Reference Number: 150
Dietary polyphenols are substrates for colonic microbiota. They and their metabolites contribute to the maintenance of gastrointestinal health by interacting with epithelial cells, and largely by modulating the gut microbial composition. Polyphenols may act as promoting factors of growth, proliferation, or survival for beneficial gut bacteria—mainly Lactobacillus strains—and thus, exerting prebiotic actions and inhibiting the proliferation of some pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella and Helicobacter pylori species. To date the interactions affecting metabolic pathways and numerous metabolites of dietary polyphenols have been widely documented. However, the effects of dietary polyphenols on the modulation of the intestinal ecology and on the growth of gut microbial species are still poorly understood. This paper summarizes data on the influence of dietary polyphenols on gut microbiota and the main interactions between dietary polyphenols and beneficial and pathogenic intestinal bacteria.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS STUDY
The current paper reviews the relationship between dietary polyphenol intakes and the effect on the gut microbiome. Dietary polyphenols contribute to the maintenance of gastrointestinal health, mainly with the simultaneous inhibition of pathogens and stimulation of beneficial bacteria. In the past, the concept of prebiotics was limited to non-digestible carbohydrates (i.e fibre), but the recently accumulated evidence strongly suggests that polyphenols have the ability to exert prebiotic action. Indeed, the prebiotic effect could be enhanced when a substantial amount of polyphenols is associated with dietary fiber. Therefore, the regular consumption of a diet rich in plant foods with high polyphenol contents may beneficially balance the gut microbiome, helping to prevent gastrointestinal disorders and a host of other chronic diseases.