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UNDERSTANDING THE BIOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF DIETARY COMPLEX PHENOLS AND TANNINS AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS FOR THE CONSUMER'S HEALTH AND WELL BEING

Objective



The problem to be addressed concerns the lack of knowledge surrounding the
biological effects of the hundreds or thousands of grams per year complex phenols and tannins consumed annually by virtually all adults in the EU. The quantities vary depending on the diet and the burden varies qualitatively with regard to the relative proportions of condensed tannin, ellagitannins and several types of complex phenols (or derived tannins). There are marked geographic variations in diet, and hence consumption of complex phenols and tannins, across the EU and these might be associated with known variations in the incidence of certain chronic diseases. That complex phenols and tannins exert biological effects seems not to be disputed, but the mechanisms (local, endocrine or systemic) are largely unknown, and whether the effects are beneficial or deleterious remains controversial and almost certainly depends on which substance(s) is being considered and under what circumstances. It is therefore timely that the biological properties of the various types of complex phenols and tannins are compared.

The overall objective of this project is to gain an understanding of the biological
effects of the complex phenols and tannins in the human diet and their implications for the health and general well-being of the European consumer. In particular, the study will seek to determine whether selected complex phenols and tannins :
- impair or enhance the absorption of selected minerals;
- offer protection against dietary and environmental toxicants;
- are associated epidemiologically and/or influence experimentally the risk of
colon cancer and other chronic diseases and;
- where biological effects are observed, the mechanisms responsible and
significance.

The approach is :
- to isolate or synthesise the complex phenols and tannins to be tested;
- to screen these fractions in vitro;
- to test the most relevant fractions in animal studies;
- to collect and analyze dietary and epidemiological data across the EU;
- to assess free-living volunteers using biomarkers of exposure and biological effects;
- to integrate the data obtained and formulate a hypothesis regarding the
human significance of complex phenols and tannins in the diet.

Call for proposal

Data not available

Coordinator

UNIVERSITY OF SURREY
EU contribution
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Address

GU2 7XH GUILDFORD
United Kingdom

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Participants (11)