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J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl), 2018; 102(): 885-891, PMID: 29218776

Is the consumption of snail meat actually healthy? An analysis of the osteotropic influence of snail meat as a sole source of protein in growing rats.

Year: 2018

Radzki RP, Bienko M, Polak P, Szkucik K, Ziomek M, Ostapiuk M, Bienias J
Department of Animal Physiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Life Sciences in Lublin, Poland.


The study was aimed at determining the osteotropic effects of diets containing snail meat as a sole protein source. In our experiment, we tested three different diets incorporating snail meat originating from Helix pomatia (HP), Cornu.aspesa maxima (CAM) and Cornu.aspersum aspersum (CAA) and compared these to a control diet (CON) in which casein was the source of protein. In all diets, the protein content amounted to 10%, as calculated on a dry weight basis. In the study, forty male Wistar rats with an initial body mass of 50 +/- 2 g were randomly placed within the control and three experimental groups. After 28 days of experimental feeding, the rats were sacrificed, and the body mass, total skeletal density and body composition were recorded. Moreover, blood serum (osteocalcin, CTX) and isolated tibia (pQCT, DXA, 3D micro-CT, 3-point bending test) were stored for further analysis. The results reveal that a diet incorporating snail meat significantly decreased BMC (bone mineral content), as well as area of total skeleton and isolated tibia, and was without influence on BMD (bone mineral density). Furthermore, the 3D micro-CT analysis of trabecular compartment documented a reduced Tb.Th (trabecular thickness), as well as Tb.N (trabecular number), and an increased Tb.Sp (trabecular separation). Beyond the aforementioned, the snail-based diets had an influence upon the architectonical properties of the tibia-decreasing its resistance to mechanical loading. Finally, snail meat, when used as an alone source of protein, negatively influenced the metabolism of the bone tissue in growing animals-making bone smaller and weaker.

GID: 4577; Last update: 08.01.2018