Current developments on the inhibitory effects of berry polyphenols on digestive enzymes

Biofactors. 2008;34(1):73-80. doi: 10.1002/biof.5520340108.


The recent developments and evidence for the effect of polyphenol components of berries on digestive enzymes has been reviewed. Certain plant polyphenols can inhibit starch digestive enzymes in the gastrointestinal tract and modulate blood glucose control in vivo. Certain berry polyphenol components can inhibit protease activities at levels which could affect protein digestion in the gastrointestinal tract. In addition, other polyphenol components show potential for the inhibition of gastrointestinal lipase activity, which is a proven therapeutic target for the control of obesity through reduced fat digestion. Taking into account the potential synergies for inhibition of starch and lipid digestion by the spectrum of polyphenol components present within berry species, the inhibition of digestive enzymes by dietary polyphenols may be another important mechanism for the health benefits attributed to a diet rich in fruit and vegetables.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Carbohydrates / metabolism
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism
  • Dietary Proteins / metabolism
  • Flavonoids / analysis
  • Flavonoids / chemistry
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / drug effects
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / enzymology*
  • Humans
  • Lipase / drug effects
  • Lipase / metabolism
  • Peptide Hydrolases / drug effects
  • Peptide Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Phenols / analysis
  • Phenols / chemistry
  • Phenols / pharmacology*
  • Polyphenols
  • alpha-Glucosidases / drug effects
  • alpha-Glucosidases / metabolism


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenols
  • Polyphenols
  • Lipase
  • alpha-Glucosidases
  • Peptide Hydrolases