Combating cardiovascular disease: DSM touts prebiotic’s potential for improving heart health
23 Jan 2023 --- A new clinical study on DSM’s Fruitflow prebiotic candidate has been conducted with clinical trial company Atlantia, exploring the supplements’ benefits on cardiovascular health and the gut microbiota through the gut-heart axis. The study found that after four weeks of supplementing the water-soluble tomato concentrate, it decreased fasting blood and urine trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) levels.
Higher TMAO levels have been associated with adverse cardiovascular effects, leading scientists to argue prebiotics potential for cardiovascular health.
“We’re still learning a lot about how the gut interacts with the rest of the body. We know the gut microbiome plays a pivotal role in our health, but we’re still finding out just how much pathways like the gut-heart axis, gut-brain axis, and others can affect our well-being. This was such an exciting study for us. We’re exploring an emerging area of clinical research and seeing some promising results,” Dr. Robert E. Steinert, principal scientist at DSM, tells NutritionInsight.
“To go into more detail on the gut-heart axis, intestinal microbiota and the heart can interact when gut microbial metabolites are reabsorbed in the intestine and then distributed around the body in our blood. TMA is one metabolite, but more research is needed to understand better the pathways underpinning these interactions.”
Fruitflow vs biotics
Steinert explains that the plant polyphenols in the supplement are “prebiotic candidates” but not considered prebiotics. He further explains the difference between different biotics and Fruitflow.
“This is something researchers are currently studying, similar to other carbohydrates that interact with the intestinal microbiome, like resistant starch, pectin and HMOs.”
“Pro- and postbiotics are different as probiotics are live bacteria while postbiotics are “dead” microorganisms – or their components – that confer a health benefit. It’s a rich world in our microbiome.”
He further details that 90-95% of the plant polyphenols in Fruitflow cannot be absorbed in the small intestine. Instead, they travel to the colon, where they interact with the microbiota in the gut.
“When a person eats foods rich in choline, phosphatidylcholine and L-carnitine, the gut microbiota creates TMA, which the liver then turns into TMAO. But by modulating the gut microbiota with the plant polyphenols in Fruitflow, less TMA and TMAO is produced – conferring a cardiovascular benefit,” Steinert says.
Findings for industry
Steinert says that for the gut health industry, the study is another proof of how integral the gut is to a person’s overall well-being. Cardiovascular support is a relatively new health benefit area in the gut health space, so research like this opens the door to a lot of innovation in supplement development.
“Additionally, given that high TMAO levels have also been suggested to play a role in age-related cognitive dysfunction, these findings further suggest a link between the gut microbiota and the brain – through the gut-brain axis,” he adds.
The study has shown that TMAO levels might be lowered by neutral extracts rich in polyphenols. The researchers argue that this might open the door for novel therapeutic approaches in cardiometabolic solutions through the gut-heart axis. Moreover, it might open up potentials through the gut-brain axis and improve mental well-being.
The scientists also argue for the potential benefits of the gut microbiota in conferring other health benefits, such as reducing inflammation and improving cognitive function among the elderly, although they stress that further research is needed.
“DSM is committed to helping people improve their gut health and use this as a gateway to overall well-being. The results of this study are incredibly encouraging and support earlier findings that polyphenol-rich extracts can lower TMAO concentrations through a targeted and beneficial modulation of the gut microbiota,” says Steinert.
“We’re looking forward to working with our customers to develop new dietary supplement solutions targeting the gut-heart axis. Looking ahead, the study paves the way for future research into the gut-brain axis, especially age-related cognitive decline. This is an exciting time for gut-health research,” he concludes.
By Beatrice Wihlander
This feature is provided by FoodIngredientsFirst’s sister website, NutritionInsight.
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