26 August 2022 In Phenolic compounds

Although diet has contributed significantly to the evolution of human beings, the composition of the diet that has most affected this phenomenon is still an open issue. Diet has undoubtedly participated in the acquisition of the skills that underlie the differentiation of humans from other animal species and in this context the development of the nervous system has played a primary role.

This paper aimed to: (1) outline the relationship between diet and human evolution; (2) evaluate how a variation in food consumption may have contributed to the enhancement of cognitive and adaptive capacities. The most widespread diet among the ancient populations that showed the highest levels of civilization (that is well-organized societies, using advanced technical tools, and promoting art and science) was very close to what is now defined as the Mediterranean diet.

This suggests that a dietary approach typical of the Mediterranean basin (little meat and some fish; abundant cereals, legumes, fruit, vegetables and wine) significantly increased the intake of antioxidant molecules, including polyphenols, which along with other factors may have modulated the cognitive evolution of humans. 

22 March 2022 In Phenolic compounds

Dietary polyphenols including phenolic acids, flavonoids, catechins, tannins, lignans, stilbenes, and anthocyanidins are widely found in grains, cereals, pulses, vegetables, spices, fruits, chocolates, and beverages like fruit juices, tea, coffee and wine. In recent years, dietary polyphenols have gained significant interest among researchers due to their potential chemopreventive/protective functions in the maintenance of human health and diseases. It is believed that dietary polyphenols/flavonoids exert powerful antioxidant action for protection against reactive oxygen species (ROS)/cellular oxidative stress (OS) towards the prevention of OS-related pathological conditions or diseases.

Pre-clinical and clinical evidence strongly suggest that long term consumption of diets rich in polyphenols offer protection against the development of various chronic diseases such as neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), cancer, diabetes, inflammatory disorders and infectious illness. Increased intake of foods containing polyphenols (for example, quercetin, epigallocatechin-3-gallate, resveratrol, cyanidin etc.) has been claimed to reduce the extent of a majority of chronic oxidative cellular damage, DNA damage, tissue inflammations, viral/bacterial infections, and neurodegenerative diseases.

It has been suggested that the antioxidant activity of dietary polyphenols plays a pivotal role in the prevention of OS-induced human diseases. In this narrative review, the biological/pharmacological significance of dietary polyphenols in the prevention of and/or protection against OS-induced major human diseases such as cancers, neurodegenerative diseases, CVDs, diabetes mellitus, cancer, inflammatory disorders and infectious diseases have been delineated.

This review specifically focuses a current understanding on the dietary sources of polyphenols and their protective effects including mechanisms of action against various major human diseases.

17 November 2021 In Phenolic compounds

A considerable amount of literature has been published claiming the cardiovascular benefits of moderate (red) wine drinking, which has been considered a distinguishing trait of the Mediterranean diet. Indeed, red wine contains relevant amounts of polyphenols, for which evidence of their biological activity and positive health effects are abundant; however, it is also well-known that alcohol, even at a low level of intake, may have severe consequences for health. Among others, it is directly related to a number of non-communicable diseases, like liver cirrhosis or diverse types of cancer.

The IARC classifies alcohol as a Group 1 carcinogen, causally associated with the development of cancers of the upper digestive tract and liver, and, with sufficient evidence, can be positively associated with colorectum and female breast cancer. In these circumstances, it is tricky, if not irresponsible, to spread any message on the benefits of moderate wine drinking, about which no actual consensus exists.

It should be further considered that other hallmarks of the Mediterranean diet are the richness in virgin olive oil, fruits, grains, and vegetables, which are also good sources of polyphenols and other phytochemicals, and lack the risks of wine. All of these aspects are reviewed in this article.

25 March 2021 In Phenolic compounds

Resveratrol is a naturally occurring stilbene endowed with multiple health-promoting effects. It is produced by certain plants including several dietary sources such as grapes, apples, raspberries, blueberries, plums, peanuts, and products derived therefrom (e.g., wine). Resveratrol can be isolated and purified from these biological sources or synthesized in a few steps with an overall high yield.

This compound and its glucoside, the trans-polydatin piceid, have received worldwide attention for their beneficial effects on cardiovascular, inflammatory, neurodegenerative, metabolic, and age-related diseases. These health-promoting effects are particularly attractive given the prevalence of resveratrol-based nutraceuticals and the paradoxical epidemiologic observation that wine consumption is inversely correlated to the incidence of coronary heart disease.

However, the notion of resveratrol as a "magic bullet" was recently challenged by clinical trials showing that this polyphenol does not have a substantial influence on health status and mortality risk.

In the present review, we discuss the proposed therapeutic attributes and the mode of molecular actions of resveratrol. We also cover recent pharmacologic efforts to improve the poor bioavailability of resveratrol and influence the transition between body systems in humans.

We conclude with some thoughts about future research directions that might be meaningful for resolving controversies surrounding resveratrol.

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