Analysis of the intricate effects of polyunsaturated fatty acids and polyphenols on inflammatory pathways in health and disease

Food Chem Toxicol. 2020 Sep;143:111558. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2020.111558. Epub 2020 Jul 5.


Prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, arthritis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and various infectious diseases; lately most notably COVID-19 have been in the front line of research worldwide. Although targeting different organs, these pathologies have common biochemical impairments - redox disparity and, prominently, dysregulation of the inflammatory pathways. Research data have shown that diet components like polyphenols, poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), fibres as well as lifestyle (fasting, physical exercise) are important factors influencing signalling pathways with a significant potential to improve metabolic homeostasis and immune cells' functions. In the present manuscript we have reviewed scientific data from recent publications regarding the beneficial cellular and molecular effects induced by dietary plant products, mainly polyphenolic compounds and PUFAs, and summarize the clinical outcomes expected from these types of interventions, in a search for effective long-term approaches to improve the immune system response.

Keywords: Inflammation; Nutraceuticals; Polyphenols; Polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet, Carbohydrate-Restricted*
  • Diet, Mediterranean
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / epidemiology
  • Inflammation / etiology*
  • Inflammation / prevention & control
  • Noncommunicable Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Polyphenols / adverse effects*
  • Polyphenols / therapeutic use


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Polyphenols