Unravelling of the health effects of polyphenols is a complex puzzle complicated by metabolism

P.C.H. Hollman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Plant metabolism creates complex mixtures of polyphenols in plant foods. Epidemiology and human trials reduced this complexity, by studying specific foods; subclasses of polyphenols; individual polyphenols, or total antioxidant capacity (TAC). This implies the following assumptions: (1) a limited number of potent polyphenols exists; (2) well-defined natural potent mixtures of polyphenols exist; (3) polyphenols share a common biological activity (e.g. antioxidant activity). To find potent polyphenols (1st assumption), in vitro screening has been widely applied, but most published results are of limited use because metabolism, changing biological activity profoundly, has frequently not been considered. The abundant anecdotal evidence for natural potent mixtures of polyphenols (2nd assumption) on the internet is very hard to verify. Additionally, cross-cultural studies have revealed the potency of e.g. cocoa. Polyphenols share the antioxidant phenolic group which inspired researchers to measure their antioxidant activity, thus greatly reducing complexity (3rd assumption). Unfortunately, the elegant antioxidant hypothesis has to be rejected, because poor absorption and extensive metabolism annihilate any contribution to the endogenous body antioxidants. In conclusion, the above assumptions are hard to verify, and no quick answers are to be expected. Future research should focus on structure–activity relations at nanomolar levels and explore metabolomics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-105
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Volume559
Issue number2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Fingerprint

Polyphenols
Metabolism
Health
Antioxidants
Bioactivity
Cocoa
Epidemiology
Edible Plants
Metabolomics
Complex Mixtures
Internet
Screening
Research Personnel
Food

Keywords

  • cardiovascular-disease mortality
  • flavonoid intake
  • blood-pressure
  • prospective cohort
  • adhesion molecule
  • vascular function
  • heart-disease
  • cancer-risk
  • diet
  • consumption

Cite this

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title = "Unravelling of the health effects of polyphenols is a complex puzzle complicated by metabolism",
abstract = "Plant metabolism creates complex mixtures of polyphenols in plant foods. Epidemiology and human trials reduced this complexity, by studying specific foods; subclasses of polyphenols; individual polyphenols, or total antioxidant capacity (TAC). This implies the following assumptions: (1) a limited number of potent polyphenols exists; (2) well-defined natural potent mixtures of polyphenols exist; (3) polyphenols share a common biological activity (e.g. antioxidant activity). To find potent polyphenols (1st assumption), in vitro screening has been widely applied, but most published results are of limited use because metabolism, changing biological activity profoundly, has frequently not been considered. The abundant anecdotal evidence for natural potent mixtures of polyphenols (2nd assumption) on the internet is very hard to verify. Additionally, cross-cultural studies have revealed the potency of e.g. cocoa. Polyphenols share the antioxidant phenolic group which inspired researchers to measure their antioxidant activity, thus greatly reducing complexity (3rd assumption). Unfortunately, the elegant antioxidant hypothesis has to be rejected, because poor absorption and extensive metabolism annihilate any contribution to the endogenous body antioxidants. In conclusion, the above assumptions are hard to verify, and no quick answers are to be expected. Future research should focus on structure–activity relations at nanomolar levels and explore metabolomics.",
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Unravelling of the health effects of polyphenols is a complex puzzle complicated by metabolism. / Hollman, P.C.H.

In: Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Vol. 559, No. 2014, 2014, p. 100-105.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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AB - Plant metabolism creates complex mixtures of polyphenols in plant foods. Epidemiology and human trials reduced this complexity, by studying specific foods; subclasses of polyphenols; individual polyphenols, or total antioxidant capacity (TAC). This implies the following assumptions: (1) a limited number of potent polyphenols exists; (2) well-defined natural potent mixtures of polyphenols exist; (3) polyphenols share a common biological activity (e.g. antioxidant activity). To find potent polyphenols (1st assumption), in vitro screening has been widely applied, but most published results are of limited use because metabolism, changing biological activity profoundly, has frequently not been considered. The abundant anecdotal evidence for natural potent mixtures of polyphenols (2nd assumption) on the internet is very hard to verify. Additionally, cross-cultural studies have revealed the potency of e.g. cocoa. Polyphenols share the antioxidant phenolic group which inspired researchers to measure their antioxidant activity, thus greatly reducing complexity (3rd assumption). Unfortunately, the elegant antioxidant hypothesis has to be rejected, because poor absorption and extensive metabolism annihilate any contribution to the endogenous body antioxidants. In conclusion, the above assumptions are hard to verify, and no quick answers are to be expected. Future research should focus on structure–activity relations at nanomolar levels and explore metabolomics.

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