Curcumin, Quercetin, Catechins and Metabolic Diseases: The Role of Gut Microbiota

Nutrients. 2021 Jan 12;13(1):206. doi: 10.3390/nu13010206.


Polyphenols (PPs) are the naturally occurring bioactive components in fruits and vegetables, and they are the most abundant antioxidant in the human diet. Studies are suggesting that ingestion of PPs might be helpful to ameliorate metabolic syndromes that may contribute in the prevention of several chronic disorders like diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and colon cancer. PPs have structural diversity which impacts their bioavailability as they accumulate in the large intestine and are extensively metabolized through gut microbiota (GM). Intestinal microbiota transforms PPs into their metabolites to make them bioactive. Interestingly, not only GM act on PPs to metabolize them but PPs also modulate the composition of GM. Thus, change in GM from pathogenic to beneficial ones may be helpful to ameliorate gut health and associated diseases. However, to overcome the low bioavailability of PPs, various approaches have been developed to improve their solubility and transportation through the gut. In this review, we present evidence supporting the structural changes that occur after metabolic reactions in PPs (curcumin, quercetin, and catechins) and their effect on GM composition that leads to improving overall gut health and helping to ameliorate metabolic disorders.

Keywords: bioavailability; biotransformation; gut health; metabolic syndrome; plant polyphenols.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Catechin / therapeutic use*
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Metabolic Diseases / microbiology*
  • Polyphenols / therapeutic use
  • Quercetin / therapeutic use*


  • Polyphenols
  • Catechin
  • Quercetin
  • Curcumin