Metabolic flexibility is the capacity of an organism to adequately respond to changes in the environment, such as nutritional input, energetic demand, etc. An important player in the capacity of adaptation through different stages of metabolic demands is the mitochondrion. In this context, mitochondrial dysfunction has been attributed to be the onset and center of many chronic diseases, which are denoted by an inability to adapt fuel preferences and induce mitochondrial morphological changes to respond to metabolic demands, such as mitochondrial number, structure and function. Several nutritional interventions have shown the capacity to induce changes in mitochondrial biogenesis/degradation, oxidative phosphorylation efficiency, mitochondrial membrane composition, electron transfer chain capacity, etc., in metabolic inflexibility states that may open new target options and mechanisms of action of bioactive compounds for the treatment of metabolic diseases. This review is focused in three well-recognized food bioactive compounds that modulate insulin sensitivity, polyphenols, ω-3 fatty acids and dietary fiber, by several mechanism of action, like caloric restriction properties and inflammatory environment modulation, both closely related to mitochondrial function and dynamics.
Keywords: fiber; insulin resistance; metabolism; mitochondria; polyphenols; ω-3.