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News - Atlantia Clinical Trials

Gut-Heart Axis Health Benefit Revealed in Natural Product Rich in Polyphenols

In a recent study conducted by Atlantia Clinical Trials, contracted by DSM Nutritional Products, the effectiveness of Fruitflow®1 , a water-soluble tomato extract was investigated. Read further to find out the background rationale for undertaking this study.

Preliminary research

Gut microbiota modulation

The gut microbiome is a hot topic of interest in today’s research. The role of the gut microbiome has become apparent to maintain human’s health. Research has shown that targeted modulation of the gut microbiota can be used as a strategy to help prevent or treat several diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. There are many mechanisms available to bring about more diversity in the gut microbiome such as the use of probiotics, prebiotics and postbiotics. A prebiotic product is the strategy selected by the Sponsor of this recent study.

Firstly, it is appropriate to acknowledge the definition given by ISSAP- the International Scientific Association of Probiotics & Prebiotics.

Prebiotics are defined as “a substrate that is selectively utilized by host microorganisms conferring a health benefit”.

Plant polyphenols are an example of a prebiotic. It is estimated that 90-95% of plant polyphenols are not absorbed in the small intestine but reach the colon, where they undergo extensive biotransformation by the gut microbiota.

What is TMAO?

Natural products rich in polyphenols have been shown to lower plasma trimethylamine n-oxide (TMAO) known for its proatherogenic effects by modulating the intestinal microbiota.

TMAO has been described by Dr. Marcus Claesson as “a chemical metabolite derived from diet and metabolized by the gut microbiota”.

Recent findings have shown its involvement in inflammation, CVD and obesity.  A high level of TMAO can be looked at to confer negative health benefits on the host such as increasing the risk of clot-related events like heart attack and stroke. Therefore, chronic inflammation, worsening the cardiac functioning can be caused by a changed gut microbiota and increased intestinal permeability.

What is TMA?

To begin to understand the mechanism of TMAO its important to touch on TMA. TMA is a microbial metabolite produced by the gut microbiome from dietary phosphatidylcholine and L-carnitine, commonly found in red meat, cheese and eggs. When absorbed by the intestinal epithelium and transported to the liver, TMA is transformed into TMAO. TMA is known for its proinflammatory and proatherogenic activities and high base line levels of TMAO are associated to cardiovascular issues.

Opportunity for further research: supplements to reduce TMAO

DSM identified a research opportunity in the gut-heart axis. Gut microbiome strategies have emerged for the prevention of cardiovascular disease due to TMAO being dependent on metabolism by the intestinal microbiota. A natural product such as a prebiotic that potentially could be able to inhibit microbial TMA production could be utilized. Fruitflow®, a water-soluble tomato concentrate, rich in secondary metabolites, including nucleosides, phenolic conjugates and polyphenols was to be investigated to see how this substrate could be utilized by the host microorganism.

The Science behind Fruitflow®

gut-heart axis research flowchart

What is Fruitflow®?

Fruitflow®, a natural product rich in polyphenols is a natural product rich in polyphenols. Fruitflow® has a long-held history of showing cardiovascular beneficial effects, with many clinical trial documents showing reduced platelet aggregation, contributing to healthy blood flow. Since its launch in 2010, it has received recognition and has gained the overall award for the ‘Most innovative heath ingredient’ at the Health Ingredients Europe conference in 2010. From the onset, Fruitflow®  beneficial effects have been investigated.

The first ever health claim in Europe was received by Fruitflow®. Steve Morrison, Atlantia’s Regulatory Manager helped Fruitflow® achieve this, watch this online presentation to learn more about EFSA Health claims or read our blog post about this topic. An article 13.5 health claim was approved by the EU commission on the basis of a positive EFSA opinion as being the first natural, scientifically validated solution for healthy blood flow. In the past the concentrate has been tried and tested for use in food supplements.

Objective for new study

DSM’s research team led by Dr. Steinert, Principal Scientist at DSM and University Lecturer at Zurich University, hypothesized that Fruitflow®, a water-soluble tomato concentrate, rich in secondary metabolites would lower TMAO levels by modulating gut microbiota.

A clinical study would provide new insight into the effect of Fruitflow® on TMAO levels and the gut microbiota composition and thus potential new mechanisms responsible for the cardiovascular protective effects of Fruitflow®.

Check out the following blog post – Atlantia’s clinical solution for assessing prebiotics effectiveness in cardiovascular health to gain further insight into how Atlantia provided a clinical study solution to the sponsor DSM. Take an inside dive into Atlantia’s clinical solution for DSM’s water-soluble tomato extract. It will look at the study conduct, results revealed and opportunity for further research.

  1. Fruitflow® is a trademark of Provexis
Madeleine Tanner

Madeleine Tanner / About Author