New phytochemicals as potential human anti-aging compounds: Reality, promise, and challenges

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2018 Apr 13;58(6):942-957. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2016.1233860. Epub 2017 Jun 28.


Aging is an inevitable process influenced by genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors. Indirect evidence shows that several phytochemicals can have anti-aging capabilities, although direct evidence in this field is still limited. This report aims to provide a critical review on aspects related to the use of novel phytochemicals as anti-aging agents, to discuss the obstacles found when performing most anti-aging study protocols in humans, and to analyze future perspectives. In addition to the extensively studied resveratrol, epicatechin, quercetin, and curcumin, new phytochemicals have been reported to act as anti-aging agents, such as the amino acid L-theanine isolated from green tea, and the lignans arctigenin and matairesinol isolated from Arctium lappa seeds. Furthermore, this review discusses the application of several new extracts rich in phytochemicals with potential use in anti-aging therapies. Finally, this review also discusses the most important biomarkers to test anti-aging interventions, the necessity of conducting epidemiological studies and the need of clinical trials with adequate study protocols for humans.

Keywords: Underexplored phytochemicals; aging biomarkers; anti-aging interveners; anti-aging study protocols; bioavailability.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / drug effects*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Arctium / chemistry
  • Cell Line
  • Erythrocytes / drug effects
  • Furans / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Lignans / pharmacology
  • Models, Animal
  • Phytochemicals / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Seeds / chemistry


  • Antioxidants
  • Furans
  • Lignans
  • Phytochemicals
  • Plant Extracts
  • matairesinol
  • arctigenin