Dietary phenols are phytochemicals that include flavones, flavonols, flavanones, flavanonols, isoflavones, anthocyanidins, stilbenoids, lignans, tannins, and curcuminoids. These compounds, obtained from various natural sources, can be used in combination with the gut microbiome to prevent and manage disease.

In a recent review published in the journal Dr AntioxidantsResearchers have reported cardioprotective, neuroprotective, immunoprotective, ulcer-protective, hormonal, and metabolic benefits of dietary phenol consumption and their relationship to the gut microbiome.

Study: Dietary phenolic compounds: their health benefits and relationship to gut microbiota. Image credit: Danijela Maksimović /

Health benefits of phenolic compounds

Polyphenols may improve rheumatoid arthritis through mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) inhibition. Additionally, plant-derived polyphenols can reduce depression, inflammation and oxidative stress.

Quercetin and epicatechin (EC) reduce atherosclerosis by increasing nitric oxide (NO) activity and decreasing serological endothelin-1 levels. Quercetin, which can be obtained from red onion or grapefruit powder, can reduce obesity and adipocyte macrophage-mediated insulin resistance by remodeling adipose tissue.

Cocoa/EC benefits cardiovascular patients by improving microcirculation, vasodilation and increasing NO levels. ECs regulate protein and gene expression in brain endothelial cells and, consequently, can be used to manage neurodegenerative diseases.

Green tea extract may benefit patients with alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD) by reducing serological triglyceride (TG) levels, reducing hepatic aminotransferase activity, preventing hepatic steatosis, reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, and modulating gut microbiota. In individuals with non-AFLD (NAFLD), epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) restored gut microbiome balance, inhibited hepatic TG assimilation, and improved sirtuin gene activity.

In colitis patients, EGCG decreases cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) levels, increases cell proliferation, facilitates epidermal growth factor (EGF)-mediated epithelial repair, reduces colonic damage, decreases malondialdehyde levels, and increases antioxidant enzymatic activity.

In Alzheimer’s disease, epigallocatechin (EGC) and epicatechin gallate (ECG) reduce amyloid-β deposition, microglial inflammation, reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, and neurotoxicity. Cocoa extract reduces amyloid-beta oligomerization. In addition, EGCG protects microglia by nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) pathway inhibition and nuclear factor-like 2/heme oxygenase 1 (NRF-2/HO-1) pathway activation.

Cocoa flavanols help maintain normal endothelium-dependent vasodilation, thereby reducing the risk of coronary artery disease. Kaki tannin, derived from astringent persimmon fruit, limits starch digestion, inhibits glucose uptake and transport, and lowers serological low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels.

In addition to binding to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike protein, rutin, which is found in buckwheat and asparagus, regulates molecular pathways in tumor cells and can reduce postprandial hyperglycemia and hypercholesterolemia. Soy protein reduces serological LDL cholesterol, C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, and urinary creatinine and deoxypyridinoline levels.

Sesamin from sesame has demonstrated cardioprotective, neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects by regulating phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (AKT), extracellular signal-regulated kinase-1/2 (ERK-1-2). /2), p38, interleukin-6 (IL-6), p53, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), and NF-κB signaling.

Resveratrol, derived from red wine, reduces amyloid-β1-42 peptide-associated cytotoxicity, regulates α-synuclein expression and inhibits platelet reactivity. Grape seed oil has wound healing, anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective properties and can reduce blood TG content.

Curcumin is anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer by inhibiting NF-κB, signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 (STAT-3), nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NRF-2), ROS, COX-2, signal transducer and activator exerts influence. and the Toll-like receptor-4 (TLR-4) pathway, and reverse epigenetic modifications. Other compounds such as genistein, protocatechuic acid, ellagic acid and chlorogenic acid also promote health and well-being.

Relationship between dietary polyphenols and gut microbiota

Green tea extract activates and modulates the gut microbiome Akkermansia muchiniphylla. Concord grape polyphenols help control obesity Akkermansia muchiniphylla Abundance and change Firmicutes per Bacteridates ratio.

Improves flavonoid-rich cocoa powder Bifidobacterium And Lactobacillus calcns., thereby modulating the expression of markers of gut-level immunity. Cocoa consumption increases gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) function and alters the abundance of immunoglobulin A (IgA)-coated bacterial organisms in the gut microbiota.

Cocoa benefits diabetic individuals by restoring intestinal barrier integrity and reducing intestinal inflammation. Khaki Tanning is less Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) activity and modulates immunological responses through altered gut microbiome composition reduces colonic inflammation.

Quercetin restores the balance of the gut microbiome after antibiotic use. Chlorogenic acid improves gut barrier integrity and can reverse microbiome dysbiosis.

Coffee disrupts the intestinal flora by increasing its abundance Bifidobacterium Species and Clostridium coccoidesEubacterium rectal group and can selectively enhance the growth of probiotic microbes.

Sesamin disrupts intestinal flora by increasing the adhesive index of probiotics and up-regulates β-cadherin and E-cadherin expression. In contrast, sesamol exerts neuroprotective effects through mediation of the gut microbiota-short-chain fatty acid (SCFA)-brain axis.

Resveratrol activates metabolism by intestinal microbes, inhibits colonic CB2 messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) expression, and restores intestinal barrier function, thereby increasing insulin sensitivity. Curcumin may cause symptomatic improvement Helicobacter pylori-Infectious gastritis, may prevent gallbladder formation and promote response to cytarabine through modulation of gut microbiota.


The results of the review highlight the contribution of dietary phenolic compounds to health and their relationship with the gut microbiome. These findings can inform policy-making and strategy development to improve population health through dietary interventions.

Journal Reference:

  • Matsumura, Y., Kitabatake, M., Kayano, S.I., and Ito, T. (2023). Dietary phenolic compounds: their health benefits and relationship to gut microbiota. Antioxidants 12(880). doi:10.3390/antiox12040880


Pooja Toshniwal Paharia

Dr. based clinical-radiological diagnosis and management of oral lesions and conditions and associated maxillofacial disorders.


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