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Targeting aging with functional food: Pasta with opuntia single-arm pilot study

  • Authors: Aiello, Anna; Di Bona, Danilo; Candore, Giuseppina; Carru, Ciriaco; Zinellu, Angelo; Di Miceli, Giuseppe; Nicosia, Aldo; Gambino, Caterina Maria; Ruisi, Paolo; Caruso, Calogero*; Vasto, Sonya; Accardi, Giulia
  • Publication year: 2018
  • Type: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • OA Link:


Interventions to extend life span represent the new perspective in aging investigation. Healthy dietary habits are important modifiable factors that can favor a healthy aging phenotype. Many studies have demonstrated benefits for metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes mellitus resulting from the traditional Mediterranean foods. Opuntia Ficus Indica (OFI), widespread in the Mediterranean basin, belongs to the Cactaceae family. It is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Moreover, products containing extracts from OFI fruits or cladodes have been used to control obesity and other metabolic parameters, such as glycemia and lipid profile. The aim of this study was to analyze the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect of pasta with 3% of OFI cladode extracts added to show its beneficial effect in human health. We performed a single arm longitudinal intervention study in 42 healthy volunteers, administrating 500 g/week of this functional pasta for 30 days. Our pasta had antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties with putative effect on the aging process and related metabolic diseases. We also demonstrated a hypoglycemic effect. The results are preliminary, but it is possible to speculate that our pasta could be considered an effective food for the prevention of age-related metabolic disorders.