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Health Promoting Benefits of Natural Products and Functional Foods

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Bioactives and Nutraceuticals".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 July 2024 | Viewed by 3406

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Euromed S.A., C/ Rec de Dalt, 21-23, Pol. Ind. Can Magarola, 08100 Mollet del Valles, Barcelona, Spain
Interests: botanicals; phytochemicals; polyphenols; nutraceuticals; functional foods; healthy ageing; psychopharmacology; cardiovascular & metabolic

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Guest Editor
Centre for Cardiovascular Science, Queen’s Medical Research Institute, University of Edinburgh, 47 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh EH16 4TJ, UK
Interests: nutrition; stress; exercise; polyphenols; steroid hormones
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Throughout history, the association between plant-based remedies, food constituents, and good health has been recognized. Modern research has focused on the therapeutic, preventive, and health optimizing potential of nutrients, leading to the emergence of research areas, such as nutrigenomics and proteomics. This has also resulted in the development of new consumer product categories, such as functional foods, nutraceuticals, and medical foods.

The growing interest in natural products is driven by consumer demands, industry advancements, and the increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases in aging populations. As people seek safe and effective alternatives, the potential of natural products and functional foods in promoting health and wellness gains momentum.

The scientific community is intrigued by the pleiotropic potential of natural products, particularly plant phytochemicals, which optimize physiological functions, modulate immune responses, influence epigenome activity, enhance stress adaptation, and impact body system pathophysiology. A prominent example is milk thistle (Silybum marianum L.), specifically its major active constituent, silibinin, which modulates molecular pathways related to liver health and demonstrates antitumor and chemo-preventive activities.

Understanding and identifying molecular biomarkers are crucial in establishing evidence-based claims and ensuring the safe utilization of natural products and functional foods.

This Special Issue delves into their health-promoting benefits, emphasizing their role in supporting overall well-being and preventive healthcare. We encourage the submission of manuscripts encompassing molecular investigations, preclinical studies, and clinical trials to uncover underlying molecular pathways, biological interactions, and physiological effects relevant to chronic disease prevention and health promotion. Comprehensive literature reviews are also welcome.

Dr. Andrea Zangara
Prof. Dr. Emad Al-Dujaili
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • natural products
  • functional foods
  • health promotion
  • nutrigenomics
  • evidence-based preventive healthcare
  • phytochemicals
  • biomarkers
  • chronic diseases
 

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

18 pages, 2128 KiB  
Article
Hydroxytyrosol, a Promising Supplement in the Management of Human Stroke: An Exploratory Study
by Ángela Naranjo, M. Josefa Álvarez-Soria, Pilar Aranda-Villalobos, Ana M. Martínez-Rodríguez, Esther Martínez-Lara and Eva Siles
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(9), 4799; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25094799 - 27 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1197
Abstract
Hydroxytyrosol (HT) is a bioactive olive oil phenol with beneficial effects in a number of pathological situations. We have previously demonstrated that an HT-enriched diet could serve as a beneficial therapeutic approach to attenuate ischemic-stroke-associated damage in mice. Our exploratory pilot study examined [...] Read more.
Hydroxytyrosol (HT) is a bioactive olive oil phenol with beneficial effects in a number of pathological situations. We have previously demonstrated that an HT-enriched diet could serve as a beneficial therapeutic approach to attenuate ischemic-stroke-associated damage in mice. Our exploratory pilot study examined this effect in humans. Particularly, a nutritional supplement containing 15 mg of HT/day was administered to patients 24 h after the onset of stroke, for 45 days. Biochemical and oxidative-stress-related parameters, blood pressure levels, serum proteome, and neurological and functional outcomes were evaluated at 45 and 90 days and compared to a control group. The main findings were that the daily administration of HT after stroke could: (i) favor the decrease in the percentage of glycated hemoglobin and diastolic blood pressure, (ii) control the increase in nitric oxide and exert a plausible protective effect in oxidative stress, (iii) modulate the evolution of the serum proteome and, particularly, the expression of apolipoproteins, and (iv) be beneficial for certain neurological and functional outcomes. Although a larger trial is necessary, this study suggests that HT could be a beneficial nutritional complement in the management of human stroke. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Promoting Benefits of Natural Products and Functional Foods)
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15 pages, 3026 KiB  
Article
Piper sarmentosum Roxb. Inhibits Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Activity in Phorbol 12-Myristate-13-Acetate-Induced Endothelial Cells
by Azizah Ugusman, Siti Marjiana Ismail, Nur Syahidah Nor Hisam, Chua Kien Hui, Mohammed S. M. Saleh, Abdul Kadir Abdul Karim, Nur Syakirah Othman, Adila A. Hamid and Amilia Aminuddin
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(5), 2806; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25052806 - 28 Feb 2024
Viewed by 802
Abstract
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of hypertension. Piper sarmentosum Roxb., an herb known for its antihypertensive effect, lacks a comprehensive understanding of the mechanism underlying its antihypertensive action. This study aimed to elucidate the antihypertensive mechanism of aqueous [...] Read more.
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of hypertension. Piper sarmentosum Roxb., an herb known for its antihypertensive effect, lacks a comprehensive understanding of the mechanism underlying its antihypertensive action. This study aimed to elucidate the antihypertensive mechanism of aqueous extract of P. sarmentosum leaves (AEPS) via its modulation of the ACE pathway in phorbol 12-myristate-13-acetate (PMA)-induced human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). HUVECs were divided into five groups: control, treatment with 200 µg/mL AEPS, induction 200 nM PMA, concomitant treatment with 200 nM PMA and 200 µg/mL AEPS, and treatment with 200 nM PMA and 0.06 μM captopril. Subsequently, ACE mRNA expression, protein level and activity, angiotensin II (Ang II) levels, and angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1R) and angiotensin II type 2 receptor (AT2R) mRNA expression in HUVECs were determined. AEPS successfully inhibited ACE mRNA expression, protein and activity, and angiotensin II levels in PMA-induced HUVECs. Additionally, AT1R expression was downregulated, whereas AT2R expression was upregulated. In conclusion, AEPS reduces the levels of ACE mRNA, protein and activity, Ang II, and AT1R expression in PMA-induced HUVECs. Thus, AEPS has the potential to be developed as an ACE inhibitor in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Promoting Benefits of Natural Products and Functional Foods)
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0 pages, 752 KiB  
Article
Eleutherococcus divaricatus Fruits Decrease Hyaluronidase Activity in Blood Serum and Protect from Oxidative Damages in In Vitro Model
by Jakub Gębalski, Milena Małkowska, Dorota Gawenda-Kempczyńska, Artur Słomka, Maciej Strzemski, Jan Styczyński and Daniel Załuski
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(4), 2033; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25042033 - 7 Feb 2024
Viewed by 901
Abstract
Fruits are very important dietary components and a source of biologically active compounds used in nutritional pharmacology. Particularly due to the presence of polyphenolic compounds, fruits play an important role in the prevention of diseases of civilization. Therefore, it is important to study [...] Read more.
Fruits are very important dietary components and a source of biologically active compounds used in nutritional pharmacology. Particularly due to the presence of polyphenolic compounds, fruits play an important role in the prevention of diseases of civilization. Therefore, it is important to study the phytochemicals and biological activity of fruits, especially those with a long-standing use in ethnomedicine. In this study, we determined the chemical profile and biological activity of a methanolic extract of the Eleutherococcus divaricatus fruits. Amongst nine polyphenols studied, only chlorogenic acid, protocatechuic acid, and eleutheroside E have been detected. The extract showed a weak anti-hyaluronidase activity from bovine testicular in a range of 9.06–37.70% and quite high for human serum hyaluronidase from children diagnosed with acute leukemia in a range of 76–86%. A weak anti-tyrosinase activity was obtained in a range of 2.94–12.46%. Moreover, the extract showed antioxidant properties against DPPH radical, ABTS radical, and O2•−. In addition, the antioxidant activity of the extract was evaluated by FRAP assay and Fe2+ ion chelation assay. These preliminary studies partially justify the traditional use of the plant in inflammatory- and immune-related diseases, in which hyaluronidase and free radicals can participate. A difference in human serum hyaluronidase inhibition may result from the inter-patient variability. Regardless of that, the results mean that polyphenolic compounds may stimulate activity of hyaluronidase, as well as to protect cells from the oxidative damages. However, further studies in ex vivo and in vivo models are needed, including blood isolated from a larger number of patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Promoting Benefits of Natural Products and Functional Foods)
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