Polyphenols are a group of over 500 phytochemicals, which are naturally occurring micronutrients in plants. These compounds give a plant its color and can help to protect it from various dangers. Polyphenols may generate numerous health benefits by modulating the populations of microflora and bacteria that live in your gut.  Phytochemicals that can influence the gut have recently been studied to show that they support healthy weight and inflammatory response.

An imbalance of gut microflora known as dysbiosis, can be the cause of, or at least lead to the progression of several dangerous conditions such as infectious diseases, gastrointestinal cancers, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and even obesity and diabetes.” Of the phytochemicals ingested, 90-95% successfully reach the colon in high concentrations, where they are degraded by gut microflora 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 (fat cells), 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 gut microflora, and, therefore, influencing weight management and the inflammatory response. A good probiotic supplement, nutritional formulas that contain high dose polyphenols and a balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables and fiber all contribute to a healthy intestinal microflora.

References: 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.  HindawiMediators of Inflammation. 2018 Article ID 9734845, 18 pages. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/9734845.

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