Refine your search

COBRA study´s Profile image

COBRA study

Research group
01.01.2024 -
Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences


Welcome to the study!

In the COBRA study, the aim is to investigate how the fiber content in various foods affects the digestibility of protein in the intestine and the activity of intestinal microbes. The study consists of 5 research sessions, during which participants are provided with 5 meals. Each meal is consumed twice: once at home the evening before the research visit and once during the research visit in the morning. The morning after the research day, participants bring stool and urine samples to the research facilities at the university at a prearranged time. Throughout the study, blood samples are taken from participants, and they are asked to complete questionnaires. Protein metabolism markers are analyzed from blood, stool, and urine samples.

Prior to the study, participants follow a low-protein diet for two days and keep a food diary during this period. Research visits take place on weekday mornings, from Monday to Thursday, and last approximately 4.5 hours. After the research visit, participants are provided with lunch at the university restaurant. The research visits occur in the research facilities of the University of Eastern Finland, Department of Clinical Nutrition Science. The flow of the study is illustrated in the diagram below.

At the end of the study, participants receive feedback on their usual diet, as well as the results of laboratory tests with reference values. This study aims to provide valuable additional information on the utilization of plant-based protein sources, especially regarding the intestinal health effects of food. The results of the study can be applied to the development of healthier and more sustainable protein alternatives and the formulation of nutritional recommendations.


Anyone who can commit to the study and meets the following criteria can participate:

Inclusion criteria:

  • Aged 30-65
  • Body mass index (BMI) is over 25 kg/m2 and under 35 kg/m2
  • Waist circumference is over 85 cm for women and over 100 cm for men

Exclusion criteria:

  • Certain chronic diseases requiring regular medication (e.g., type 2 diabetes, chronic liver, kidney, thyroid, or gastrointestinal diseases)
  • Pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • Gluten-free or vegan diet
  • Use of antibiotics within the last 12 months
  • Gastrointestinal surgery within the last two years
  • High alcohol consumption

Suitability for the study will be confirmed with screening blood tests and other measurements during the first research visit.

For more information

PhD Researcher Moona Partanen

phone: +358 504759536 (weekdays 9-11 and 12-15)

to sign up for the study

Study Nurse Ulla Miettinen

+358 503362398 (Mon-Thu 9-11 ja 12-15)


Study group

The University of Eastern Finland conducts the study, and it is researcher-driven.

The study is part of the national FOODNUTRI project, which aims to improve Finland’s national nutrition research infrastructure and sustainable food system.

The North Savo Hospital District’s Medical Regional Ethics Committee has reviewed the research plan and provided a favorable opinion.

The main funders of the study are the European Regional Development Fund and the North Savo Regional Council.

Description of the study visit

Description of the study visit