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DSM and University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) announce cooperation with focus on role of nutrition in healthy ageing

Kaiseraugst, CH, 13 Sep 2011 12:00 CEST

DSM and UMCG have signed an agreement and will cooperate in research projects on the role of micronutrients, in particular vitamins, in healthy development and longevity.

Research projects on the role of micronutrients in metabolism and gene-regulation will be established in ERIBA (European Institute for the Biology of Ageing). Nutrient intake and markers of nutritional status, as well as the impact of nutrient inadequacies throughout the lifecycle will be monitored in the LifeLines program. LifeLines is a large prospective cohort, comprising a representative sample of 165.000 participants from the northern provinces of the Netherlands in a three-generation family design. The aim of LifeLines is to study universal risk factors and their modifiers for multifactorial diseases.

As part of the collaboration, a Nutrition Science teaching program for students in medical sciences will be established that addresses the role of vitamins and micronutrients in health and disease. Furthermore, the cooperation envisages co-sponsorship of PhD students who will work at UMCG and at DSM research laboratories. By this approach the translation of new scientific approaches to nutritional solutions will be enhanced.

This program will contribute to achieving the goals defined by the European Union to increase the quality of life and to add healthy life years to the population by 2020. In the scope of “Bright Science”, DSM has since several years diverse projects exploring the role of micronutrients to develop new nutritional solutions. However, more science and nutritional studies are needed; this will help in better understanding the complex roles micronutrients play in human physiology and healthy aging.

Healthy ageing is a key topic in today’s societies. It is well established from scientific studies that a balanced diet containing essential nutrients and minerals makes a significant contribution to reducing the burden of chronic diseases and contributing to a healthy ageing. It is essential to elaborate evidence-based concepts to improve nutrition and to provide fact-based information on micronutrients in order to progress the field and to promote their potential for healthy living. Recent scientific advancements in nutrient-gene interactions as well as in analytical chemistry open new insights on how vitamins work, and on individual differences regarding nutrient requirement.