25 March 2021 In Phenolic compounds

Resveratrol is a naturally occurring stilbene endowed with multiple health-promoting effects. It is produced by certain plants including several dietary sources such as grapes, apples, raspberries, blueberries, plums, peanuts, and products derived therefrom (e.g., wine). Resveratrol can be isolated and purified from these biological sources or synthesized in a few steps with an overall high yield.

This compound and its glucoside, the trans-polydatin piceid, have received worldwide attention for their beneficial effects on cardiovascular, inflammatory, neurodegenerative, metabolic, and age-related diseases. These health-promoting effects are particularly attractive given the prevalence of resveratrol-based nutraceuticals and the paradoxical epidemiologic observation that wine consumption is inversely correlated to the incidence of coronary heart disease.

However, the notion of resveratrol as a "magic bullet" was recently challenged by clinical trials showing that this polyphenol does not have a substantial influence on health status and mortality risk.

In the present review, we discuss the proposed therapeutic attributes and the mode of molecular actions of resveratrol. We also cover recent pharmacologic efforts to improve the poor bioavailability of resveratrol and influence the transition between body systems in humans.

We conclude with some thoughts about future research directions that might be meaningful for resolving controversies surrounding resveratrol.

23 November 2020 In Phenolic compounds

The Mediterranean diet pattern is increasingly associated with improved metabolic health. Two mechanisms by which consuming a Mediterranean diet pattern may contribute to improved metabolic health are modulation of the gastrointestinal (GI) microbiota and reduction of metabolic endotoxemia. Metabolic endotoxemia, defined as a 2- to 3-fold increase in circulating levels of bacterial endotoxin, has been proposed as a cause of inflammation during metabolic dysfunction.

As the largest source of endotoxins in the human body, the GI microbiota represents a crucial area for research on strategies for reducing endotoxemia. Diets high in saturated fat and low in fiber contribute to metabolic endotoxemia through several mechanisms, including changes in the GI microbiome and bacterial fermentation end products, intestinal physiology and barrier function, and enterohepatic circulation of bile acids.

Thus, the Mediterranean diet pattern, rich in unsaturated fats and fiber, may be one dietary strategy to reduce metabolic endotoxemia. Preclinical studies have demonstrated the differential effects of dietary saturated and unsaturated fats on the microbiota and metabolic health, but human studies are lacking. The role of dietary fiber and the GI microbiome in metabolic endotoxemia is underinvestigated.

Clinical research on the effects of different types of dietary fat and fiber on the GI microbiota and GI and systemic inflammation is necessary to determine efficacious dietary strategies for reducing metabolic endotoxemia, inflammation, and subsequent metabolic disease.

23 November 2020 In Phenolic compounds

OBJECTIVES: Habitual diet plays a major role in shaping the composition of the gut microbiota, and also determines the repertoire of microbial metabolites that can influence the host. The typical Western diet corresponds to that of an omnivore; however, the Mediterranean diet (MD), common in the Western Mediterranean culture, is to date a nutritionally recommended dietary pattern that includes high-level consumption of cereals, fruit, vegetables and legumes. To investigate the potential benefits of the MD in this cross-sectional survey, we assessed the gut microbiota and metabolome in a cohort of Italian individuals in relation to their habitual diets.

DESIGN AND RESULTS: We retrieved daily dietary information and assessed gut microbiota and metabolome in 153 individuals habitually following omnivore, vegetarian or vegan diets. The majority of vegan and vegetarian subjects and 30% of omnivore subjects had a high adherence to the MD. We were able to stratify individuals according to both diet type and adherence to the MD on the basis of their dietary patterns and associated microbiota. We detected significant associations between consumption of vegetable-based diets and increased levels of faecal short-chain fatty acids, Prevotella and some fibre-degrading Firmicutes, whose role in human gut warrants further research. Conversely, we detected higher urinary trimethylamine oxide levels in individuals with lower adherence to the MD.

CONCLUSIONS: High-level consumption of plant foodstuffs consistent with an MD is associated with beneficial microbiome-related metabolomic profiles in subjects ostensibly consuming a Western diet.

TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: This study was registered at clinical trials.gov as NCT02118857.

23 November 2020 In Phenolic compounds

Low grade inflammation is characterized by raised concentrations of inflammatory markers in the absence of any overt symptoms and is recognized as a risk factor for a number of chronic diseases including cancer, cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. Many studies suggest that low grade inflammation is mitigated by health promoting behaviours such as healthy eating patterns, physical activity, body weight maintenance and tobacco cessation. To date, large scale studies were mainly focused on circulating markers and little evidence is available on cellular biomarkers.

The MOLI-SANI study is a prospective cohort study that has recruited 24 325 men and women aged >/=35 years from the general population of the Molise Region, a Southern Italian area, with the purpose of investigating genetic and environmental risk/protection factors for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease and cancer. Within this cohort, a composite score of low grade inflammation based on the use of plasmatic (C-reactive protein) and cellular (leukocyte and platelet counts and granulocyte : lymphocyte ratio) biomarkers has been proposed and validated. This score accounts for all possible synergistic effects of such inflammatory markers, thus overcoming any potential bias linked to the multi-collinearity of these variables.

Of notice, the MOLI-SANI study was the first to address the relationship between the traditional Mediterranean diet and platelet and leucocyte counts as emerging cellular biomarkers of low grade inflammation. The present review paper will discuss the main findings derived from the MOLI-SANI study on the association of low grade inflammation with a Mediterranean eating pattern, with a particular emphasis on the associated dietary polyphenols.

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