Lines of investigation
The gut microbiome represents the most-abundant set of microorganisms in our body; its modulation is of great interest in personalized medicine and nutrition. However, identifying the factors that are associated with this community is not simple, since it is diverse, complex and varies according to the geographic origin and the lifestyles of the populations.
In recent decades scientific evidence has consistently demonstrated the importance of food in the prevention of chronic non-communicable diseases. Research in food and nutrition seeks not only to understand physiological processes and the nutritional requirements during the different stages of the human life cycle.
Food and nutrition can be both risk factors and protective factors for human health. In recent years, studies have been developed to identify components of foods and other sources that can bring benefits to the body and to describe the mechanisms through which these effects are produced.
Obesity is a complex disease that consists in having an excessive quantity of body fat. It is one of the most prevailing health conditions around the world, with an alarming growth rate in most countries. Obesity is considered one of the underlying causes of non-communicable chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hypertension and certain types of cancer. The pathogenesis of obesity is a complex phenomenon that includes genetic and environmental factors. However, despite the fact there are genetic disorders associated with a higher susceptibility to the occurrence of obesity, the exposure to an obesogenic environment is necessary for this disease to occur and progress. For this reason, most of the research has focused on the environmental factors, mainly the calorie consumption and the physical inactivity.
Talking about cardiometabolic health allows proposing preventive strategies that integrate the management of the risk factors that have the most significant impact on the occurrence of non-communicable chronic diseases, which exhibit the highest morbidity and mortality rates around the world, with negative consequences for the population’s health and well-being. The occurrence of these diseases comprises a set of disorders such as hypertension, high blood sugar levels, high triglyceride levels, low high-density cholesterol levels and excess body fat. These disorders, in turn, increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Additionally, it has been determined that chronic inflammation, which is triggered by metabolic disorders and dysbiosis of the gut microbiota caused by hypercaloric diets, is an important cause in both the start and progress of the cardiometabolic syndrome.
According to the WHO, for the first time in history, most of the world population has a life expectancy equal or greater than 60 years old. By 2050, the world population in that age group will amount to two billion, increasing by 900 million in relation to 2015. Aging is, from a biological viewpoint, the consequence of the accumulation of a broad variety of molecular and cellular damages over time, which entails a gradual decline in terms of both physical and mental capabilities, as well as an increase in the risk of suffering illnesses and, ultimately, death. The most common health conditions of old age, which could be preventively addressed over the course of life, include those that affect the cardiovascular system, the bones, the joints and muscles, the digestive system, the memory and thinking abilities, as well as the neurodegenerative and cardiometabolic diseases, vision problems, hearing impairments and skin conditions.