company project coordinator, specialized in research, development, production and marketing of healthy natural ingredients; SOUTH-COOSUR OILS, S.A., a company with over a century of experience dedicated to the production of olive oil and table sauces; ALGAENERGY, S.A., technology-based company focused on the development of novel products derived from microalgae; INDUSTRIAL AROMATIC CREATIONS, S.A. (CARINSA), whose principal activity is the creation, manufacture and marketing of all kinds of fragrances, flavors and additives prepared; DAIRY FEIRACO, S.L., a reference in the Galician milk sector, focused on the collection, processing and marketing of cow’s milk and products; GO FRUSELVA, S.L., specializing in the development and Co-manufacturing purees, smoothies, juices, nectars and glass in pouch format; MAHOU, SA, a leading Spanish beer sector and LIFE (APEX INNOVATION AND DEVELOPMENT FOOD, SA), a company belonging to Galletas Gullón, SA, one of the first galleteras in Europe and one of the leading food companies in Spain company , leader in the cookie-health segment.
Important research groups from different universities and technology centers in Spain also collaborate in the METASIN project, as LEITAT Acondicionamiento Tarrasense, scientific coordinator of the project, which has extensive experience in research, development and industrial innovation and management cooperation projects, the University of Granada, Jaen, Santiago de Compostela, Pablo de Olavide, Polytechnic university of Valencia, the Dairy Products Institute (IPLA-CSIC), the Institute for Research in Food Science (CIAL-CSIC ), AINIA technology Center, CARTIF, IRTA, FIBAO and the National Association of Manufacturers of canned seafood (ANFACO-CECOPESCA).
During the four-year duration of the METASIN project, a variety of prototypes of new bioactive ingredients (microalgae, probiotics, plant extracts, oils, fats and milk fractions, etc.) and food (dairy, meat, creams, drinks will be developed, oil, etc.) with multifunctional character, whose nutritional profile and effectiveness, will be developed and supported by sufficient scientific evidence. The approach is global in order to influence the various risk factors associated with the various manifestations of the metabolic syndrome such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, NAFLD, hyperuricemia, the polycystic ovary syndrome syndrome, and obstructive sleep apnea.
In developing these new products they will also take care, specially, at the organoleptic characteristics of the products developed in order to offer solutions that besides effective are pleasing to the consumer, thus promoting their inclusion in the diet. The METASIN project is therefore a bet of biotechnology and food companies in the consortium to fight the metabolic syndrome through innovation in the field of food.