The Warsaw Voice » The Polish Science Voice » Monthly - August 28, 2015
Nutrition
You have to be logged in to use the ReadSpeaker utility and listen to a text. It's free-of-charge. Just log in to the site or register if you are not registered user yet.
Food Enriched with Healthy Acids
   
In another project focusing on healthy foods, Polish researchers found a way to enrich food with fatty acids of the omega-3 class, which help prevent cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases and have anti-cancer properties.

Healthy omega-3 polyunsaturated acids are found in flax seed oil, fish and fish oil, walnuts and pumpkin seeds. Studies on the impact of polyunsaturated fatty acids on human health have shown that these acids are necessary to keep the cardiovascular and nervous systems in good shape. They also reduce the risk of certain kinds of tumors.

The research on omega-3 acids is being conducted by a consortium led by FLC Pharma, a producer of dietary supplements. FLC Pharma has contributed zl.635,000 to the research project and has teamed up with the Faculty of Chemistry of the University of Wrocław and the Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences in a project consortium. The project was co-financed with zl.712,000 from the National Center for Research and Development under its Innotech program.

According to Dr. Tomasz Wysoczański, CEO of FLC Pharma, people should consume as much omega-3 as possible while limiting their intake of omega-6. The food industry tends to overuse rapeseed and sunflower oil, which are both rich in omega-6, Wysoczański says. As a result, our bodies contain 30 to 50 times more omega-6 on average than we need. “The omega-3 to omega-6 ratio should be one to four, while in reality it’s 1:30 in Western Europe and up to 1:50 in the United States,” says Wysoczański.

According to Wysoczański, an excessive amount of omega-6 fatty acids in a daily diet may lead to the development of arteriosclerotic vascular disease, whose consequences include blocked arteries, strokes, heart failure, cardiovascular disease and problems with blood circulation in the legs. Too much omega-6 has also been deemed responsible for cancer and degenerative diseases of the central nervous system, including Alzheimer’s, Wysoczański says. When a cell builds its membrane using saturated fatty acids instead of polyunsaturated ones, the membrane thickens and hinders communication between the cell and its environment, he says. The cells can malfunction, opening the way for diseases including cancer.


Factfile

The “New bioactive foods with programmed health-promoting properties” project was carried out by a research consortium called Bioaktywna Żywność (Bioactive Food). Led by the Poznań University of Life Sciences, the consortium, which was established in 2010, included several other partners from Poznań—the Institute of Natural Fibers and Medicinal Plants, the Poznań University of Economics, and the Poznań University of Medical Sciences—as well as the University of Life Sciences in Lublin in eastern Poland and the Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences in the southwestern city of Wrocław.