Developing tools, guidance and supporting materials to scientifically substantiate health benefits of foods

Strategic vision

The task force focuses on specific components of the diet to assess their benefits for improvement and maintenance of health and wellness beyond basic nutrition.

Background

Health benefits need to be supported by scientific evidence before being communicated via health or nutrition claims or other means.

Objectives

  • Develop guidance and tools to define the scientific substantiation of benefits of foods and food constituents for maintenance and improvement of health and wellness.
  • Identify factors and compounds to help ensure health claims can meet regulatory standards.
  • Help understand the role of the microbiome in metabolising food constituents and mediating health benefits of foods.

Background

The most recent publications on ‘ Gut Microbiota Functions: Metabolism of Nutrients and other Food Components’ (I. Rowland et al., 2017) and ‘Systematic Review of the Effects of the Intestinal Microbiota on Selected Nutrients and Non-Nutrients’ (Shortt et al., 2018) in collaboration with the Prebiotics task force have already been cited 175 times.
Several publications relating to biomarkers for nutrition research, guidelines on human intervention studies and role of microbiome (including recently accepted review entitled “Resistance and Resilience to Experimental Gingivitis: A Systematic Scoping Review”.

Scientific Impact

  • The task force, together with the former Obesity & Diabetes task force, participated to the EU-funded project ‘Pivotal Assessment of the Effects of Bioactives on the Health and Wellbeing, from Human genome to Food Industry’ (PATHWAY-27).
  • The joint webinar ‘Microbial Metabolism Associated with Health’ was highlighted in the website of the EU’s joint Programming Initiative ‘A
    Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life’.

For more detailed information, please contact Michela Miani at mmiani@ilsieurope.be  or Adam Coventry at acoventry@ilsieurope.be

Task Force Members


*Scientific Advisor

Expert Groups

Health benefits of polyphenols mediated by gut microbiome modulation and/or activity of microbial polyphenol-derived metabolites – New

Background & Objectives

  • Polyphenol consumption has been associated with several cardiometabolic and cognitive function benefits, however, the mechanism of action is often not fully understood;
  • Because of the limited absorption of unmetabolised polyphenols, the interactions between polyphenol and the gut microbiota is likely to play a role in mediating these health benefits;
  • The objective is to investigate the effects of consumption of food related polyphenols and microbial polyphenol-derived metabolites on the gut microbiome and associated health benefits.

Output
The resulting systematic review can help with the design of future human intervention studies based on understanding of mechanism of action as well as characterisation of the food related polyphenols and required dose.

Review of the Evidence Base for Population Targeted Protein Intake for Muscle Health – New

Background & Objectives

  • Clarify whether existing data for muscle health in young, adult and elderly, both physically active and inactive population groups, indicates that.
    the optimum protein intake in those groups differ.
  • Verify the impact of protein source (animal vs vegetal) and intake distribution over the day.
  • Understand the implications of shifting to more plant-based and environmentally friendly diets without compromising muscle health.

Output
Deliver a peer-reviewed publication that adds a perspective on optimum protein intake across potentially vulnerable target groups for muscle health.

Specific Guidelines for the Design and Conduct of Human Gut Microbiome Intervention Studies Relating to Foods


Background & Objectives

Propose guidelines for the design and execution of human intervention studies to evaluate health benefits for food with specific focus on elements
relevant for human gut microbiome studies.
These guidelines will support longer-term development for dietary recommendations to be built on solid science regarding diet-gut microbiota/microbiome interactions.

Output

This activity is expected to deliver a peer-reviewed publication with guidelines to help making future human intervention trials more comparable and reproducible.

Oral and Systemic Health Resilience

Background & Objectives

  • Study oral microbiome as a key factor in the prevalence and progression of gingivitis and periodontitis and systemic health parameters.
  • The findings were divided in two manuscripts aiming to:
    – identify knowledge gaps and main influences on oral health homeostasis;
    – describe mechanisms contributing to experimental gingivitis.

Output

This activity will produce two peer-reviewed publications providing new insights into evidence relating to oral and systemic health.

Joint Nutrition Cluster Activity on ‘Mechanistic Insights into the Gut-Brain Axis’ In collaboration with Early-Life and Long-Term Health;
Nutrition, Immunity & Inflammation; Nutrition & Mental Performance; Prebiotics and Probiotics Task Forces – New

Background & Objectives

Currently, half of the literature available on the gut-brain axis is state-of-the-art reviews or correlative studies and comprehensive mechanistic insights underlining the bidirectional communication between the gut and the brain are lacking.
In this context, several Nutrition Task Forces decided to join forces to understand where we stand today regarding the mechanisms and more specifically to:

  • focus on translational aspects from pre-clinical to clinical studies;
  • focus on lifespan-related changes (but not disease-related) in gut structure and function which play a role in long-term immune and brain health;
  • discuss the nutritional and lifestyle interventions with positive impact on the lifespan gut structure/function and thus on immune and brain health.

Output

A workshop will bring together key experts from different fields of expertise to debate and discuss on the current knowledge and data gaps, followed by a live-streamed debate leading to the publication of a report/position paper. A series of webinars will then be organised to discuss the identified gaps in more details.

Identifying Preferred Approaches for Quantifying the Impact of Modifying Nutrient Intakes – Completed

Background & Objectives

Public health authorities are developing programs on reducing or increasing the nutritional composition of foods. This is supported by a wide variety of models currently used and recommended to estimate the public health and economic impact of nutrition interventions.
However, these models use different methodologies, input data and assumptions and therefore the results will differ, making comparisons across models and results difficult.

In this context, this activity aims to:

  • review and evaluate the existing models to estimate health and quality of life;
  • provide recommendations on how to apply selected models.

Output

The task force organised the workshop ‘Identifying Preferred Approaches for Quantifying the Health and Economic Impact of Modifying Nutrient Intakes’ (6-7 April 2017, Brussels, Belgium). The outcome of the systematic review and the workshop will be submitted to a peer-review journal.

Expert Group Members

Health benefits of polyphenols mediated by gut microbiome modulation and/or activity of microbial polyphenol-derived metabolites – New

Review of the Evidence Base for Population Targeted Protein Intake for Muscle Health – New

Specific Guidelines for the Design and Conduct of Human Gut Microbiome Intervention Studies Relating to Food

Oral and Systemic Health Resilience

Joint Nutrition Cluster Activity on ‘Mechanistic Insights into the Gut-Brain Axis’In collaboration with Early-Life and Long-Term Health; Health Benefits Assessment of Foods; Nutrition, Immunity & Inflammation; Nutrition & Mental Performance and Probiotics Task Forces – New

Identifying Preferred Approaches for Quantifying the Impact of Modifying Nutrient Intakes – Completed

Poster

ILSI Europe Marker Initiative: What Makes a Marker a Valid Marker?

Publications

Journal Articles

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