Eight Spanish companies from the food and biotechnology sector created together the METASIN project. It is coordinated by Biosearch Life, with the purpose of influencing the risk factors and the pathologies associated with the metabolic syndrome through innovation in the food industry. To do this, comanies develop new active ingredients, food and multifunctional food supplements.
In 2014 during a meeting of the working group on food and health of the PTF4LS (Food for Life Spain Technology Platform), the possibility of investigating the metabolic syndrome, considered one of the main public health problems of the 21st century for the World Health Organization (WHO), was raised.
“Some of the food companies, biotechnology and research centers that participated in the meeting showed their interest in this subject and their willingness to develop a joint investigation with the purpose of influencing, through food, the risk factors associated with This syndrome “, details Cristina Díaz, Project Manager in Biosearch Life and Manager of Project Management METASIN and the consortium of companies that make it up. This is how this R&D initiative began, which will end in December 2018.
Biosearch Life, a company specialized in research, development, production and commercialization of healthy ingredients of natural origin, is the entity coordinating the project. The METASIN consortium also includes Aceites del Sur-Coosur, Algaenergy, Industrial Aromatic Creations (CARINSA), Feiraco Lácteos, Go Fruselva, Mahou and Vértice de Innovación y desarrollo de Alimentos (VIDA), a company belonging to Galletas Gullón. As a whole, this project involves an investment of close to 10 million euros.
“The ultimate goal of METASIN is to put on the market active ingredients and food products that can be a natural alternative to conventional treatments used for the metabolic syndrome,” explains Díaz.
The project lasts almost four years and, throughout this time, it seeks to develop prototypes of new bioactive ingredients (probiotics, algae, oils, vegetable extracts or milk fractions) and food (meat, creams, beverages, cereal bars, pancakes, dairy …) of a multifunctional nature that may affect the associated risk factors.
“Currently, METASIN is at a very advanced stage, ingredients and food prototypes have already been obtained that show their effectiveness in some risk factors”, explains Cristina Díaz, who adds that “the final phase of the project is focused on validation of these ingredients and / or food in in vitro models, animals and human volunteers to scientifically ensure their safety and efficacy. “
What is metabolic syndrome?
The American Heart Association considers the metabolic syndrome to be the set of risk factors that increase the likelihood of having diabetes, dyslipidemia (high lipid levels), cardiovascular diseases or brain problems. The syndrome can be diagnosed when at least three of these risk factors are present: obesity in the abdominal area, high blood pressure, high blood glucose (sugar), low levels of HDL cholesterol (the so-called “good”) and high triglycerides in the blood.
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