Lipidomics is an innovative research field, and like the other “-omics” (genomics, proteomics) that dynamically study the corresponding biological molecules (genes, proteins), studies the molecules known as lipids, or more commonly known as fats.
- Lipidomics studies both the structure and function of cellular lipids, and thus the lipids of the entire organism. Furthermore, the use of lipidomics helps identify alterations in the composition of lipids caused by specific pathologies and determine the contribution of exogenous factors (diet, medications, stress, free radicals). Based on lipidomics, lipids are one of the major classes of biological molecules that regulate cellular metabolism.
- The dynamic field of lipidomics allows in-depth study of human metabolism and correlates nutrition with the generation of cellular molecular structures. Lipidomics provides highly personalized information, as it delivers a detailed screening of an individual’s lipid profile enabling us thus to draw conclusions about the metabolic state, the possible occurrence of a specific pathology, and one’s eating habits that might be associated with that pathology. Based on these conclusions, we give specific dietary guidelines, which, if followed correctly, can in fact improve one’s metabolic state to prevent the development of pathology, and even improve patient quality of life.
- The terms omega-3, omega-6, saturated and unsaturated fats are widely known. However, few people actually know at which quantity these specific fatty acids have in fact a beneficial effect. Fewer know which specific fatty acids of the above mentioned families are essential and what is their biological contribution. The detailed study and holistic treatment of lipid metabolism, build a strong foundation in understanding the biological significance of lipids and establishing a correct/healthy lifestyle and diet that can have nothing but beneficial effects. Dealing with lifestyle diseases (cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes) in an effective way, improvement of the quality of life of people with specific pathologies (neurodegeneration, autism, glaucoma, skin conditions) and improvement of the ability to perform daily activities (spiritual uplift, improved physical-athletic performance) are some of the scientifically proven benefits of the individualized lipidomics in modern life.
- The lipidomic strategy that LipiNutraGen presents includes the following steps: determination of the individual’s lipidomic profile, recording medical history and eating habits, evaluation, information and personalized guidance through dietary recommendations, monitoring of the individual both during and after implementing the recommendations. The main steps are carried out through the following services and products.
- FAT PROFILE® – Our main service is a leading molecular diagnostic tool for the complete analysis of the cell membranes lipid profile. The results of this analysis give us required the information to treat the organism depending on its needs and restore the optimal profile and the physiological function of the cell membrane and the whole organism.
- Nutragenika – Nutragenika’s line of natural food supplements are designed to restore the lipid balance in cell membranes. Our products are Notified food supplements and follow the EU Regulation. The Nutragenika line is comprised of the following products: ANTIOX, ENNE-3 plus and DHA.
Fatty acids and cell membrane
Phospholipids are the main structural components of the cell membrane. Their structure consists of a hydrophilic head (phosphate group) and two hydrophobic chains, the fatty acids chains. The composition of the cell membrane in fatty acids determines the structural and functional properties of the membrane and affects the activity of membrane proteins. Furthermore, the fatty acids of the membrane are the cell’s first line of defense against free radicals that harm the organism especially nowadays with the modern lifestyle. Consequently, the balance in the cell membrane lipid composition, leads to balance in the functions of each single cell and the organism as a whole.
Saturated and unsaturated fatty acids
Fatty acids are distinguished from one another by the lengths of their hydrocarbon tails and degrees of unsaturation, i.e. the presence or absence of double bonds between carbon atoms. They can, thus, be distinguished in saturated (SFA) and unsaturated fatty acids (UFA).
Unsaturated fatty acid – curved conformation
Saturated fatty acid – linear conformation
The presence of a double bond, the number of bonds and their position in the chain determine the specific physicochemical and biological properties of the molecule. For example, the absence of a double bond in the saturated fatty acids is responsible for the linear conformation, while the presence of a double bond in the unsaturated fatty acids is responsible for the curved conformation. The alteration of the degree of unsaturation of the membrane, by changing the composition of the fatty acids, can therefore affect its flexibility and permeability.
Unsaturated fatty acids are further classified in one of the following two categories:
– Mono-Unsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFA), which have one double bond, and
– Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA), which have two or more double bonds in their structure.
The PUFA are in turn divided into the widely known families of omega fatty acids:
- omega-3 (omega-3) and
- omega-6 (omega-6),
depending on whether the latter double bond of the carbon chain is located in the third or sixth carbon atom from the end of the chain.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFA)
Polyunsaturated fatty acids that need to be sourced from the diet because the body lacks the enzymes required for their ex-novo synthesis are called Essential fatty acids. Indeed, these fatty acids have key roles in several biological activities, while being precursor molecules for the biosynthesis of other vital fatty acids.
Linoleic acid LA (C18:2), is the principal omega-6 essential fatty acid, from which gamma-linolenic acid, GLA (C18:3, omega-6), dihomo-gamma linolenic, DGLA (C20:3, omega-6) and arachidonic acid, AA (C20:4, n-6) are synthesized by the sequential action of suitable enzymes.
The alpha-linolenic acid, ALA (C18:3) is the principal omega-3 essential fatty acid, from which the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic, EPA (C20:5, omega-3), docosapentaenoic acid, DPA (C22:5, n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid, DHA (C22:6, n-3) are synthesized by the sequential action of suitable enzymes.
In general, omega-6 fatty acids are considered pro-inflammatory as a group, due to the formation of AA, which in turn releases several inflammatory mediators. The omega-3 group, on the other hand, is considered anti-inflammatory, given that anti-inflammatory molecules are biosynthesized from precursor essential omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.
However, it should be noted that within the same omega-6 group both inflammatory and anti-inflammatory molecules do exist. Dihomo-γ-linolenic acid (DGLA, C20:3), the precursor of AA, is responsible for the release of prostaglandin, which has strong anti-inflammatory effect by inhibiting the phospholipase A2 enzymatic activity. This determines the release of AA from the cell membrane, which is known to induce inflammation and its progression.
Biosynthetic pathways and dietary sources of omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Trans fatty acids, oxidative stress and wrong eating habits:
It should be noted that the double bonds of the unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA and PUFA) that are found in the human body mainly occur in a cis conformation, the characteristic curved structure that affects lipid aggregation in the cell membrane.
The conversion of the double bond conformation from cis to trans (cis – trans isomerization) can take place either within the organism under stressful conditions, such as the free radicals effect during oxidative stress, or exogenously by the thermal and chemical food processing. In one way or another, though, the trans fatty acids content incorporated into the cell membrane is increased.
When fatty acids are in their trans conformation, the curved conformation of the double bond is altered and their structure becomes similar to that of the linear saturated fats, while exhibiting biological functions independent of those of unsaturated fats or their cis isomers, changing, hence, the structure and function of the cell membrane. Trans fats can also inhibit enzymatic activities and when their concentration is high they can even cause cell apoptosis (programmed cell death).
Areas of application
The cell membrane composition plays an important role in the overall state of the organism. Deviations from the normal composition are associated with pathological conditions, and their regulation contributes to both the treatment of pathologies and the improvement of the quality of life. The benefits of Lipidomicis in combination with the personalized nutritional intervention, both in daily activities and in pathological conditions are enormous. The main areas of Lipidomics application are:
- Physical activity and wellbeing
- Mental activity
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Neurological disorders (mental disorders, depression, autism)
- Ophthalmological disorders
- Alzheimer Prevention
- Cancer patient suport
- Cystic fibrosis
- Dermatological diseases
- Metabolic disorders