Interactions of gut microbiota with dietary polyphenols and consequences to human health

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Purpose of review

Dietary (poly)phenolic compounds have received attention over the last 20 years as antioxidants with preventive properties against chronic diseases. However, the evidence of these effects in clinical trials is weak, mainly because of a considerable interindividual variability. Polyphenols bioavailability is low, and gut microbiota metabolize them into simpler metabolites. As gut microbiota vary among individuals, such interindividual variability should be considered as a moderating factor in clinical trials. In this review, we show evidence of interactions with gut microbiota that help understanding polyphenols’ health effects.

Recent findings

Recent studies indicate that dietary polyphenols are relevant in the modulation of gut microbiota and that these microorganisms convert polyphenols into active and bioavailable metabolites; hence, variations in gut microbiota can affect polyphenol activity.


The results show that study participants’ stratification by their polyphenol-metabolizing phenotypes would be necessary for clinical trials as specific metabotypes produce the bioactive metabolites responsible for the health effects. Metabotypes can also reflect the gut microbiota composition and metabolic status, and could be biomarkers of the potential polyphenol health effects mediated through gut microbiota.

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