Current Projects - J.Lovegrove

Impact of increasing doses of flavonoid-rich and flavonoid-poor fruit and vegetables on cardiovascular risk factors in an 'at risk' group. (Food Standards Agency).

Studies have indicated that consumption of fruit and vegetables (F&V) is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). However, information about the reduction in risk associated with different levels of intake, evidence to allow identification of the types of F&V contributing to risk reduction, and a clear mechanistic basis for the relationship, are lacking. There is accumulating evidence that dietary flavonoids, non-nutrient components of F&V, may in large part explain the CVD benefits of increased F&V intake. However this hypothesis has not been tested in an adequately powered dietary intervention study. This proposal aims to determine whether there is a dose-response relationship between levels of F&V and, specifically, flavonoid consumption and endothelial function (primary study outcome). The response of a range of other CVD risk factors, including blood lipids, blood pressure, insulin sensitivity and inflammation, will also be investigated. The study is designed to provide a sound basis for dietary advice on the types and levels of F&V consumption required to reduce risk of CVD in the general UK population and 'at risk' subgroups.

Apolipoprotein E genotype as a determinant of LDL cholesterol response to dietary fat manipulation. (WELLCOME).

An individual's genetic make up is being increasingly recognised as being important in determining risk of disease, and the benefit gained from positive dietary changes. The ability to genetically profile is become increasingly feasible. However, if this information is likely to be of use in the future to reduce an individual and population burden of chronic disease, then a clear understanding of the association between gene variants, diet and disease risk needs to be gained. The apoE genotype has been consistently recognised as impacting on the risk of heart disease, which is partly due to a higher LDLC (bad cholesterol) in E4 individuals (25% UK population). Furthermore, there is a suggestion that the impact of dietary fat LDLC may depend on apoE genotype. The current study will expand our current knowledge on these genotype-dietary fat- heart disease associations and has the following goals:

1) Investigate using a human clinical trial the impact of genotype on how the fat composition of the diet influences LDLC.

2) To make a significant contribution to current knowledge as to: a) who is likely to benefit most from changing the fat composition of the diet;and b) the ability of dietary fat change to in part counter-act the increased risk associated with an apoE4 genotype.

Diet, genomics and the metabolic syndrome: an integrated nutrition, agro-food, social and economic analysis (EU Sixth Framework Programme)

The primary focus of LIPGENE is the interaction of nutrients and genotype in the metabolic syndrome. This disorder is associated with overweight and obesity and is characterized by dyslipidaemia, insulin resistance and hypertension. To ascertain the responsiveness to dietary fat modification, a large multi-centre dietary intervention study will examine how diets varying in both fat content and composition influence insulin sensitivity and other aspects of the metabolic syndrome. This will include a measure of the genetic determinants of responsiveness to dietary fat modification in the management of the metabolic syndrome.Parallel studies with adipocyte and endothelial cells will investigate the molecular mechanisms whereby individual dietary fatty acids influence aspects of cell metabolism related to the metabolic syndrome.

Impact of the amount and composition of dietary fat and carbohydrate on metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease risk (RISCK). (Food Standards Agency)

There is evidence that the amount and quality of dietary fat and carbohydrate can modify some features of the metabolic syndrome including blood lipids, insulin resistance, hypertension and endothelial function. A key scientific and public health question is whether reducing intakes of saturated fats via low fat, high carbohydrate diets, or by moderate fat diets in which saturated fats are substituted with monounsaturated fats, have differential effects on risk factors for the metabolic syndrome. Whilst randomised controlled trials have helped elucidate the impact of these regimens on lipid risk factors, this has not been the case for insulin sensitivity. Moreover it is presently unclear whether the adverse effects of high carbohydrate diets on lipid risk factors, via heightened insulin and glucose responses, can be alleviated by the substitution of foods with lower glycaemic index. This study addresses the comparative effects of these diets in a suitably powered intervention on insulin sensitivity. It will also consider some additional aspects of the metabolic syndrome in order to provide a comprehensive analysis to inform public nutrition policy.

Implications of a Nutrition Driven Food Policy for Land Use and the Rural Environment (BBSRC/ESRC/DEFRA)

The research will examine the potential for development of sustainable food chains (concentrating on ruminant livestock and fruit and vegetable production systems) capable of delivering healthy foods at prices consumers are willing to pay; assess the impacts of change on diet and health as well as land use and the rural environment (including impacts on landscape and biodiversity) and economy; and investigate policy options for achieving desirable outcomes. The aim of project is to provide a body of evidence, supported by underpinning research that can be used to inform policy and practice. The Programme is expected to contribute to the long-term outcome of achieving a rural economy that meets social and economic objectives, with protection of the rural environment and a modern, sustainable and competitive agricultural industry.

Determination of the impact of porridge oats and whole grain fortified porridge on intestinal and systemic markers of human health and disease (RETF/Jordans)

Plant based foods rich in complex carbohydrates are considered health promoting and long been seen as healthy or wholesome. They have more recently been linked to protection from chronic diseases including coronary heart disease and cancer in epidemiological studies. There is also a growing body of experimental evidence linking particular plant based foods with protection from disease. Three different carbohydrate fractions are likely to contribute towards these health promoting activities; low glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates, soluble fibre (including prebiotics) and insoluble fibre. The study will establish the glycemic and prebiotic index of porridge (and fortified porridge), compared to other breakfast cereals, and investigate the relative importance of soluble fibre (prebiotic), insoluble fibre and low glycemic loading in protection from heart disease and improved gut health. In addition it will give us important data as to whether promoting slowly absorbed low-glycemic index carbohydrates into the current healthy eating advice recommended to CVD patients can reduce CVD risk factors more effectively than giving the current healthy eating advice.

A study to investigate the biokinetics and effects of flavonoids-rich fruit drink on endothelial function (JUSJUICE). (GSK)

There is increasing evidence that the consumption of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is associated with a reduction in the risk of heart disease. Fruits and vegetables are known to contain high levels of the antioxidant vitamins C and E. However, they also contain other classes of antioxidants, such as flavonoids, and these are present in most fruits and vegetables and their derived products. Many epidemiological studies have shown that a diet high in flavonoids may lead to a decrease in the risk of developing heart disease and some other diseases such as cancer. However, very little is known about the effects of flavonoids from blackcurrant juice, and the levels that are produced in the blood. The purpose of this study is to investigate the absorption of flavonoids from blackcurrant juice over an 8-hour period, and to determine the effect on blood vessel elasticity and other markers of good health.

Pharmocokinetics and metabolism of Champagne wine components in healthy subjects (CIVC - Comite Interprofessionnel des Vins de Champagne).

The purpose of this study is to establish the bioavaibility of Champagne wine polyphenols and their metabolism. To this end a placebo-controlled randomised cross-over human trial study will be conducted in healthy volunteers. The absorption and metabolism of the polyphenols will be measured in plasma and urine samples. Plasma antioxidant status, inflammatory markers and vascular reactivity will be also assessed in order to evaluate the effects of the intake of Champagne wine.

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Telephone: +44 (0) 118 378 6418 (internal 6418)
Email Address: j.a.lovegrove@
reading.ac.uk

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