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A stronger heart with flavonoids

A polyphenols-rich diet keeps the heart younger. This finding comes out from a study by the University of Grenoble in collaboration with the other Centres participating to the FLORA Project, a European Commission funded research studying the effects of flavonoids, a variety of polyphenols, on human health.

The scientific work, published in the Journal of Nutrition, is one of the few approaching this field by in vivo studies. So far- says Marie-Claire Toufektsian, leading author of the study- the biological and protective activities of various flavonoids have been extensively studied in vitro, on cell- based assays. Nevertheless, this kind of approach has a major limitation: it is extremely difficult to assess precisely the nature of all flavonoids absorbed following consumption of plants present in a given meal. In other words, laboratory cultured cells alone are not sufficient to study a complex mechanism such as that of absorption of food flavonoids. That is why we need to turn attention on other features. The most obvious solution appeared to be to study the effects of this kind of polyphenols on experimental animals. The turning point started from plants: those rich in flavonoids made the case of researchers.

Toufektsian used two kinds of corn: one anthocyanin-free (anthocyanins is a variety of flavonoids) and the other, obtained by the Department of Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology of University of Milan through traditional cultivation techniques with no transgenic modifications, rich in anthocyanins. The corn seeds were introduced into a rodent food formula in order to obtain two groups of rats following two different kinds of diet for a couple of months says Chiara Tonelli, head of the Milan group. In the meantime researchers accurately measured the anthocyanins levels in urine and plasma samples from the two groups of rats by using a method developed by the Research Laboratories at the Catholic University of Campobasso. Then r

Contact: Americo Bonanni
Catholic University

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