The overall objective of the ATHENA project is to provide a robust scientific foundation for improved dietary recommendations that include foods with high levels of anthocyanins and related polyphenols to promote health and to protect against chronic disease. Specific objectives are to find answers to the following questions:
Benefits and risks: What is the dose response to anthocyanin phytonutrients? Are anthocyanins from different food sources equivalent? How well do anthocyanins perform in promoting health compared to other polyphenol phytonutrients such as stilbenes, isoflavones and epicatechins?
Mechanisms of action: What are the mechanisms of action of polyphenol phytonutrients in combating chronic diseases? How do anthocyanins limit weight gain/fat development? How do dietary anthocyanins offer cardioprotection? How do dietary anthocyanins slow the progression of cancers or reduce the side effects of cancer therapy?
Food or Pharma: Supplements or extracts of polyphenols do not appear to promote health as well as when they are consumed in whole foods. What is the influence of the nutritional context on the efficacy of polyphenol phytonutrients? Does nutritional context influence the bioavailability of polyphenol phytonutrients?
Roles in human: Do dietary anthocyanins afford protection against cardiovascular disease, cancer and other chronic diseases in human?
What ATHENA will achieve: