Special Issue "Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods: Health Benefits, Impact of Processing and Bioavailability"

A special issue of Foods (ISSN 2304-8158). This special issue belongs to the section "Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 October 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Oliver Chen
E-Mail
Guest Editor
1. Biofortis Research, Merieux Nutrisciences, Addison, IL, USA
2. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, MA, USA
Interests: antioxidants; oxidative stress; polyphenols; flavonoids; glucoregulation; inflammation; tree nuts; berries; whole grains
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

Functional foods and nutraceuticals encompass food products with the properties for health promotion and disease prevention beyond the provision of basic nutritional needs for the maintenance of human physiology. The efficacy of the health benefits through mechanisms of action such as antioxidation, anti-inflammation, glucose regulation, cholesterol reduction, and others on cardiometabolic, neurological, and gastrointestinal health and physical and mental performance may not yet be fully realized. One of the reasons is that bioactive nutrients may not be greatly bioavailable and based on the amount consumed may reach targeted tissue at insufficient levels to generate a significant bioactivity. In order to achieve the full health potential of functional foods and nutraceuticals containing poorly bioavailable constituents, innovative strategies such as formulation and processing can be employed to facilitate their absorption and transportation to targeted tissues. Another emerging concept is that the biological actions of some functional foods and nutraceuticals are derived from the microbial processing of unabsorbed nutrients in the large intestine  (e.g., urolithins from ellagitannins). The sustainability of the food system requires the upcycling of by-products of food processing that are historically unused by humans. Particularly, bioactive constituents of these by-products can be processed to generate a value-added ingredient for functional foods and nutraceuticals. Food fermentation, which has historically been used for food preservation, has become a novel way to develop functional foods and nutraceuticals.

Prof. Dr. Oliver Chen
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • microbiome
  • fermentation
  • by-product
  • formulation
  • processing
  • pharmacokinetics

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Communication
Maintaining the Balance of Intestinal Flora through the Diet: Effective Prevention of Illness
Foods 2021, 10(10), 2312; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10102312 - 29 Sep 2021
Viewed by 656
Abstract
The human body is home to a complex community of dynamic equilibrium microbiota, including bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses. It is known that the gut microbiome plays a crucial role in regulating innate and adaptive immune responses, intestinal peristalsis, intestinal barrier homeostasis, nutrient [...] Read more.
The human body is home to a complex community of dynamic equilibrium microbiota, including bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses. It is known that the gut microbiome plays a crucial role in regulating innate and adaptive immune responses, intestinal peristalsis, intestinal barrier homeostasis, nutrient uptake, and fat distribution. The complex relationship between the host and microbiome suggests that when this relationship is out of balance, the microbiome may contribute to disease development. The brain–gut–microbial axis is composed of many signal molecules, gastrointestinal mucosal cells, the vagus nerve, and blood–brain barrier, which plays an essential role in developing many diseases. The microbiome can influence the central nervous system function through the brain–gut axis; the central nervous system can also affect the composition and partial functions of the gut microbiome in the same way. Different dietary patterns, specific dietary components, and functional dietary factors can significantly affect intestinal flora’s structure, composition, and function, thereby affecting human health. Based on the above, this paper reviewed the relationship between diet, intestinal flora, and human health, and the strategies to prevent mental illness through the dietary modification of intestinal microorganisms. Full article
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Article
Influence of Lactobacillus paracasei HII01 Supplementation on Glycemia and Inflammatory Biomarkers in Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Clinical Trial
Foods 2021, 10(7), 1455; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10071455 - 23 Jun 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 849
Abstract
It has been shown that gut dysbiosis can be associated with the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Consequently, intervention with probiotics may be a useful approach to improve metabolic variables in diabetes. The present study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of [...] Read more.
It has been shown that gut dysbiosis can be associated with the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Consequently, intervention with probiotics may be a useful approach to improve metabolic variables in diabetes. The present study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of L. paracasei HII01 on glycemia in T2DM patients. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 50 participants were allocated to receive L. paracasei HII01 (50 × 109 CFU/day) or a placebo (corn starch 10 mg/day). Blood and fecal samples were assessed at baseline and at the end of the trial. After 12 weeks of intervention, fasting blood glucose level had significantly decreased in the probiotic group compared with the placebo group. Importantly, probiotic supplementation significantly decreased the plasma levels of LPS, TNF-α, IL-6 and hsCRP compared the placebo group. Additionally, an increase in beneficial bacteria and a decrease in pathogenic bacteria, which related to the improvement of SCFAs, was found following L. paracasei HII01 supplementation. These findings demonstrated that L. paracasei HII01 improved hyperglycemia and inflammatory markers by favorably modifying gut microbiota and subsequently ameliorating the leaky gut and endotoxemia, thereby suggesting a potential role as an adjuvant treatment in type 2 diabetes. Full article
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Article
Investigation of Immunomodulatory and Gut Microbiota-Altering Properties of Multicomponent Nutraceutical Prepared from Lactic Acid Bacteria, Bovine Colostrum, Apple Production By-Products and Essential Oils
Foods 2021, 10(6), 1313; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10061313 - 07 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 794
Abstract
Dietary components, such as lactic acid bacteria (LAB), bovine colostrum, apple production by-products, and essential oils, can favorably alter the host immune system and gut microbiota, however, their cumulative effect as multicomponent nutraceutical supplement has not been investigated. Therefore, the present study is [...] Read more.
Dietary components, such as lactic acid bacteria (LAB), bovine colostrum, apple production by-products, and essential oils, can favorably alter the host immune system and gut microbiota, however, their cumulative effect as multicomponent nutraceutical supplement has not been investigated. Therefore, the present study is the first one to evaluate a combination of LAB, bovine colostrum, dehydrated apple pomace, and essential oils for their immunomodulatory and prebiotic properties in the swine model. This study shows that supplementary feeding of pigs using multicomponent nutraceutical resulted in a statistically significant decrease in proportions of T cytotoxic and double-positive (CD4+CD8+low) cells within the CD3+ cell population at 28 DPI, compared to the beginning of the experiment (0DPI). Conversely, a statistically significant increase in proportions of B cells (accompanied by an increase in IgG concentration) and macrophage/monocyte cells within viable cell population at 28 DPI, compared to the beginning of the experiments, was observed. Furthermore, changes in the bacterial composition of gut microbiota in pigs fed with multicomponent nutraceutical changed significantly, with a 1.78 times higher number of probiotic strains (Bifidobacterium, Streptococcus, Faecilbacterium) at the end of the experiment, compared to control group animals. This study shows a positive effect of the nutraceutical formula used on the changes of gut microbiota by facilitating an increase in probiotic bacteria strains and possible anti-inflammatory properties. Full article
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Article
An Approach to Investigate Content-Related Quality of Nutraceuticals Used by Slovenian Consumers: A Case Study with Folate and Vitamin D Supplements
Foods 2021, 10(4), 845; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10040845 - 13 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1011
Abstract
A predisposition for the efficiency of nutraceuticals is that the product contains a sufficient quantity of a vitamin. Several studies have highlighted different quality issues. Our objective was to investigate whether the contents of the vitamins in selected types of food supplements were [...] Read more.
A predisposition for the efficiency of nutraceuticals is that the product contains a sufficient quantity of a vitamin. Several studies have highlighted different quality issues. Our objective was to investigate whether the contents of the vitamins in selected types of food supplements were in accordance with labeling. We focused on two types of food supplements where content-related quality issues could result in public health risks: food supplements for supplementation with (a) folic acid (as 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF)) in pregnancy and (b) with vitamin D in the general population. The study was done on supplements from the global supply that are typically used by Slovenian consumers. We sampled one production batch of 30 different food supplements—six and 24 samples with 5-MTHF and cholecalciferol, respectively. We found samples with vitamin contents outside the 80–150% tolerance interval in both sets. Particularly, 5-MTHF was found to be more problematic, probably due to its lower stability. This study shows the need for better quality control. Quality control is needed during both the manufacturing process and product shelf lifetimes. Content quality should be also subject to external controls by authorities. Voluntarily quality control schemes would also enable consumers to identify products of sufficient quality. Full article
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Article
Comparison of Alkaline/Oxidative and Hydrothermal Extraction of Wheat Bran Arabinoxylans
Foods 2021, 10(4), 826; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10040826 - 10 Apr 2021
Viewed by 612
Abstract
The bran accounts for approximately 25% of the wheat kernel but is currently only a by-product, used as animal feed. However, due to its high arabinoxylan content it could be a valuable raw material for food production. Arabinoxylans cannot be digested in the [...] Read more.
The bran accounts for approximately 25% of the wheat kernel but is currently only a by-product, used as animal feed. However, due to its high arabinoxylan content it could be a valuable raw material for food production. Arabinoxylans cannot be digested in the human intestine but are intensely studied for their health-beneficial properties. These include glycemic control by formation of a highly viscous gel in the intestine, and hence delaying starch digestion, alongside an increase in short chain fatty acids. To apply sufficient amounts of arabinoxylan for health-beneficial effects, extraction and concentration is required. Alkaline/oxidative conditions are commonly used, but for potential food applications more cost-efficient methods, without hazardous chemicals, are required. Therefore, this study aimed to optimize the conditions for hydrothermal extraction (extraction time and temperature) at laboratory-scale and to compare the results to an established alkaline/oxidative method. The resulting extracts were characterized for yield, purity, arabinoxylan molecular mass, arabinose/xylose ratio, and viscosity to evaluate the quality of the method. For the hydrothermal extraction, an extraction time of 1 h at 160 °C and 6.5 bar gave the best results. However, even these optimized conditions resulted in lower extract purity and severely degraded arabinoxylans. Although further optimization of the hydrothermal process is required, the present work builds an important foundation for the development of an industrial hydrothermal extraction method. Full article
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Review

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Review
Hydrogen Peroxide Effects on Natural-Sourced Polysacchrides: Free Radical Formation/Production, Degradation Process, and Reaction Mechanism—A Critical Synopsis
Foods 2021, 10(4), 699; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10040699 - 25 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 961
Abstract
Numerous reactive oxygen species (ROS) entities exist, and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is very key among them as it is well known to possess a stable but poor reactivity capable of generating free radicals. Considered among reactive atoms, molecules, and [...] Read more.
Numerous reactive oxygen species (ROS) entities exist, and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is very key among them as it is well known to possess a stable but poor reactivity capable of generating free radicals. Considered among reactive atoms, molecules, and compounds with electron-rich sites, free radicals emerging from metabolic reactions during cellular respirations can induce oxidative stress and cause cellular structure damage, resulting in diverse life-threatening diseases when produced in excess. Therefore, an antioxidant is needed to curb the overproduction of free radicals especially in biological systems (in vivo and in vitro). Despite the inherent properties limiting its bioactivities, polysaccharides from natural sources increasingly gain research attention given their position as a functional ingredient. Improving the functionality and bioactivity of polysaccharides have been established through degradation of their molecular integrity. In this critical synopsis; we articulate the effects of H2O2 on the degradation of polysaccharides from natural sources. Specifically, the synopsis focused on free radical formation/production, polysaccharide degradation processes with H2O2, the effects of polysaccharide degradation on the structural characteristics; physicochemical properties; and bioactivities; in addition to the antioxidant capability. The degradation mechanisms involving polysaccharide’s antioxidative property; with some examples and their respective sources are briefly summarised. Full article
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Review
Morus alba L. Plant: Bioactive Compounds and Potential as a Functional Food Ingredient
Foods 2021, 10(3), 689; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10030689 - 23 Mar 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1294
Abstract
Morus alba L. (M. alba) is a highly adaptable plant that is extensively incorporated in many traditional and Ayurveda medications. Various parts of the plant, such as leaves, fruits, and seeds, possess nutritional and medicinal value. M. alba has abundant phytochemicals, [...] Read more.
Morus alba L. (M. alba) is a highly adaptable plant that is extensively incorporated in many traditional and Ayurveda medications. Various parts of the plant, such as leaves, fruits, and seeds, possess nutritional and medicinal value. M. alba has abundant phytochemicals, including phenolic acids, flavonoids, flavonols, anthocyanins, macronutrients, vitamins, minerals, and volatile aromatic compounds, indicating its excellent pharmacological abilities. M. alba also contains high nutraceutical values for protein, carbohydrates, fiber, organic acids, vitamins, and minerals, as well as a low lipid value. However, despite its excellent biological properties and nutritional value, M. alba has not been fully considered as a potential functional food ingredient. Therefore, this review reports on the nutrients and bioactive compounds available in M. alba leaves, fruit, and seeds; its nutraceutical properties, functional properties as an ingredient in foodstuffs, and a microencapsulation technique to enhance polyphenol stability. Finally, as scaling up to a bigger production plant is needed to accommodate industrial demand, the study and limitation on an M. alba upscaling process is reviewed. Full article
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