Wednesday, 28 February 2018

New Paper from FLIPS (upd)

In our latest paper

"Dairy Fats and Cardiovascular Disease: Do we Really Need to be Concerned?"

In this paper we address the perception of dairy products and their real impact on CVDs.


Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) remain a major cause of death and morbidity globally and diet plays a crucial role in the disease prevention and pathology. The negative perception of dairy fats stems from the effort to reduce dietary saturated fatty acid (SFA) intake due to their association with increased cholesterol levels upon consumption and the increased risk of CVD development. Institutions that set dietary guidelines have approached dairy products with negative bias and used poor scientific data in the past. As a result, the consumption of dairy products was considered detrimental to our cardiovascular health. In western societies, dietary trends indicate that generally there is a reduction of full-fat dairy product consumption and increased low-fat dairy consumption. However, recent research and meta-analyses have demonstrated the benefits of full-fat dairy consumption, based on higher bioavailability of high-value nutrients and anti-inflammatory properties. In this review, the relationship between dairy consumption, cardiometabolic risk factors and the incidence of cardiovascular diseases are discussed. Functional dairy foods and the health implications of dairy alternatives are also considered. In general, evidence suggests that milk has a neutral effect on cardiovascular outcomes but fermented dairy products, such as yoghurt, kefir and cheese may have a positive or neutral effect. Particular focus is placed on the effects of the lipid content on cardiovascular health. View Full-Text

Friday, 23 February 2018

Fishes : Special Issue "Fish and Inflammation"

Dear Colleagues,

Fish have a great positive impact on cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Linking fish consumption to CVDs was first established through the seven-country study and today we know that fish components have strong cardioprotective and anti-inflammatory properties. In this Special Issue, we would like to present the latest research on fish consumption and its impact on inflammation-related chronic diseases in humans, e.g., CVDs. In vitro and ex vivo studies are equally welcome.
We would be pleased to solicit manuscripts pertaining to original research, mini and full reviews, short communications, as well as perspectives, which address any aspect of fish, CVDs and inflammation.
Submissions are invited that include, but are not limited to:
  • Fish diet and its impact on the nutritional value of fish
  • Fish intake and development of CVDs
  • Specific fish components (e.g., polar lipids, omega-3 fatty acids) and their anti-inflammatory properties
  • Bioactive compounds from the seafood chain
Dr. Ioannis ZabetakisProf. Dr. Jana PickovaGuest Editors

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Ioannis Zabetakis

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +353 61 234202
Interests: inflammation, cardiovascular diseases; fish lipids; functional feeds; food security; health claims
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Jana Pickova

Department of Food Science, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +46 1867 2011
Fax: +46 1867 2995
Interests: larval fish; bioactive compounds; lipid metabolism
  Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at 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 papers will be 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. Fishes is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.
Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) is waived for well-prepared manuscripts submitted to this issue. 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.


  • Nutrition
  • Fish
  • Fish feeds
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Inflammation
  • Inflammatory and anti-inflammatory markers

Published Papers

Polar (Lipid) Express

Plasma levels of n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) are associated with a reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic, age-related diseases like Alzheimer's disease. In this work, we tested the hypothesis that n-3 LCPUFA fatty acids in human plasma are incorporated into selective lipid species following intake of n-3 LCPUFA rich marine fish. To test this hypothesis, we performed lipidomic analysis on plasma samples from a clinical trial in which participants consumed increasing amounts of farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Under basal conditions, n-3 and n-6 LCPUFA were selectively incorporated into plasma phosphatidylcholine (PC) species containing saturated fatty acids (SFA) versus unsaturated fatty acids as the complementary fatty acids. LCPUFA were incorporated into selective triacylglycerol (TAG) species with complementary diacylglyceryl environments of 34:1 or 34:2 (for 20:5 and 22:5) and 36:2>36:3>36:4 and 36:1 (for 20:4 and 22:6). High n-3 LCPUFA marine fish intake resulted in selective increases of PC SFA_n-3 LCPUFA species and LCPUFA-containing TAG species. Changes in cholesteryl esters and phosphatidylethanolamines also occurred following fish intake. Our results highlight the importance of discriminating phospholipid and TAG species and dietary background when evaluating lipidomic outcomes and disease associations.


the full paper is here

In this exciting paper, the authors have shown how fish consumption impacts on plasma lipids.
It is interesting that phospholipids play a key role!
Another indication that we need to keep an eye to polar lipids :)

watch this space - exciting news are coming with the Polar (Lipid) Express train ! 🐟


Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Dairy consumption and inflammatory profile: A cross-sectional population-based study, São Paulo, Brazil

Dairy consumption and inflammatory profile: A cross-sectional population-based study, São Paulo, Brazil


Data were acquired from the Health Survey for São Paulo, a cross-sectional population-based study. All individuals 20 to 59 y of age with complete food consumption information (24-h dietary recall and food frequency questionnaire) and blood sample analysis were included (N = 259). The sample was separated into two groups according to systemic inflammatory pattern considering plasma levels of C-reactive protein; tumor necrosis factor-α; soluble intracellular adhesion molecule; soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule, monocyte chemoattractant protein; interleukin-1β, -6, -8, -10, and -12; adiponectin; leptin; and homocysteine. Multiple logistic regression tests were conducted to estimate the odds ratio for the inflammatory cluster across tertiles of dairy consumption.


When adjusted by age, smoking status, and energy intake the odds ratio for the inflammatory cluster group in the highest tertile of yogurt consumption was 0.34 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.14–0.81) relative to the reference tertile, demonstrating also a linear effect (Ptrend = 0.015). Cheese consumption exhibited an odds ratio of 2.49 (95% CI, 1.09–5.75) relative to the reference.


Increasing yogurt consumption might have a protective effect on inflammation, whereas cheese consumption appears to be associated with a proinflammatory status. The results of the present study aggregate a new perspective on existing evidence demonstrating the importance of assessing the contribution of dairy products on diet and their effect on the development of non-communicable diseases and associated risk factors.

Ultra-processed foods and cancer risk

The data of this new study on linking cancer and processed food are rather severe and should be alarming...

In this large prospective study, a 10% increase in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet was associated with a significant increase of greater than 10% in risks of overall and breast cancer. Further studies are needed to better understand the relative effect of the various dimensions of processing (nutritional composition, food additives, contact materials, and neoformed contaminants) in these associations.

Study registration NCT03335644.


= = =

the implications for countries like UK and Ireland being the EU (negative) champions in consuming processed foods are noteworthy...

Some public guidelines could be developed...unless we are too busy demonising red wine...

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Believe grape expectations

(letter to the Editor - Sunday Times Ireland - 18th February 2018)

With reference to your article 

 I must point out that according to the Mediterranean diet pyramid, the moderate consumption of red wine (1-2 glasses per day) is recommended. Blue-zone people - those in longevity hotspots, where people reach the age of 100, actually do consume wine and beer.

.       From a food chemistry and nutritional point of view, all fermented alcoholic drinks have positive health impact when consumed in moderation. The French Paradox (where people in France, despite the high dietary intake of fats, have low incidence of heart diseases) explains this phenomenon due to nutritional value of red wine. On the other hand, distilled alcoholic drinks have no nutritional value whatsoever. This is a crucial point that needs to be highlighted: fermentation has a positive nutritional impact whereas distillation has only negative ones. 
   So,on what basis, does the Health Minister ignore all this strong scientific evidence and propose a cancer-related labelling on wines?

   Dr Ioannis Zabetakis

Further reading sources

Friday, 16 February 2018

Can postprandial lipemia give us the full picture?

The question of the title of this post is NOT an Academic one.
Today, we know that the development of chronic diseases is a multifactorial biological phenomenon; it's not only triglycerides and fatty acids that affect the onset of these diseases.
Therefore making an index of foods according to their "healthiness" might sound appealing but it all depends on which factors and with which gravity shall we use in this index...

Polar lipids?
Med diet?
Olive oil?
Red wine?
Beer and tea lipids?

The fat content of foods and the lipemia (as narrowly defined today) might be a rather limited angle...

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Happy Valentine's Day with ...fermented drinks!

further to our post on fermentation and alcohol (where we talked about red wine and the French paradox)
today, let's have a look on this scientific paper

Beer and health: from myths to science

where the authors state that:

"Many intervention studies provide strong evidence for a cardio-protective effect of moderate beer (alcohol) consumption. Dr Henk Hendriks (TNO, Zeist, The Netherlands) elaborated on the main processes that can explain the beneficial heart health effects: lipid (cholesterol) metabolism, blood clotting and glucose metabolism. The health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption are additive to the beneficial effects of other healthy lifestyle factors such as non-smoking, physical activity and a healthy diet".

 So, the message for the day...


 Enjoy beer and wine in moderation :)


Let's make UL BPA-free!

Number 7 in the triangle stands for PC - polycarbonate that leaches BPA to the water...

New legislation on BPA : The Commission has published today a new Regulation that significantly tightens the restrictions on the use of BPA in food contact materials. It lowers the regulatory limit (specific migration limit or 'SML'), which is the amount allowed to migrate from the plastic material into food while keeping it safe, and extends this restriction to coating materials, which are used to line food and drink cans. The new Regulation also extends the ban from 2011 on the use of BPA in baby bottles by prohibiting the use of BPA to manufacture infant 'sippy' cups as well as the migration of BPA from coated materials containing food intended for infants and children 0–3 year olds. 

The new Regulation will apply from 6 September 2018.
It's high time now to oust BPA and polycarbonate (PC) water containers from Schools and Universities in Ireland !

UL could pioneer on this - Let's stop having PC (polycarbonate) bottles on campus and make UL BPA-free! :)


Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Le'ts talk about alcohol (beyond short sighted politics!)

Alcohol kills, some say.
Of course it does!
Sugar kills as well!

If we eat at one go, 1kg of bitter almonds, we'll die of cyanide poisoning! So, do bitter almonds kill as well?

Let's be serious, frank and honest!

The dose makes the medicine, the dose makes the poison!
A balanced diet is the key when it comes to eating, to drinking, to ...everything.

When we talk about alcoholic drinks though, we need to remember that fermented drinks (beer, wine, cider etc) have important food components with strong anti-inflammatory activities and therefore cardioprotective role.

Such components and activities are not present in distilled drinks (whiskey, gin, vodka etc).

Therefore, when the discussion comes to "Alcohol kills", we need to fine-tune the discussion having in mind
1. ignorance kills
2. issuing the wrong guidelines has paramount negative side-effects
3. fermented drinks are nutritional

Further reading
1. The French paradox
2. Wine and the Med diet
3. The anti-inflammatory properties of wine 


Monday, 12 February 2018

an (unpublished) Letter to the Editor on red wine

Last Monday, I sent the following letter to the Editor of the Irish Times (that has not been published so here it is ).

= = =
Dear Sir,

With reference to the article on Sour Grapes as published 4th Feb  

I would like to bring to the public domain these points:
1.       According to the Mediterranean diet pyramid, the moderate consumption of red wine (1-2 glasses per day) is recommended,
2.       Blue zones people (the longevity hotspots on Earth today),  where people reach the age of 100, actually consume wine and beer in moderation,
3.       On what basis, does the Health Minister ignore this evidence and propose a cancer related labelling on wines?

Yours sincerely, etc
 = = =

here is some latest research that supports the view that moderate wine consumption is beneficial against chronic diseases: