The chapter summarizes available research on polyphenols and the potential for polyphenol based therapeutics. Polyphenols have the potential to be used in a multi-target fashion therapeutically. The majority of the polyphenol benefits appear to share positive effects across multiple disease states including inflammatory diseases, diseases of metabolic dysregulation and cancer. The reviewed literature includes human, animal and cell culture based studies. Selected mechanisms within each disease state are highlighted including interleukin inflammatory markers, NF-κB, acetyl-CoA concentration regulation of metabolism, and p-glycoprotein multidrug efflux pump associated with cancer treatment failures. Reviewed studies discuss polyphenols inhibiting transcription factors that control expression on inflammatory factors as well as activating other transcription factors that increase expression of enzymes protective of oxidative damage. Levels of metabolic regulatory enzymes are also affected positively by polyphenol addition through epigenetic modifications. Epigenetic modifications affecting cancer development and progression appear positively affected by polyphenol treatment. Additionally, oxidative damage protection of normal cells can be achieved by polyphenol treatment thus limiting chemotherapeutic damage. Upon review of the available literature, a strong case for the potential use of polyphenols in therapeutic situations stands out. Potential risks included are that the purity and specific concentrations required to achieve therapeutic benefits without potential side effects need to be examined prior to the adoption of therapeutics.
Part of the book: Functional Foods