Polyphenol-rich foods exhibit DNA antioxidative properties and protect the glutathione system in healthy subjects

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2012 Jul;56(7):1025-33. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201100676.


Scope: Polyphenols (ingested via food items) can decrease DNA, and oxidative damage of proteins and lipids. However, polyphenol effects in healthy populations have not been well defined. The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between urinary total polyphenol excretion (TPE), a biomarker of total polyphenol intake (TPI), polyphenol-rich foods, and oxidative stress biomarkers in healthy adults of different ages participating in the cross-sectional PAScual MEDicina study.

Methods and results: Urinary TPE was determined by Folin-Ciocalteau method in spot urine samples of 81 participants (46 women), classified into three age groups: 18 to 39, 40 to 54, and 55 to 72 years of age. TPI was quantified from 3-day dietary records using the Phenol-Explorer database. Urinary TPE increased with age (p < 0.001). Urinary TPE was inversely associated with urinary 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG; p<0.001) and erythrocyte-oxidized glutathione concentrations (p < 0.05). A negative association between urinary 8-OHdG and daily intake of polyphenols from vegetables and fermented beverages such as red wine was observed.

Conclusion: Urinary TPE increased with age and may reflect attenuation of oxidative damage. These results could explain the beneficial effects in healthy individuals of a diet rich in vegetables and moderate red wine; food items typical of the Mediterranean diet.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • DNA Damage*
  • Deoxyguanosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Deoxyguanosine / urine
  • Diet Records
  • Diet*
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Food Analysis
  • Glutathione / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Polyphenols / administration & dosage*
  • Polyphenols / analysis
  • Polyphenols / urine
  • Young Adult


  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers
  • Polyphenols
  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine
  • Deoxyguanosine
  • Glutathione