Bethesda, MDThe National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced that five research centers will receive a combined $35 million in funding over the next several years to study the "safety of natural products, on how they work within the body and on the development of cutting-edge research technologies."

Three existing centers will receive nearly $10 million each over the next five years, and two new centers will receive a total of $6.25 million over the next five years.

“Natural products have a long and impressive history as sources of medicine and as important biological research tools,” said Josephine Briggs, M.D., director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. “These centers will seek not only to understand potential mechanisms by which natural products may affect health, but also to address persistent technological challenges for this field by taking full advantage of innovative advances in biological and chemical methodology.” 

A rundown of the research projects are as follows:

  • The Dietary Botanicals in the Preservation of Cognitive and Psychological Resilience program (principle location at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City) will investigate whether grape-derived polyphenols can promote "cognitive and psychological resilience to common psychological stresses including sleep deprivation."

  • The Botanicals and Metabolic Resiliency program (principle location at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge) will study whether botanicals can promote metabolic resiliency, maintain health in the presence of stressors like high-fat foods or inflammation and how they achieve these effects. 

  • The Botanical Dietary Supplements for Women’s Health program (principle location at the University of Illinois at Chicago) "will advance its ground-breaking work on the characterization and standardization of complex botanical products, and on the interactions of those products with estrogens and with prescription drugs with a continuing focus on safety."

  • The Center for High-throughput Functional Annotation of Natural Products (principle location at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas; Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada; University of California, Santa Cruz) will attempt to "improve the speed, breadth, and precision of the chemical and biological characterization of natural products." It will also develop a data-driven website to help disseminate information.

  • The UIC Natural Products Technology Center (principle location at the University of Illinois at Chicago) try to create good research practices for natural products and "develop and share cutting-edge bioanalytical methodologies that address important biomedical questions and advance a more holistic research approach regarding natural products and their metabolomic complexity."

Published on WholeFoods Magazine Onine, 9/12/15