Polyphenols may generate numerous health benefits by modulating the gut microbiota (GM). Phytochemicals that can influence GM have recently been studied as adjuvants to support healthy weight and inflammatory response. These phytochemicals include polyphenols and their derivatives, carotenoids, and thiosulfates, which were “further sub-classified into four main groups: flavonoids (including eight subgroups), phenolic acids (such as curcumin), stilbenoids (such as resveratrol), and lignans.”
“An imbalance of GM, or dysbiosis, can be the cause of, or at least lead to the progression of several pathologies such as infectious diseases, gastrointestinal cancers, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and even obesity and diabetes.” Of the phytochemicals ingested, 90-95% “reach the colon in high concentrations (up to mM range), where they are degraded by the microbial enzymes prior to absorption.”
Joining the ranks of prebiotics and probiotics, polyphenols are now attracting interest in the media and the research community as potential therapeutic agents in supporting healthy weight management. Proposed mechanisms of actions include “inhibition of the differentiation of adipocytes, increased fatty acid oxidation, decreased fatty acid synthesis, increased thermogenesis, the facilitation of energy metabolism and weight management, and the inhibition of digestive enzymes.
As promising as this is, more research is required to determine role of micronutrients and phytochemicals as therapeutic agents in modulating the GM, and, therefore, influencing weight management and the inflammatory response.
Ref.: Carrera-Quintanar L, López Roa RI, Quintero-Fabián S, Sánchez-Sánchez MA, Vizmanos B, Ortuño-Sahagún D. Phytochemicals That Influence Gut Microbiota as Prophylactics and for the Treatment of Obesity and Inflammatory Diseases. Hindawi. Mediators of Inflammation. 2018 Article ID 9734845, 18 pages. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/9734845.
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