Polyphenols are a predominant class of phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables. Examples include resveratrol, curcumin, flavonoids such as quercetin, catechins, anthocyanins, and tannins such as proanthocyanidins and ellagitannins. Research on polyphenols has shown considerable promise in the prevention and management of cardiovascular, neurocognitive, metabolic and neoplastic disease.
Historically, polyphenols have been heralded as powerful antioxidants. However, new research continues to unveil more dominant mechanisms underpinning clinical utility, such as modulation of signal transduction, gene expression, and effects on the microbiome. Prevention and management of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurodegeneration and cancer comprise the forefront of evidence-based use.
Owing to enormous structural and functional diversity, not all polyphenols are created equally. Over 8,000 polyphenols have been identified to date, and only a select few have been functionally characterized with respect to human health. While numerous dietary supplements offer these compounds, reliable sources of information on their practical use are sparse.
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