Phytochemicals on Health
and Fatty Acid Metabolism


Phytochemicals can change fatty acids metabolism, can accumulate in cell membranes, and affect cell membrane structure and processes, gene expression and inflammation.

Nutraceuticals and Prevention of Atherosclerosis: Focus on ω-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Mediterranean Diet Polyphenols

Marika Massaro,1,2 Egeria Scoditti,1,2 Maria Annunziata Carluccio1,2 & Raffaele De Caterina1,3
C.N.R. Institute of Clinical Physiology, Pisa, Lecce, ItalyUniversity of Salento, Ecotekne, Lecce, Italy,ÏG. d’AnnunzioÓ University, Chieti, Italy

Nutraceuticals are potentially healthful foods that play a role in maintaining human well being, enhancing health and preventing, or even treating, specific diseases. More than forany other diseases, cardiovascular diseases occur in association with risk factors that are amenable to prevention or treatment by nutraceutical interventions. Several ingredients marketed for use in dietary supplements address such risk factors. The ability of nutraceuticals to favorably influence cardiovascular risk factors and atherosclerotic vascular disease should be recognized as an enormous opportunity for the prevention or treatment of this common condition. In this review, we attempt at summarizing some of the recent research findings on ω-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids and antioxidant polyphenols that have beneficial cardiovascular effects to update the practicing clinicians on the potential benefits of nutraceuticals in this area.

Mechanism of Action of Flavonoids as Anti-inflammatory Agents: A Review

Permender Rathee*, Hema Chaudhary, Sushila Rathee, Dharmender Rathee, Vikash Kumar and Kanchan Kohli, PDM College of Pharmacy, Bahadurgarh, India

Flavonoids are polyphenolic compounds that occur ubiquitously in plants having a variety of biological effects both in vitro and in vivo. They have been found to have antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-ulcerogenic, cytotoxic, antineoplastic, mutagenic, antioxidant, antihepatotoxic, antihypertensive, hypolipidemic, antiplatelet and anti-inflammatory activities. Flavonoids also have biochemical effects, which inhibit a number of enzymes such as aldose reductase, xanthine oxidase, phosphodiesterase, Ca+2-ATPase, lipoxygenase, cycloxygenase, etc. They also have a regulatory role on different hormones like estrogens, androgens and thyroid hormone. They have been found to have anti-inflammatory activity in both proliferative and exudative phases of inflammation. Several mechanisms of action have been proposed to explain anti-inflammatory action of flavonoids. The aim of the present review is to give an overview of the mechanism of action of potential anti-inflammatory flavonoids.

Dietary Flavonoids Increase Plasma Very Long-Chain (n-3) Fatty Acids in Rats

Marie-Claire Toufektsian, Patricia Salen, Francois Laporte, Chiara Tonelli, and Michel de Lorgeril, Laboratoire Coeur et Nutrition, J. Nutr. 141: 37–41, 2011

Flavonoids probably contribute to the health benefits associated with the consumption of fruit and vegetables. However, the mechanisms by which they exert their effects are not fully elucidated. PUFA of the (n-3) series also have health benefits. Epidemiological and clinical studies have suggested that wine flavonoids may interact with the metabolism of (n-3) PUFA and increase their blood and cell levels. The present studies in rats were designed to assess whether flavonoids actually increase plasma levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the main very long-chain (n-3) PUFA. Rats were fed a corn-derived anthocyanin (ACN)-rich (ACN-rich) or ACN-free diet with constant intakes of plant and marine (n-3) PUFA for 8 wk (Expt. 1). Plasma fatty acids were measured by GC. The ACN-rich diet contained;0.2460.01 mg of ACN/g pellets. There were no significant differences between groups in the main saturated, monounsaturated, and (n-6) fatty acids. In contrast, plasma EPA and DHA were greater in the ACN-rich diet group than in the ACN-free diet group (P , 0.05). We obtained similar results in 2 subsequent experiments in which rats were administered palm oil (80 mL/d) and consumed the ACN-rich or ACN-free diet (Expt. 2) or were supplemented with fish oil (60 mg/d, providing 35 mg DHA and 12 mg EPA) and consumed the ACN-rich or ACN-free diet (Expt. 3). In both experiments, plasma EPA and DHA were significantly greater in the ACN-rich diet group. These studies demonstrate that the consumption of flavonoids increases plasma very long-chain (n-3) PUFA levels. These data confirm previous clinical and epidemiological studies and provide new insights into the health benefits of flavonoids.

Sesamin Is a Potent and Specific Inhibitor of d5 Desaturase in Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Biosynthesis

Sakayu Shimlzu a,Kengo Akimolo a,1, Yoshifumi Shlnmen a,1, Hlroshi Kawashima, Michlhiro Sugano b, and Hldeaki Yamada, Lipids 26, 512-516 (1991)

Incubation with sesame oil increases the mycelial dihomoy- linolenlc acid content of an arachidonic acid-producing fungus, Mortierella alpina, but decreases its arachidonic acid content [Sbimizu, S., K. Aidmoto, H. Kawashlm~ Y. Shlnmen and H. Yamada (1989) J. Am. Oil Chem. Soc. 66, 237-241]. The factor causing these effects was isolated and identified to be (+)-sesamin. The results obtained in experiments with both a cell-free extract of the fungus and with rat liver microsomes demonstrated that (+)- sesamin specifically inhibits d5 desaturase at low concentrations, but does not inhibit d6, d9 and d12 desaturases. Kinetic analysis showed that (+)-sesamin is a noncompetitive inhibitor (Ki for rat liver d5 desaturase, 155 ~uM). (+)-Sesamolin, (+)-sesaminol and (+)-episesamin also inhibited only d5 desaturases of the fungus and liver. These results demonstrate that (+)-sesamin and related lignan compounds present in sesame seeds or its oil are specific lnhlbitors of d5 desaturase in polyunsaturated fatty acid biosynthesis in both microorganisms and animals.

Phytochemicals as Modulators of Neoplastic Phenotypes

Heidrun Ding Sebastien Tauzin Daniel C. Hoessli

It is generally accepted that nutritional behaviors constitute decisive components of human health. Phytochemicals (small, nonenergetic molecules of vegetal origin) are overall inhibitory on the expression of gene products promoting proliferation and resistance to apoptosis. On the contrary, phytochemicals stimulate the synthesis of adaptive proteins that favor resistance to cellular stress (detoxifying and antioxidant enzymes). They are effective modulators that act synergistically on membrane, cytoplasmic and nuclear enzymatic reactions to dampen cellular hyperproliferation and hyperactivity, reequilibrate metabolic activity and promote apoptosis of genetically unstable cells. Despite important gaps in our knowledge regarding how phytochemicals interfere with cellular function in vivo, effective chemopreventive measures have shown that phytochemicals can be utilized to prevent cancer, and possibly to treat cancer patients as well. We review how phytochemicals exert their beneficial effects at the cellular level.

Asha Nutrition Sciences does not necessarily agree with every statement or inference drawn by the catalogued publications.