Main drivers of (poly)phenol effects on human health: Metabolite production and/or gut microbiota-associated metabotypes?

Carlos E. Iglesias-Aguirre, Adrián Cortés-Martín, María A. Ávila-Gálvez, Juan A. Giménez-Bastida, María V. Selma, Antonio González-Sarrías, Juan Carlos Espín

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
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Despite the high human interindividual variability in response to (poly)phenol consumption, the cause-and-effect relationship between some dietary (poly)phenols (flavanols and olive oil phenolics) and health effects (endothelial function and prevention of LDL oxidation, respectively) has been well established. Most of the variables affecting this interindividual variability have been identified (food matrix, gut microbiota, single-nucleotide-polymorphisms, etc.). However, the final drivers for the health effects of (poly)phenol consumption have not been fully identified. At least partially, these drivers could be (i) the (poly)phenols ingested that exert their effect in the gastrointestinal tract, (ii) the bioavailable metabolites that exert their effects systemically and/or (iii) the gut microbial ecology associated with (poly)phenol metabolism (i.e., gut microbiota-associated metabotypes). However, statistical associations between health effects and the occurrence of circulating and/or excreted metabolites, as well as cross-sectional studies that correlate gut microbial ecologies and health, do not prove a causal role unequivocally. We provide a critical overview and perspective on the possible main drivers of the effects of (poly)phenols on human health and suggest possible actions to identify the putative actors responsible for the effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10324-10355
Number of pages32
JournalFood and Function
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2021


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