Polyphenols: Natural food grade biomolecules for treating neurodegenerative diseases from a multi-target perspective

Front Nutr. 2023 Feb 28:10:1139558. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2023.1139558. eCollection 2023.


As natural functional bioactive ingredients found in foods and plants, polyphenols play various antioxidant and anti-inflammatory roles to prevent the development of disease and restore human health. The multi-target modulation of polyphenols provides a novel practical therapeutic strategy for neurodegenerative diseases that are difficult to treat with traditional drugs like glutathione and cholinesterase inhibitors. This review mainly focuses on the efficacy of polyphenols on ischemic stroke, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease, including in vivo and in vitro experimental studies. It is further emphasized that polyphenols exert neuroprotective effects primarily through inhibiting production of oxidative stress and inflammatory cytokines, which may be the underlying mechanism. However, polyphenols are still rarely used as medicines to treat neurodegenerative diseases. Due to the lack of clinical trials, the mechanism of polyphenols is still in the stage of insufficient exploration. Future large-scale multi-center randomized controlled trials and in-depth mechanism studies are still needed to fully assess the safety, efficacy and side effects of polyphenols.

Keywords: anti-inflammation; antioxidant; efficacy; mechanism; neurodegenerative diseases; polyphenols.

Publication types

  • Review

Grants and funding

This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31960178 and 82160923), Applied Basic Research Programs of Science and Technology Commission Foundation of Yunnan Province (2019FA007), Key Laboratory of Traditional Chinese Medicine for Prevention and Treatment of Neuropsychiatric Diseases, Yunnan Provincial Department of Education, Scientific Research Projects for High-level Talents of Yunnan University of Chinese Medicine (2019YZG01), Young Top-Notch Talent in 10,000 Talent Program of Yunnan Province (YNWR-QNBJ-2019-235), National Science and Technology Innovation 2030 Major Program (2021ZD0200900), Yunnan Key Research and Development Program (202103AC100005), and Yunnan Province Fabao Gao Expert Workstation Construction Project (202105AF150037), and Yunnan Province Qingguo Wang Expert Workstation Construction Project (202005AF150017).