Beneficial effects of dietary bioactive peptides and polyphenols on cardiovascular health in humans


ABOUT BACCHUS (Grant no. 312090)

Duration: 4 years from October 2012 to September 2016

Coordinator: BACCHUS was led by the Institute of Food Research (IFR, UK).

Project partners:  BACCHUS had 28 beneficiaries including 15 SMEs from 11 countries. BACCHUS involved academic partners engaged in food and health research underpinning potential health claims, and SMEs developing food products and pursuing health claims

Source of funding: BACCHUS Project was a collaborative Research Project and funded through the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme.


Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Europe, and easily measured risk factors (e.g. blood pressure, cholesterol) are targets for international health programmes. Consumption of polyphenols reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, but pre-clinical research has demonstrated bioactive peptides and polyphenols also exert beneficial physiological effect on the unhealthy cardiovascular system (e.g. hypertension), which has been a driver for investment by the food industry including SMEs.

Despite numerous potential health claim submissions to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), only one dossier describing a cause-and-effect relationship between bioactive peptides or polyphenols has been given a favourable opinion. There are specific challenges associated with proving scientifically a beneficial physiological relationship between markers for risk of cardiovascular disease and consumption of bioactive peptides and polyphenols including: characterisation of the bioactive compounds, appropriate biomarkers, efficacy and dose in humans, and a plausible mechanism of action leading to a specific health claim.

Aim & Project Deliverable(s)

BACCHUS developed tools and resources facilitating the generation of robust and exploitable scientific evidence, which can be used to support cause-and-effect relationships between beneficial physiological effects related to cardiovascular health in humans and consumption of bioactive peptides and polyphenols. Existing food products, developed by SMEs, with clear potential for favourable health claim opinions, have been selected and aligned with research addressing key aspects of the EFSA health claim evaluation (e.g. legislation and dossiers, product bioactive characterisation, intake and bioavailability, mechanisms of action and biomarkers, randomised controlled trials). This approach delivered tools, processes, scientific results and best practice guidelines, which were be made publically available and support future health claims. Outcomes were disseminated broadly within the SME food and retail community as well as traditional scientific routes.


EuroFIR AISBL was in charge, together with IFR, UCC and CSIC-CEBAS, of developing and extending eBASIS databank to include additional bioactive compounds classes such as peptides and individual polyphenols.EuroFIR AISBL was also involved in the development and in the management of  BACCHUS’ website as well as dissemination materials and supporting stakeholder & training engagements.


Find out more

For more information visit BACCHUS website