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Special Issue "Natural Medicines, Functional Foods and Nutrients for Healthcare"

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: closed (30 November 2021) | Viewed by 4957

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Yoshikazu Higami
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Laboratory of Molecular Pathology and Metabolic Disease, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Tokyo University of Science, Noda, Japan
Interests: Aging; obesity; healthy life expectancy; fat cells; breast cancer
Dr. Masaki Kobayashi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Laboratory of Molecular Pathology & Metabolic Disease, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Tokyo University of Science, 2641 Yamazaki, Noda, Chiba 278-8510, Japan
Interests: caloric restriction; aging; obesity; energy metabolism; metabolic disorders; functional foods; metabolic organs; mitochondrial peptidases; autophagy
Dr. Akira Sato
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Tokyo University of Science, 2641 Yamazaki, Noda, Chiba 278-8510, Japan
Interests: cell death; necrosis, apoptosis; cancer drug resistance; non-coding RNA

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Healthcare is recognized as a scientific field and action related to maintaining or restoring physical and mental health. Today, we human beings are exposed to various stresses, and our health is threatened by diverse diseases such as cancer, metabolic disorders, age-related diseases, infectious diseases, and psychiatric disorders. There is the oriental philosophy that “medicine and food have a common origin”. We think this philosophy/concept is important for achieving healthcare. This Special Issue “Natural Medicines, Functional Foods and Nutrients for Healthcare” welcomes submissions of original articles, reviews, communications, and perspectives on natural medicines, functional foods, and nutrients for healthcare. This Special Issue focuses on natural medicines, functional foods, and nutrients in relation to healthcare, preventive medicine, and therapy by addressing the following subjects (not an exhaustive list):

  • Chemical properties, physical properties, and structure of natural medicines, food components, and nutrients;
  • Biochemical, biological, and physiological actions of natural medicines, functional foods, and nutrients;
  • Toxicological response to natural medicines, functional foods, and nutrients;
  • Clinical and population studies using natural medicines, functional foods, and nutrients.

This Special Issue aims to bring together the results of fundamental and applied research into healthcare and biologically active natural medicines, functional food ingredients, and nutrients.

Prof. Dr. Yoshikazu Higami
Dr. Masaki Kobayashi
Dr. Akira Sato
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 medicine
  • functional food
  • nutrients
  • healthcare
  • prevention medicine
  • cancer
  • metabolic disorders
  • age-related diseases
  • infectious diseases
  • psychiatric disorders

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Article
Long-Term Dietary Taurine Lowers Plasma Levels of Cholesterol and Bile Acids
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1793; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031793 - 04 Feb 2022
Viewed by 708
Abstract
Cholesterol is an essential lipid in vertebrates, but excess blood cholesterol promotes atherosclerosis. In the liver, cholesterol is metabolized to bile acids by cytochrome P450, family 7, subfamily a, polypeptide 1 (CYP7A1), the transcription of which is negatively regulated by the ERK pathway. [...] Read more.
Cholesterol is an essential lipid in vertebrates, but excess blood cholesterol promotes atherosclerosis. In the liver, cholesterol is metabolized to bile acids by cytochrome P450, family 7, subfamily a, polypeptide 1 (CYP7A1), the transcription of which is negatively regulated by the ERK pathway. Fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21), a hepatokine, induces ERK phosphorylation and suppresses Cyp7a1 transcription. Taurine, a sulfur-containing amino acid, reportedly promotes cholesterol metabolism and lowers blood and hepatic cholesterol levels. However, the influence of long-term feeding of taurine on cholesterol levels and metabolism remains unclear. Here, to evaluate the more chronic effects of taurine on cholesterol levels, we analyzed mice fed a taurine-rich diet for 14–16 weeks. Long-term feeding of taurine lowered plasma cholesterol and bile acids without significantly changing other metabolic parameters, but hardly affected these levels in the liver. Moreover, taurine upregulated Cyp7a1 levels, while downregulated phosphorylated ERK and Fgf21 levels in the liver. Likewise, taurine-treated Hepa1-6 cells, a mouse hepatocyte line, exhibited downregulated Fgf21 levels and upregulated promoter activity of Cyp7a1. These results indicate that taurine promotes cholesterol metabolism by suppressing the FGF21/ERK pathway followed by upregulating Cyp7a1 expression. Collectively, this study shows that long-term feeding of taurine lowers both plasma cholesterol and bile acids, reinforcing that taurine effectively prevents hypercholesterolemia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Medicines, Functional Foods and Nutrients for Healthcare)
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Article
Dehydrogenation of Betacyanins in Heated Betalain-Rich Extracts of Red Beet (Beta vulgaris L.)
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1245; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031245 - 23 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 632
Abstract
Betacyanins are a group of water-soluble red-violet compounds containing nitrogen in their structure. These are biosynthesized in red beetroot (Beta vulgaris L.), a widely consumed vegetable that contains significant amounts of nutritious and bioactive compounds which are also found in dietary supplements. [...] Read more.
Betacyanins are a group of water-soluble red-violet compounds containing nitrogen in their structure. These are biosynthesized in red beetroot (Beta vulgaris L.), a widely consumed vegetable that contains significant amounts of nutritious and bioactive compounds which are also found in dietary supplements. This contribution presents results of betacyanin thermal oxidation (resulting in dehydrogenation) interrelated with decarboxylation in selected acetate/phosphate buffers at pH 3–8 and at 85 °C, which may be of particular significance for formulation and performance of foods. Most of the reaction products were detected at the highest concentrations in the acidic solutions (pH 3–4). The main dehydrogenation reaction pathways were monitored by LC-DAD-MS/MS and were associated with decarboxylation of the principal extract pigments, betanin/isobetanin and neobetanin, at carbon positions C-2 and C-17. Additional reactions are accompanied by the 2,15-decarboxylation processes at different dehydrogenation levels with 15-decarboxy-betanin and 2,15-bidecarboxy-betanin, structurally elucidated by NMR analysis, as the distinct indicators of this route type. For other novel pigments detected, 2,15-bidecarboxy-xanbetanin, 2,15-bidecarboxy-xanneobetanin and 2,15,17-tridecarboxy-neobetanin, additional high resolution mass spectrometric analyses were performed and confirmed their molecular formulas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Medicines, Functional Foods and Nutrients for Healthcare)
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Article
Rosmarinic Acid and Sodium Citrate Have a Synergistic Bacteriostatic Effect against Vibrio Species by Inhibiting Iron Uptake
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(23), 13010; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222313010 - 01 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1031
Abstract
Background: New strategies are needed to combat multidrug-resistant bacteria. The restriction of iron uptake by bacteria is a promising way to inhibit their growth. We aimed to suppress the growth of Vibrio bacterial species by inhibiting their ferric ion-binding protein (FbpA) using food [...] Read more.
Background: New strategies are needed to combat multidrug-resistant bacteria. The restriction of iron uptake by bacteria is a promising way to inhibit their growth. We aimed to suppress the growth of Vibrio bacterial species by inhibiting their ferric ion-binding protein (FbpA) using food components. Methods: Twenty spices were selected for the screening of FbpA inhibitors. The candidate was applied to antibacterial tests, and the mechanism was further studied. Results: An active compound, rosmarinic acid (RA), was screened out. RA binds competitively and more tightly than Fe3+ to VmFbpA, the FbpA from V. metschnikovii, with apparent KD values of 8 μM vs. 17 μM. Moreover, RA can inhibit the growth of V. metschnikovii to one-third of the control at 1000 μM. Interestingly, sodium citrate (SC) enhances the growth inhibition effect of RA, although SC only does not inhibit the growth. The combination of RA/SC completely inhibits the growth of not only V. metschnikovii at 100/100 μM but also the vibriosis-causative pathogens V. vulnificus and V. parahaemolyticus, at 100/100 and 1000/100 μM, respectively. However, RA/SC does not affect the growth of Escherichia coli. Conclusions: RA/SC is a potential bacteriostatic agent against Vibrio species while causing little damage to indigenous gastrointestinal bacteria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Medicines, Functional Foods and Nutrients for Healthcare)
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Article
Cheonggukjang-Specific Component 1,3-Diphenyl-2-Propanone as a Novel PPARα/γ Dual Agonist: An In Vitro and In Silico Study
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(19), 10884; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms221910884 - 08 Oct 2021
Viewed by 801
Abstract
Background: Cheonggukjang is a traditional fermented soybean paste that is mostly consumed in Korea. However, the biological activities of Cheonggukjang specific compounds have not been studied. Thus, we aimed to discover a novel dual agonist for PPARα/γ from dietary sources such as Cheonggukjang [...] Read more.
Background: Cheonggukjang is a traditional fermented soybean paste that is mostly consumed in Korea. However, the biological activities of Cheonggukjang specific compounds have not been studied. Thus, we aimed to discover a novel dual agonist for PPARα/γ from dietary sources such as Cheonggukjang specific volatile compounds and explore the potential role of PPARα/γ dual agonists using in vitro and in silico tools. Methods: A total of 35 compounds were selected from non-fermented and fermented soybean products cultured with Bacillus subtilis, namely Cheonggukjang, for analysis by in vitro and in silico studies. Results: Molecular docking results showed that 1,3-diphenyl-2-propanone (DPP) had the lowest docking score for activating PPARα (1K7L) and PPARγ (3DZY) with non-toxic effects. Moreover, DPP significantly increased the transcriptional activities of both PPARα and PPARγ and highly activated its expression in Ac2F liver cells, in vitro. Here, we demonstrated for the first time that DPP can act as a dual agonist of PPARα/γ using in vitro and in silico tools. Conclusions: The Cheonggukjang-specific compound DPP could be a novel PPARα/γ dual agonist and it is warranted to determine the therapeutic potential of PPARα/γ activation by dietary intervention and/or supplementation in the treatment of metabolic disorders without causing any adverse effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Medicines, Functional Foods and Nutrients for Healthcare)
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Review

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Review
Metabolomics as a Tool to Elucidate the Sensory, Nutritional and Safety Quality of Wheat Bread—A Review
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(16), 8945; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22168945 - 19 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1007
Abstract
Wheat (Triticum aestivum) is one of the most extensively cultivated and used staple crops in human nutrition, while wheat bread is annually consumed in more than nine billion kilograms over the world. Consumers’ purchase decisions on wheat bread are largely influenced [...] Read more.
Wheat (Triticum aestivum) is one of the most extensively cultivated and used staple crops in human nutrition, while wheat bread is annually consumed in more than nine billion kilograms over the world. Consumers’ purchase decisions on wheat bread are largely influenced by its nutritional and sensorial characteristics. In the last decades, metabolomics is considered an effective tool for elucidating the information on metabolites; however, the deep investigations on metabolites still remain a difficult and longtime action. This review gives emphasis on the achievements in wheat bread metabolomics by highlighting targeted and untargeted analyses used in this field. The metabolomics approaches are discussed in terms of quality, processing and safety of wheat and bread, while the molecular mechanisms involved in the sensorial and nutritional characteristics of wheat bread are pointed out. These aspects are of crucial importance in the context of new consumers’ demands on healthy bakery products rich in bioactive compounds but, equally, with good sensorial acceptance. Moreover, metabolomics is a potential tool for assessing the changes in nutrient composition from breeding to processing, while monitoring and understanding the transformations of metabolites with bioactive properties, as well as the formation of compounds like toxins during wheat storage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Medicines, Functional Foods and Nutrients for Healthcare)
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