Citrus Polyphenols in Brain Health and Disease: Current Perspectives

Front Neurosci. 2021 Feb 19:15:640648. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2021.640648. eCollection 2021.


In addition to essential micronutrients such as vitamin C, citrus fruits represent a considerably rich source of non-essential bioactive compounds, in particular flavanones which form a sub-set of the flavonoid group. Preclinical studies have demonstrated the neuroprotective potential of citrus flavonoids and have highlighted both the well-established (anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties), and newly emerging (influence upon blood-brain barrier function/integrity) mechanistic actions by which these neurological effects are mediated. Encouragingly, results from human studies, although limited in number, appear to support this preclinical basis, with improvements in cognitive performance and disease risk observed across healthy and disease states. Therefore, citrus fruits - both as whole fruit and 100% juices - should be encouraged within the diet for their potential neurological benefit. In addition, there should be further exploration of citrus polyphenols to establish therapeutic efficacy, particularly in the context of well-designed human interventions.

Keywords: cognition; flavonoids; gut-brain axis; neuroprotection; orange juice (OJ).

Publication types

  • Review