Antioxidant nutrients are important for limiting damaging oxidative reactions in cells, which may predispose to the development of major clinical conditions such as heart disease and cancer. There is great interest in the possibility that the antioxidant potential of plant-derived phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids, may reduce the risk of developing these conditions. Antioxidant effectiveness in vivo depends on the bioavailability of these compounds, which was assumed to be low. However, recent studies with improved methodology indicate that some plant phenolics appear in plasma and body tissues and, thus, may be important nutritional antioxidants. However, this cannot be established with certainty until their effects on biomarkers of oxidative stress are established.
aRowett Research Institute, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK; and bPlant Products and Human Nutrition Group, Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Correspondence to Garry Duthie, Rowett Research Institute, Greenburn Road, Bucksburn, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK