31st International Conference of the Functional Food Center

October 1-3, 2023 at the Matenadaran, Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient ManuscriptsResearch Institute in Yerevan, Republic Armenia

In-person with virtual option

Since 1998, The Functional Food Center (FFC) has been a pioneer in the functional food industry, combining cutting-edge expertise in the biomedical sciences with practical business experience in order to aid in further research, development, and commercialization of functional food innovations in both domestic and international markets. The FFC connects a global network of professionals (scientists, functional food experts, and food industry representatives) to an environment conducive to innovative research collaboration.

The 31st International Conference of the Functional Food Center (FFC) will take place at the Matenadaran in Yerevan, Republic Armenia from October 1st-3rd, 2023. This conference will bring together experts in medicine, biology, and the food industry to discuss the usage of functional foods with bioactive compounds as dietary interventions for chronic and viral diseases, such as COVID-19, with a special emphasis on functional foods with medieval origins.

The Matenadaran contains one of the world’s largest repositories of ancient manuscripts, including thousands of years’ worth of cumulated knowledge from medieval Armenian doctors and ancient Greek physicians like Galen and Hippocrates. These manuscripts document the healing properties of the plant and animal foods of the ancient world. Approaching these remedies from a modern functional foods perspective, we can now identify alkaloid glucosides, flavonoids, saponins, and other features of medieval medicine as relevant bioactive compounds for the promotion of health. Teucrium polium, a common ingredient in a traditional Armenian relaxing herbal tea, for example, has recently shown in animal studies the potential to prevent menopause-related neurodegenerative memory loss. This conference will highlight many of the traditional uses of food for the prevention and treatment of disease in sessions like «Armenian alternative and traditional medicine, functional food and bioactive compounds».

The conference will be hosted by three main organizers: Danik Martirosyan, PhD, Founder and President of the FFC; Vahan Ter-Ghevondian, PhD, Director of the Matenadaran; and Mkrtich Avagyan, MD, Head of the Department of Alternative Medicine at Yerevan State Medical University named after Mkhitar Heratsi, and Chief at the Center for Rehabilitation, Preventive and Traditional Medicine “AltMed”.

The head organizer, Dr. Martirosyan, has made a name for himself as one of the best known founders in the Functional Food Science field. He is the author of the FFC functional food definition, an editor of 10 Functional Food Science textbooks, and the founder of several  functional food scientific journals, including «Functional Foods in Health and Disease» (FFHD) and «Bioactive Compounds in Health and Disease» (BCHD), and «Functional Food Science» (FFS), two of which are indexed in Scopus and Web of Science. Since 2004, Dr. Martirosyan and the FFC have hosted 29 international conferences for a global community of researchers, food scientists, and academics. Notable conferences have taken place at Harvard Medical School (2019), University of California, Los Angeles (2013), University of California, Santa Barbara (2012), Kobe University in Japan (2015), University of Regensburg in Germany (2014), and an upcoming conference at the University of the Aegean in Greece in September 2022. In 2004, these conferences started with a modest size of around 30 scientists and since then have expanded to 4-5 thousand conference participants during the past two conferences.

This philosophy of using natural foods as medicine, despite having been medicinal dogma for thousands of years, fell into relative obscurity during the last century along with the rise of synthetic drug therapies. Consequently, the prevalence of chronic diseases like cancers, diabetes, and heart disease have skyrocketed in Western countries and are only projected to increase over the coming decades. These conditions have reignited interest in the use of functional foods and bioactive compounds as a cost-effective method for preventing and managing chronic disease and have launched billion dollar industries.

Unfortunately, many unscrupulous companies took advantage of this trend to create food products that were not backed by rigorous clinical trials and epidemiological data. This inspired the founding of the FFC in 1998 by Dr. Martirosyan. The FFC defines functional foods as, Natural or processed foods that contain biologically-active compounds, which, in defined, effective, non-toxic amounts, provide a clinically proven and documented health benefit utilizing specific biomarkers, to promote optimal health and reduce the risk of chronic/viral diseases and manage their symptoms,and set out to establish a methodology for the classification and development of functional food products and a database for functional food research. Since then, the FFC has created a global network of thousands of scientists, functional food experts, and food industry representatives who support the FFC’s mission.

Additional Resources

Visit the Functional Food Center’s homepage for more information.

Now we are collecting abstracts for oral presentation. Limited availabilities, apply here. Contact the FFC with any additional questions or comments here.