Flavonoids: an overview

J Nutr Sci. 2016 Dec 29:5:e47. doi: 10.1017/jns.2016.41. eCollection 2016.


Flavonoids, a group of natural substances with variable phenolic structures, are found in fruits, vegetables, grains, bark, roots, stems, flowers, tea and wine. These natural products are well known for their beneficial effects on health and efforts are being made to isolate the ingredients so called flavonoids. Flavonoids are now considered as an indispensable component in a variety of nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, medicinal and cosmetic applications. This is attributed to their anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic and anti-carcinogenic properties coupled with their capacity to modulate key cellular enzyme function. Research on flavonoids received an added impulse with the discovery of the low cardiovascular mortality rate and also prevention of CHD. Information on the working mechanisms of flavonoids is still not understood properly. However, it has widely been known for centuries that derivatives of plant origin possess a broad spectrum of biological activity. Current trends of research and development activities on flavonoids relate to isolation, identification, characterisation and functions of flavonoids and finally their applications on health benefits. Molecular docking and knowledge of bioinformatics are also being used to predict potential applications and manufacturing by industry. In the present review, attempts have been made to discuss the current trends of research and development on flavonoids, working mechanisms of flavonoids, flavonoid functions and applications, prediction of flavonoids as potential drugs in preventing chronic diseases and future research directions.

Keywords: AChE, acetylcholinesterase; AD, Alzheimer's disease; Aβ, amyloid protein; BACE-1, β active site cleavage enzyme-1; BChE, butyrylcholinsterase; Biological activity; COX, cyclo-oxygenase; Flavonoids; Future research directions; NDM-1, New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase-1; Research trends; Structure and composition; XO, xanthine oxidase.

Publication types

  • Review