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      Cocoa Polyphenols and Inflammatory Markers of Cardiovascular Disease


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          Epidemiological studies have demonstrated the beneficial effect of plant-derived food intake in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The potential bioactivity of cocoa and its polyphenolic components in modulating cardiovascular health is now being studied worldwide and continues to grow at a rapid pace. In fact, the high polyphenol content of cocoa is of particular interest from the nutritional and pharmacological viewpoints. Cocoa polyphenols are shown to possess a range of cardiovascular-protective properties, and can play a meaningful role through modulating different inflammatory markers involved in atherosclerosis. Accumulated evidence on related anti-inflammatory effects of cocoa polyphenols is summarized in the present review.

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          Polyphenols: chemistry, dietary sources, metabolism, and nutritional significance.

          Polyphenols constitute one of the most numerous and ubiquitous groups of plant metabolites and are an integral part of both human and animal diets. Ranging from simple phenolic molecules to highly polymerized compounds with molecular weights of greater than 30,000 Da, the occurrence of this complex group of substances in plant foods is extremely variable. Polyphenols traditionally have been considered antinutrients by animal nutritionists, because of the adverse effect of tannins, one type of polyphenol, on protein digestibility. However, recent interest in food phenolics has increased greatly, owing to their antioxidant capacity (free radical scavenging and metal chelating activities) and their possible beneficial implications in human health, such as in the treatment and prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other pathologies. Much of the literature refers to a single group of plant phenolics, the flavonoids. This review offers an overview of the nutritional effects of the main groups of polyphenolic compounds, including their metabolism, effects on nutrient bioavailability, and antioxidant activity, as well as a brief description of the chemistry of polyphenols and their occurrence in plant foods.
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            Benefits of polyphenols on gut microbiota and implications in human health.

            The biological properties of dietary polyphenols are greatly dependent on their bioavailability that, in turn, is largely influenced by their degree of polymerization. The gut microbiota play a key role in modulating the production, bioavailability and, thus, the biological activities of phenolic metabolites, particularly after the intake of food containing high-molecular-weight polyphenols. In addition, evidence is emerging on the activity of dietary polyphenols on the modulation of the colonic microbial population composition or activity. However, although the great range of health-promoting activities of dietary polyphenols has been widely investigated, their effect on the modulation of the gut ecology and the two-way relationship "polyphenols ↔ microbiota" are still poorly understood. Only a few studies have examined the impact of dietary polyphenols on the human gut microbiota, and most were focused on single polyphenol molecules and selected bacterial populations. This review focuses on the reciprocal interactions between the gut microbiota and polyphenols, the mechanisms of action and the consequences of these interactions on human health. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              Interaction between phenolics and gut microbiota: role in human health.

              Dietary phenolic compounds are often transformed before absorption. This transformation modulates their biological activity. Different studies have been carried out to understand gut microbiota transformations of particular polyphenol types and identify the responsible microorganisms. Although there are potentially thousands of different phenolic compounds in the diet, they are typically transformed to a much smaller number of metabolites. The aim of this review was to discuss the current information about the microbial degradation metabolites obtained from different phenolics and their formation pathways, identifying their differences and similarities. The modulation of gut microbial population by phenolics was also reviewed in order to understand the two-way phenolic-microbiota interaction. Clostridium and Eubacterium genera, which are phylogenetically associated, are other common elements involved in the metabolism of many phenolics. The health benefits from phenolic consumption should be attributed to their bioactive metabolites and also to the modulation of the intestinal bacterial population.

                Author and article information

                21 February 2014
                February 2014
                : 6
                : 2
                : 844-880
                [1 ]Biomarkers Research Program, Biochemistry Department, College of Science, King Saud University, P.O. Box 2455, King Abdullah road, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia; E-Mail: nasiruddin2006@ 123456gmail.com
                [2 ]Biomarkers and Nutritional & Food Metabolomics Research Group, Department of Nutrition and Food Science, XaRTA, INSA, Campus Torribera; INGENIO-CONSOLIDER Program, Fun-C-Food CSD2007-063, Ministry of Science and Innovation, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Barcelona, Av Joan XXIII, s/n, Barcelona 08028, Spain; E-Mails: murpi@ 123456ub.edu (M.U.-S.); sara.tulipani@ 123456gmail.com (S.T.); margarcia@ 123456ub.edu (M.G.-A.); ximenamora@ 123456ub.edu (X.M.-C.); rafallorach@ 123456ub.edu (R.L.); candres@ 123456ub.edu (C.A.-L.)
                [3 ]Biomedical Research Institute (IBIMA), Service of Endocrinology and Nutrition, Hospital Complex (Virgen de la Victoria), Campus de Teatinos s/n, University of Málaga, Malaga 29010, Spain
                [4 ]Institute of Food Science Research (CIAL), CSIC-UAM. C/Nicolás Cabrera 9, Campus de Cantoblanco, Madrid 28049, Spain; E-Mail: m.monagas@ 123456csic.es
                Author notes

                These authors contributed equally to this work.

                [* ] Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mail: okhymenets@ 123456ub.edu ; Tel.: +34-93-40-35-930; Fax: +34-93-40-35-931.
                © 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

                This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).

                : 29 November 2013
                : 30 December 2013
                : 06 February 2014

                Nutrition & Dietetics
                cocoa polyphenols,bioavailability,inflammation,cvd
                Nutrition & Dietetics
                cocoa polyphenols, bioavailability, inflammation, cvd


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