Using polyphenol derivatives to prevent muscle wasting

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2018 May;21(3):159-163. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000455.


Purpose of review: To highlight recent evidence for the ability of polyphenols and their derivatives to reduce muscle wasting in different pathological states.

Recent findings: From January 2016 to August 2017, four articles dealt with the effects of polyphenols on muscle wasting, which were all carried out in mice. The four studies found that polyphenols reduced muscle mass loss associated with cancer cachexia, acute inflammation or sciatic nerve section. One study even showed that muscle mass was totally preserved when rutin was added to the diet of mice undergoing cancer cachexia. The beneficial effects of polyphenols on muscle wasting were mainly due to a reduction in the activation of the nuclear factor-kappa B pathway, a lower oxidative stress level and a better mitochondrial function. In addition, urolithin B was found to have a testosterone-like effect and to favorably regulate muscle protein balance.

Summary: During the last 20 months, additional data have been collected about the beneficial effects of rutin, curcumin, quercetin, ellagitanins and urolithin B to limit the loss of muscle mass associated with several pathological states. However, currently, scientific evidence lacks for their use as nutraceuticals in human.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cachexia / complications
  • Cachexia / metabolism
  • Cachexia / prevention & control*
  • Coumarins / pharmacology
  • Coumarins / therapeutic use
  • Curcumin / pharmacology
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hydrolyzable Tannins / pharmacology
  • Hydrolyzable Tannins / therapeutic use
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Muscular Atrophy / metabolism
  • Muscular Atrophy / prevention & control*
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Polyphenols / pharmacology
  • Polyphenols / therapeutic use*
  • Quercetin / pharmacology
  • Quercetin / therapeutic use
  • Rutin / pharmacology
  • Rutin / therapeutic use
  • Wasting Syndrome / metabolism
  • Wasting Syndrome / prevention & control*


  • Coumarins
  • Hydrolyzable Tannins
  • NF-kappa B
  • Plant Extracts
  • Polyphenols
  • urolithin B
  • Rutin
  • Quercetin
  • Curcumin