Polyphenols and human health: a prospectus

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2011 Jul;51(6):524-46. doi: 10.1080/10408391003698677.


The lay press often heralds polyphenols as panacea for all sorts of diseases. The rationale is that their antioxidant activity would prevent free radical damage to macromolecules. However, basic and clinical science is showing that the reality is much more complex than this and that several issues, notably content in foodstuff, bioavailability, or in vivo antioxidant activity are yet to be resolved. We summarize the recent findings concerning the effects of polyphenols on human health, analyze the current limitations at pitfalls, and propose future directions for research.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacokinetics
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Biological Availability
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Curcumin / chemistry
  • Diet
  • Food Analysis
  • Free Radicals
  • Humans
  • Lythraceae / chemistry
  • Metabolomics / methods
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Polyphenols / pharmacokinetics
  • Polyphenols / pharmacology*
  • Wine / analysis


  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers
  • Free Radicals
  • Polyphenols
  • Curcumin