Polyphenols: do they play a role in the prevention of human pathologies?

Biomed Pharmacother. 2002 Jun;56(4):200-7. doi: 10.1016/s0753-3322(02)00178-6.

Abstract

Polyphenols are the most abundant antioxidants in our diets. The main classes of polyphenols are phenolic acids (mainly caffeic acid) and flavonoids (the most abundant in the diet are flavanols (catechins plus proanthocyanidins), anthocyanins and their oxidation products), which account for one- and two-thirds, respectively. Polyphenols are reducing agents, and together with other dietary reducing agents, such as vitamin C, vitamin E and carotenoids, referred to as antioxidants, protect the body's tissues against oxidative stress and associated pathologies such as cancers, coronary heart disease and inflammation. The biological properties, bioavailability, antioxidant activity, specific interactions with cell receptors and enzymes, are related to the chemical structure of polyphenols. It is, therefore, essential to know the nature of the main polyphenols ingested, their dietary origin, the amounts consumed in different diets, their bioavailability and the factors controlling their bioavailability.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / pharmacokinetics
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Biological Availability
  • Coronary Disease / diet therapy
  • Coronary Disease / metabolism
  • Coronary Disease / prevention & control
  • Enzyme Induction / drug effects
  • Enzyme Induction / physiology
  • Flavonoids / chemistry
  • Flavonoids / pharmacokinetics
  • Flavonoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hydroxybenzoates / chemistry
  • Hydroxybenzoates / pharmacokinetics
  • Hydroxybenzoates / therapeutic use
  • Inflammation / diet therapy
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / prevention & control
  • Neoplasms / diet therapy
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Phenols / chemistry*
  • Phenols / pharmacokinetics
  • Phenols / therapeutic use*
  • Polymers / chemistry*
  • Polymers / pharmacokinetics
  • Polymers / therapeutic use*

Substances

  • Antioxidants
  • Flavonoids
  • Hydroxybenzoates
  • Phenols
  • Polymers
  • phenolic acid