Recently, hesperidin, a flavonone mainly present in citrus fruits, has emerged as a new potential therapeutic agent able to modulate several cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) risk factors. Animal and in vitro studies demonstrate beneficial effects of hesperidin and its derived compounds on CVD risk factors. Thus, hesperidin has shown glucose-lowering and anti-inflammatory properties in diabetic models, dyslipidemia-, atherosclerosis-, and obesity-preventing effects in CVDs and obese models, and antihypertensive and antioxidant effects in hypertensive models. However, there is still controversy about whether hesperidin could contribute to ameliorate glucose homeostasis, lipid profile, adiposity, and blood pressure in humans, as evidenced by several clinical trials reporting no effects of treatments with this flavanone or with orange juice on these cardiovascular parameters. In this review, we focus on hesperidin's beneficial effects on CVD risk factors, paying special attention to the high interindividual variability in response to hesperidin-based acute and chronic interventions, which can be partly attributed to differences in gut microbiota. Based on the current evidence, we suggest that some of hesperidin's contradictory effects in human trials are partly due to the interindividual hesperidin variability in its bioavailability, which in turn is highly dependent on the α-rhamnosidase activity and gut microbiota composition.
Keywords: bioavailability; cardiovascular diseases; dysbiosis; gut microbiota; hesperetin; hesperidin.