Bioactives – Small compounds with big impact

Phenolic compounds are secondary metabolites synthesized by plants that may have beneficial effects on human health and provide protection against chronic diseases.

Phenolic compounds are secondary metabolites synthesized by plants that may have beneficial effects on human health and provide protection against chronic diseases. The most common phenolics are flavonoids, tannins, phenolic acids and coumarins. Flavonoids are the largest dietary polyphenolic class. Fruits and vegetables are the main sources of dietary flavonoids, of which there are many subclasses. But every food (fruit or vegetable) does not contain compounds from all subclasses. For example, teas are excellent sources of flavan 3-ols, while citrus fruits are rich in flavanones1.

Food phenolic compounds, particularly flavonoids, may have antioxidant and antimutagenic activities2. Together these effects are likely to have a very positive health impact including the reduction of the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke through inhibition of oxidative damage.

According to the USDA flavonoid and isoflavone databases and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the estimated mean total flavonoid intake by US adults (age ≥ 19) was 344.83  ± 9.13 mg/day and the flavan-3-ols were the most abundant flavonoid class (191.99 ± 6.84 mg/day). Teas, red wines, red grapes, chocolate and apricots are the most important food sources of flavan-3-ols4.

Creme Global is the technical partner  in the “Beneficial effects of dietary bioactive peptides and polyphenols on cardiovascular health in humans” (BACCHUS) project that aims to develop scientific evidence that can be used to support claims of a cause and effect relationship between consumption of bioactive peptides and polyphenols, and beneficial physiological effects related to cardiovascular health in humans. Creme Global merged four national food consumption surveys in Europe with the eBasis database using a probabilistic model in order to understand the intakes of various bioactive compounds in Europe. Recently we attended the annual consortium meeting in Bratislava where exciting new data and findings were discussed.

At Creme Global, our access to world class dietary data sources allows us to calculate daily intakes of phenolic compounds from various populations. A constantly extended and updated selection of national food consumption surveys globally are installed in our models as well as databases such as the  USDA flavonoid and isoflavone databases which can be mapped to those surveys using the interface or our in-house expertise.

More information:

  1. Ivey, K. L., Hodgson, J. M., Croft, K. D., Lewis, J. R., and Prince, R. L. (2015). Flavonoid intake and all-cause mortality. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 101: 1012-1020
  2. Yao, L. H., Jiang, Y. M., Shi, J., Tomas-Barberan, F. A., Datta, N., Singanusong, R., and Chen, S. S. (2004). Flavonoids in food and their health benefits. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 59: 113-122
  3. Manach, C., Scalbert, A., Morand, C., Remesy, C., and Jimenez, L. (2004) Polyphenols: food sources and bioavailability. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 79:727-747
  4. Bai, W., Wang, C., and Ren, C. (2014). Intakes of total and individual flavonoids by US adults. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 65(1): 9-20

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