Urolithins: Diet-derived bioavailable metabolites to tackle diabetes

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Diabetes remains one of the leading causes of deaths and co-morbidities in the world, with tremendous human, social and economic costs. Therefore, despite therapeutics and technological advancements, improved strategies to tackle diabetes management are still needed. One of the suggested strategies is the consumption of (poly)phenols. Positive outcomes of dietary (poly)phenols have been pointed out towards different features in diabetes. This is the case of ellagitannins, which are present in numerous foodstuffs such as pomegranate, berries, and nuts. Ellagitannins have been reported to have a multitude of effects on metabolic diseases. However, these compounds have high molecular weight and do not reach circulation at effective concentrations, being metabolized in smaller compounds. After being metabolized into ellagic acid in the small intestine, the colonic microbiota hydrolyzes and metabolizes ellagic acid into dibenzopyran-6-one derivatives, known as urolithins. These low molecular weight compounds reach circulation in considerable concentrations ranging until micromolar levels, capable of reaching target tissues. Different urolithins are formed throughout the metabolization process, but urolithin A, isourolithin A, and urolithin B, and their phase-II metabolites are the most frequent ones. In recent years, urolithins have been the focus of attention in regard to their effects on a multiplicity of chronic diseases, including cancer and diabetes. In this review, we will discuss the latest advances about the protective effects of urolithins on diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4285
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • (poly)phenols
  • Diabetes
  • Metabotypes
  • Urolithins


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