Knowledge Based Bio-Economy


Biomarkers of robustness of metabolic homeostasis for nutrigenomics-derived health claims made on food (Nutrition)

Project acronym: BIOCLAIMS

Title of project: Biomarkers of robustness of metabolic homeostasis for nutrigenomics-derived health claims made on food

Research area: Nutrition

Contract No: 244995

EU contribution: €5 999 984

Start date: March 2010

Duration: 60 months

Status: on-going

Decisions about what we eat focus on maintaining optimal health – this is true in the advice that health experts give, as well as in EU legislation. Yet, most accepted biomarkers (indicators of biological condition) quantify disease endpoints or damage, not optimal health. This has led to major problems in demonstrating health benefits and establishing health claims for foodstuffs, and blocks economic and health developments in the food sector.

BIOCLAIMS is developing new ‘health biomarkers’ through quantifying the robustness of the homeostatic mechanisms involved in maintaining optimal health. This is based on the assumption that the ability to maintain homeostasis (a stable healthy condition) in a continuously challenging environment and changing physiology is essential for healthy ageing. The mechanisms involved in this are being investigated through a series of food interventions in animal models and humans.

Human models for metabolic and vascular health are used to study the responses of established and novel biomarkers to challenges to homeostasis and to selected food interventions. Both advanced analytical methodologies, including nutrigenomics tools (transcriptomics, metabolomics, fatty acid composition, adipokine profile, macromolecule damage), and whole body physiological assessments, are being used to derive a series of new biomarkers. Gender differences are taken into account.

The BIOCLAIMS consortium consists of 11 partners with track records in animal physiology, human studies in the relevant health areas, nutrigenomics and new analytical approaches, and the scientific assessment of health claims in the EU. The project will deliver a series of robust biomarkers, predictive of a healthy metabolic phenotype during ageing, based on stressors of homeostasis. These biomarkers will be fully characterised and evaluated for practical application in human nutrition, and will be compared to traditional markers.

This work will provide scientific evidence to support the development of health claims for foodstuffs. This has important societal and economic implications, as the interest in health-promoting foods is already great and is still growing in developed societies.

Website of project:

Coordinator: Prof. Andreu Palou,

Organisation: Universitat de les Illes Belears, Spain,