At CINTESIS, in October, breakfasts will get bigger. There will be bread, cheese, yogurts…and tuna. It is at the invitation of Science, and the aim is to learn what are the benefits of Omega-3-enriched tuna for cardiovascular health.
A group of researchers from CINTESIS will start a clinical study that intends to evaluate the effect of the consumption of tuna enriched with Omega-3 fatty acids in the cardiovascular health of healthy adults. The study is part of an innovative project entitled FUNCTIONALTUNA – development of functional tuna preserves, whose ultimate goal is to create a “super-preserve” that is proven to protect the cardiovascular health of consumers.
“We often come across packages that say ‘high in Omega-3’. What this team wants to do is to scientifically test whether the consumption of an Omega-3-enriched food has a direct and measurable influence on people’s cardiovascular health indicators,” explains André Rosário, a CINTESIS researcher and a member of the team responsible for the clinical trial.
In other words, the research team seeks to assess the bioavailability (the degree of absorption of a substance and its subsequent availability at the site of action) of Omega-3 fatty acids when ingested with canned fish.
To this end, researchers at CINTESIS are looking for 30 healthy volunteers, ages 18-59, who are interested in participating in the trial. Volunteers will be asked to visit CINTESIS twice in Porto, two weeks apart. There, they will make fasting clinical assessments and then be invited to a big breakfast with bread, yogurt, cheese and … tuna. At one visit, the tuna will be enriched with Omega-3 fatty acids. In the other, it will be normal tuna.
“The evaluation of cardiovascular risk markers will be performed fasting and during the five hours after consumption of the study meal. These data will then be compared and the efficacy of intake of the Omega-3 tuna preserve will be measured,” explain the researchers, stressing that collaboration in the project does not involve taking any medicine and that medical evaluations (blood tests, measurement of blood pressure …) are performed by experienced health professionals.
The results of this clinical study will elucidate the consumers and health professionals about the real health effects of consuming canned tuna high in Omega-3 fish oil. In the long run, the FUNCTIONALTUNA project aims to develop a preserve of tuna that contains a set of functional ingredients in sufficient quantity to allow a physiological response in cardiovascular protection, with the maintenance of normal levels of triglycerides in blood, allowing its classification as a functional food.
It is important to remember that Omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish have been shown to be effective in reducing triglycerides and maintaining blood pressure. “In the case of essential fatty acids, the supplementation of foods with Omega-3 fatty acids may be a way to counteract their deficiencies, while at the same time bringing benefits to the general population,” explains CINTESIS researcher Luís Azevedo, who specializes in clinical studies.