How do our bodies metabolise flavonoids?


Wednesday, 06 December, 2023

How do our bodies metabolise flavonoids?

With plant-based lifestyles becoming more popular, the power of foods such as broccoli, celery and tofu, rich in flavonoids, is becoming clearer. Flavonoids are phenolic compounds produced by plants. They also have long been said to have therapeutic and preventive effects against cancer and heart disease; however, the process of how our bodies metabolise flavonoids is unclear.

A team of researchers led by Tsutomu Shimada and Professor Shigeo Takenaka of the Graduate School of Human Life and Ecology at Osaka Metropolitan University has shed light on the mechanism of three major flavonoids — naringenin, apigenin and genistein — and the processes by which they are metabolised by the body. Molecular docking analyses found that human enzymes modify flavonoids in a similar way to how plants do.

“The results of this research are fundamental in elucidating the correlation between the metabolism of flavonoids in the body and their potential health benefits,” Takenaka said.

The researchers published their findings in Chemical Research in Toxicology.

Image caption: Typical foods that contain naringenin, apigenin and genistein and the chemical structural formulas. Image credit: Osaka Metropolitan University.

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