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      Polyphenols from Bee Pollen: Structure, Absorption, Metabolism and Biological Activity

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          Bee pollen constitutes a natural source of antioxidants such as phenolic acids and flavonoids, which are responsible for its biological activity. Research has indicated the correlation between dietary polyphenols and cardioprotective, hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anticancerogenic, immunostimulating, antianaemic effects, as well as their beneficial influence on osseous tissue. The beneficial effects of bee pollen on health result from the presence of phenolic acids and flavonoids which possess anti-inflammatory properties, phytosterol and linolenic acid which play an anticancerogenic role, and polysaccharides which stimulate immunological activity. Polyphenols are absorbed in the alimentary tract, metabolised by CYP450 enzymes, and excreted with urine and faeces. Flavonoids and phenolic acids are characterised by high antioxidative potential, which is closely related to their chemical structure. The high antioxidant potential of phenolic acids is due to the presence and location of hydroxyl groups, a carboxyl group in the immediate vicinity of ortho-diphenolic substituents, and the ethylene group between the phenyl ring and the carboxyl group. As regards flavonoids, essential structural elements are hydroxyl groups at the C5 and C7 positions in the A ring, and at the C3′ and C4′ positions in the B ring, and a hydroxyl group at the C3 position in the C ring. Furthermore, both, the double bond between C2 and C3, and a ketone group at the C4 position in the C ring enhance the antioxidative potential of these compounds. Polyphenols have an ideal chemical structure for scavenging free radicals and for creating chelates with metal ions, which makes them effective antioxidants in vivo.

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          Most cited references 102

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

           Laura Bravo (1998)
          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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            Absorption and metabolism of flavonoids.

             Thomas Walle (2004)
            The benefits of flavonoids as chemopreventive dietary or dietary supplemental agents are still only "potential." Much has been learned about possible mechanisms of action of these agents, but whether they can reach their multiple intended sites of action, particularly in humans, is largely unknown. The biological fate of the flavonoids, including their dietary glycoside forms, is highly complex, dependent on a large number of processes. This review is intended to bring some order into this complex area and deals with the fate of the naturally occurring glycosides, their enzymatic hydrolysis, as well as the resulting aglycones. The impact of membrane transporters as well as metabolic enzymes on the cellular availability of these phytochemicals is examined. A reevaluation of the concept of oral bioavailability applied to the dietary flavonoids is presented.
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              Honeybee-collected pollen from five Portuguese Natural Parks: palynological origin, phenolic content, antioxidant properties and antimicrobial activity.

              The aim of this study was to determine the palynological origin, phenolic content, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of pollen from five Portuguese Natural-Parks [Parque Nacional Peneda Gerês (PNPG); Parque Natural do Montesinho (PNM); Parque Natural do Alvão (PNA); Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela (PNSE) and Parque Natural do Douro Internacional (PNDI)]. Eight families were found in the mixture of bee pollen: Rosaceae, Cistaceae, Boraginaceae, Asteraceae, Fagaceae, Ericaeae, Myrtaceae and Fabaceae. The phenolic compounds content, determined by the Folin-Ciocalteu method, varied between 10.5 and 16.8 mg of gallic acid equivalents/g of extract (mg GAE/g) found in bee pollen from PNM and PNDI, respectively. The free radical scavenging measured showed the highest effective extract - PNM with EC(50) 2.16, followed by PND with 2.24 mg/mL. In the β-carotene bleaching assay the same behaviour as in the DPPH method was verified. We also verified that the presence of pollen differentially affected the growth of bacteria Gram-positive, Gram-negative and yeasts under study, depending this on the microorganism and the pollen used. This is an important study since, as far we know, it is the first time that Portuguese bee pollen from Natural Parks was studied, and their characterization can increase their economic value. Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

                Author and article information

                Role: Academic Editor
                04 December 2015
                December 2015
                : 20
                : 12
                : 21732-21749
                [1 ]Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, School of Pharmacy with the Division of Laboratory Medicine, Medical University of Silesia, Jagiellońska 4, Sosnowiec 41-200, Poland; ebuszman@ 123456sum.edu.pl
                [2 ]Department of Hygiene, Bioanalysis and Environmental Studies, School of Pharmacy with the Division of Laboratory Medicine, Medical University of Silesia, Kasztanowa 3A, Sosnowiec 41-200, Poland; jstojko@ 123456sum.edu.pl (J.S.); amozdzierz@ 123456sum.edu.pl (A.M.)
                [3 ]Silesian Medical College in Katowice, Mickiewicza 29, Katowice 40-085, Poland; anna.kurek_gorecka@ 123456swsm.pl
                [4 ]Department of Drug Technology, School of Pharmacy with the Division of Laboratory Medicine, Medical University of Silesia, Jedności 8, Sosnowiec 41-200, Poland; mgorecki@ 123456sum.edu.pl
                [5 ]Department of Pathology, School of Pharmacy with the Division of Laboratory Medicine in Sosnowiec, Medical University of Silesia in Katowice, Ostrogórska 30, 41-200 Sosnowiec, Poland; adzik@ 123456sum.edu.pl (A.K.-D.); rkubina@ 123456sum.edu.pl (R.K.)
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: annastojko@ 123456sum.edu.pl ; Tel./Fax: +48-323-641-611

                These authors contributed equally to this work.

                © 2015 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons by Attribution (CC-BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).


                bee pollen, antioxidants, polyphenols, natural product


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