University of Porto scientists suspect they ‘have the key’ to preventing cardiovascular diseases

Image of the University of Porto.

Image of the University of Porto. Credit: Wikipedia/Dafema - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.

RESEARCHERS from the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto (FCUP) are conducting tests that could eventually prevent cardiovascular diseases.

In a statement, the FCUP clarified that its researchers suspect they ‘have the key’ to preventing these diseases. Their study is linked to drinks that are fermented in a similar way to wine, but that do not contain alcohol.

‘These recipes, formulated by Sumol+Compal and Tetrapack, rich in fruit containing antioxidant compounds associated with health, aim to prevent heart attacks or strokes’, highlighted the FCUP.

‘Producers will be able to move forward with these new functional drinks and get them ready to hit the shelves’, if the results are as expected, they explained, as reported by

‘Nectars of the future’, will be tested in the college’s laboratories, with alcoholic fermentation technology using yeast to reduce the sugar content of juices.

What will the researchers do?

First, they will look into the chemical and nutritional characteristics to understand: ‘what changes in a juice when fermented, along with which molecules and nutrients may be ‘more promising’.

‘We want to understand whether these drinks are capable of reversing a set of metabolic changes, such as diabetes and hypertension, because we know that those who develop them are 3.5 times more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases’, said Iva Fernandes, the leader of the project.

In the project titled FERMEN.TO, the researchers intend to study the impact of the fermentation process on a drink during its production, as well as the transformation of the different components after oral intake. To do this, they will simulate the process of ingesting juices, on an ‘in vitro’ platform.

What will the study involve?

The researcher from the Associated Laboratory for Green Chemistry (LAQV-REQUIMTE) at FCUP explained that they will start by studying what happens in the mouth, before moving on when it passes through the stomach and intestine.

Samples will be taken throughout the process, to allow them to later study what is absorbed in each compartment.

After that, the most relevant molecules that can reach different organs through the bloodstream will be selected, to understand whether or not they reverse metabolic conditions.

‘In the end, results from this project will be tested with fat cells and muscle tissue, where conditions such as diabetes or hypertension will be simulated’.

Their aim is to confirm whether these fermented juices are: ‘easier to digest and strengthen the intestinal flora’, added the FCUP.

They noted that the objective was, in a new project, to validate the results in volunteers with and without metabolic syndrome.

The FERMEN.TO project will last for 18 months. It has the collaboration of NOVA Medical School , the Institute for Research in Food Sciences at the University of Madrid, Sumol+Compal and Tetrapack.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at