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International conference on polyphenols and health to be held in Sitges

June 26, 2017

Powerful genomic methods for identifying bacterial types have formed the basis of research in this field to date, and recent advances in the area of analytical techniques have created new tools for studying the metabolome, to identify the diversity of compounds (metabolites) present in the human body with potential health benefits. Thanks to the research potential of these new techniques, a number of scientists - including Dr. Augustin Scalbert, from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, Lyon, France), who works with groups from the University of Alberta (Canada) and the University of Barcelona - are compiling electronic metabolite databases, which they hope will establish parallels between studies of new compounds and existing research in the literature to improve our capacity to predict effects on the human body. "As yet there is not sufficient understanding to define specific nutritional recommendations for the consumption of polyphenols," explains Dr. Augustin Scalbert. "Research should be directed towards a molecular approach. Identifying molecular targets could help to determine causality in population studies."

Individual responses to polyphenols

Another area of innovative research focuses on predicting the responses of different people to polyphenols. Questions remain about the validity of population-wide responses obtained from epidemiological studies focusing on the consumption of certain foodstuffs and the incidence of diseases. However, it has been seen that each individual may present a different response to polyphenols, which has led to studies of what is now called personalized nutrition. This new approach - not yet consolidated but on a firm footing - could help people to improve their own health by incorporating foods rich in certain substances (in this case, polyphenols) into their diets.

Recent research has generated scientific data that can be used to determine the health properties of polyphenol-rich foods, which will have major repercussions not only for consumers but also for the food industry, where it will provide a source of added value in the promotion and distribution of products. Dr. Peter Aggett (University of Lancaster, UK) will present an overview of health declarations and the supplements and superfoods market.

The first edition of the International Conference on Polyphenols and Health was held in 2003 in Vichy (France) under the direction of Dr. Augustin Scalbert, from IARC. Since then, the conference has been held every other year in a different international city. At the fourth edition, which took place in Leeds in 2009, it was decided that the 2011 conference would be directed by Dr. Andr?ęs-Lacueva, from the Faculty of Pharmacy of the UB.

Source: ub