26 June 2020 In Phenolic compounds

Over the last few decades, polyphenols, and flavonoids in particular, have attracted the interest of researchers, as they have been associated with the health-promoting effects derived from diets rich in vegetables and fruits, including moderate wine consumption. Recent scientific evidence suggests that wine polyphenols exert their effects through interactions with the gut microbiota, as they seem to modulate microbiota and, at the same time, are metabolized by intestinal bacteria into specific bioavailable metabolites.

Microbial metabolites are better absorbed than their precursors and may be responsible for positive health activities in the digestive system (local effects) and, after being absorbed, in tissues and organs (systemic effects). Differences in gut microbiota composition and functionality among individuals can affect polyphenol activity and, therefore, their health effects.

The aim of this review is to integrate the understanding of the metabolism and mechanisms of action of wine polyphenols at both local and systemic levels, underlining their impact on the gut microbiome and the inter-individual variability associated with polyphenols' metabolism and further physiological effects. The advent of promising dietary approaches linked to wine polyphenols beyond the gut microbiota community and metabolism are also discussed.

04 May 2020 In Phenolic compounds

Deficits in the cerebral microcirculation contribute to age-related cognitive decline. In a pilot study of postmenopausal women, we found that supplementation with a low dose of resveratrol, a phytoestrogen, for 14 weeks improved cerebrovascular and cognitive functions.

We have since undertaken a larger, longer term study to confirm these benefits. Postmenopausal women aged 45-85 years (n = 129) were randomized to take placebo or 75 mg trans-resveratrol twice daily for 12 months. Effects on cognition, cerebral blood flow, cerebrovascular responsiveness (CVR) and cardiometabolic markers (blood pressure, diabetes markers and fasting lipids) were assessed. Compared to placebo, resveratrol improved overall cognitive performance (P < 0.001) and attenuated the decline in CVR to cognitive stimuli (P = 0.038). The latter effect was associated with reduction of fasting blood glucose (r = -0.339, P = 0.023).

This long-term study confirms that regular consumption of resveratrol can enhance cognitive and cerebrovascular functions in postmenopausal women, with the potential to slow cognitive decline due to ageing and menopause.

04 May 2020 In Phenolic compounds

SIRT1 protects against several complex metabolic and ageing-related diseases (MARDs), and is therefore considered a polypill target to improve healthy ageing. Although dietary sirtuin-activating compounds (dSTACs) including resveratrol are promising drug candidates, their clinical application has been frustrated by an imprecise understanding of how their signals are transduced into increased healthspan.

Recent work indicates that SIRT1 and orthologous sirtuins coactivate the oestrogen receptor/ER and the worm steroid receptor DAF-12. Here they are further shown to ligand-independently transduce dSTACs signals through these receptors. While some dSTACs elicit ER subtype-selectivity in the presence of hormone, most synergize with 17beta-oestradiol and dafachronic acid respectively to increase ER and DAF-12 coactivation by the sirtuins.

These data suggest that dSTACs functionally mimic gonadal steroid hormones, enabling sirtuins to transduce the cognate signals through a conserved endocrine pathway. Interestingly, resveratrol non-monotonically modulates sirtuin signalling, suggesting that it may induce hormesis, i.e. "less is more".

Together, the findings suggest that dSTACs may be informational molecules that use exploitative mimicry to modulate sirtuin signalling through steroid receptors. Hence dSTACs' intrinsic oestrogenicity may underlie their proven ability to impart the health benefits of oestradiol, and also provides a mechanistic insight into how they extend healthspan or protect against MARDs.

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