Detoxification effects of phytonutrients against environmental toxicants and sharing of clinical experience on practical applications

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2017 Apr;24(10):8946-8956. doi: 10.1007/s11356-015-5263-3. Epub 2015 Aug 28.


According to the Food and Health Bureau and Trade and Industry Department of the Hong Kong Government, 90 % of the total food supply in Hong Kong was imported from the Mainland China. In addition, the hidden or illegal use of prohibited pesticides, food adulteration (e.g., using industrial salt in food processing, using gutter oil as cooking oil), and pollutions were periodically reported by the media. Excessive exposure to toxic heavy metals or persistent organic pollutants (POPs) from diet or environmental is inevitable amid industrialization and pollution. Understanding of the detoxification ability among nutrients in plant-based food (i.e., phytonutrients in green tea, onion, garlic, coriander, and turmeric) offers therapeutic and preventive effects against the poisoning effects due to these pollutants. Oxidative stress and pro-inflammatory actions are the common mechanisms for heavy metals or POPs toxicities, while phytonutrients counteracts these cellular insults by anti-oxidation, upregulation of anti-inflammatory pathways, and chelation.

Keywords: Anti-inflammation; Anti-oxidation; Chelation; Detoxification; Heavy metal poisoning; Oxidative stress; Persistent organic pollutant; Phytonutrients.

MeSH terms

  • China
  • Heavy Metal Poisoning
  • Hong Kong
  • Metals, Heavy / toxicity*
  • Phytochemicals*
  • Poisoning


  • Metals, Heavy
  • Phytochemicals