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Review
, 45 (4), 287-306

Dietary Polyphenols and the Prevention of Diseases

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Review

Dietary Polyphenols and the Prevention of Diseases

Augustin Scalbert et al. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr.

Abstract

Polyphenols are the most abundant antioxidants in the diet and are widespread constituents of fruits, vegetables, cereals, dry legumes, chocolate, and beverages, such as tea, coffee, or wine. Experimental studies on animals or cultured human cell lines support a role of polyphenols in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, cancers, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, or osteoporosis. However, it is very difficult to predict from these results the effects of polyphenol intake on disease prevention in humans. One of the reasons is that these studies have often been conducted at doses or concentrations far beyond those documented in humans. The few clinical studies on biomarkers of oxidative stress, cardiovascular disease risk factors, and tumor or bone resorption biomarkers have often led to contradictory results. Epidemiological studies have repeatedly shown an inverse association between the risk of myocardial infarction and the consumption of tea and wine or the intake level of some particular flavonoids, but no clear associations have been found between cancer risk and polyphenol consumption. More human studies are needed to provide clear evidence of their health protective effects and to better evaluate the risks possibly resulting from too high a polyphenol consumption.

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