Assessment of the efficacy of functional food ingredients-introducing the concept "kinetics of biomarkers"

H Verhagen, S Coolen, G Duchateau, M Hamer, Janet Kyle, A Rechner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Functional foods are "foods and beverages with claimed health benefits based on scientific evidence". Health claims need to be substantiated scientifically.
The future of functional foods will heavily rely on proven efficacy in well-controlled intervention studies with human volunteers. In order to have the maximum output of human trials, improvements are needed with respect to study design and optimization of study protocols. Efficacy at realistic intake levels needs to be established in studies with humans via the use of suitable biomarkers, unless the endpoint can be measured directly. The human body is able to deal with chemical entities irrespective of their origin, and the pharmaceutical terms "absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion" have their equivalent when biomarkers are concerned. Whereas only "diurnal variation" or "circadian rhythm" is sometimes considered, little attention is paid to "kinetics of biomarkers".
"Kinetics of biomarkers" comprises "formation, distribution, metabolism and excretion". However, this is at present neither an established science nor common practice in nutrition research on functional foods. As a consequence, sampling times and matrices, for example, are chosen on the basis of historical practice and convenience (for volunteers and scientists) but not on the basis of in depth insight.
The concept of kinetics of biomarkers is illustrated by a variety of readily comprehensible examples, such as malaria, cholesterol, polyphenols, glutathione-S-transferase alpha, F2-isoprostanes, interleukin-6, and plasma triacylglycerides. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-78
Number of pages14
JournalMutation Research - Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2004


  • health claims
  • functional foods
  • dietary intervention
  • biomarkers
  • in-vivo
  • brassica vegetables
  • urinary metabolites
  • mass spectrometry
  • dietary intake
  • plasma
  • humans
  • interleukin-6
  • exercise
  • mechanisms


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