Plant polyphenols: are they the new magic bullet?

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Garry G. Duthie; Peter T. Gardner; Janet A. M. Kyle

2004

Scholarcy highlights

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  • Numerous in vitro studies indicate that plant polyphenols can potentially affect diverse processes in mammalian cells that, if occurring in vivo, could have anti-carcinogenic and anti-atherogenic implications
  • This approach is possibly unsurprising, as there is a substantial body of epidemiological and experimental literature suggesting that inadequate intakes of recognised nutritional antioxidants such as vitamin E, vitamin C and carotenoids can lead to oxidative damage of proteins, lipids and DNA in vivo
  • As yet, little is known about the bioavailability and metabolic fate of polyphenols
  • Deficiency causing scurvy and combined vitamin E and Se deficiencies resulting in myopathies and neuropathies
  • Until more is known about the mechanisms by which polyphenols are absorbed and metabolised, and the effects of the resulting conjugates and metabolites on cellular processes, it seems intuitively unwise to increase intakes by supplementation or food fortification or to promote them as a ‘magic bullet
  • This view is apposite considering the unexpected adverse effects that were apparent in recent intervention trials with supplements of some of the well-recognised antioxidant nutrients

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