Flavonoids: a review of probable mechanisms of action and potential applications

Am J Clin Nutr. 2001 Oct;74(4):418-25. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/74.4.418.


The aim of this review, a summary of the putative biological actions of flavonoids, was to obtain a further understanding of the reported beneficial health effects of these substances. Flavonoids occur naturally in fruit, vegetables, and beverages such as tea and wine. Research in the field of flavonoids has increased since the discovery of the French paradox,ie, the low cardiovascular mortality rate observed in Mediterranean populations in association with red wine consumption and a high saturated fat intake. Several other potential beneficial properties of flavonoids have since been ascertained. We review the different groups of known flavonoids, the probable mechanisms by which they act, and the potential clinical applications of these fascinating natural substances.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Flavonoids* / adverse effects
  • Flavonoids* / pharmacokinetics
  • Flavonoids* / therapeutic use
  • Food*
  • Humans


  • Antioxidants
  • Flavonoids