Wine, and particularly red wine, is a beverage with a great chemical complexity that is in continuous evolution. Chemically, wine is a hydroalcoholic solution (~78% water) that comprises a wide variety of chemical components, including aldehydes, esters, ketones, lipids, minerals, organic acids, phenolics, soluble proteins, sugars and vitamins. Flavonoids constitute a major group of polyphenolic compounds which are directly associated with the organoleptic and health-promoting properties of red wine. However, due to the insufficient epidemiological and in vivo evidences on this subject, the presence of a high number of variables such as human age, metabolism, the presence of alcohol, the complex wine chemistry, and the wide array of in vivo biological effects of these compounds suggest that only cautious conclusions may be drawn from studies focusing on the direct effect of wine and any specific health issue. Nevertheless, there are several reports on the health protective properties of wine phenolics for several diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, some cancers, obesity, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, allergies and osteoporosis. The different interactions that wine flavonoids may have with key biological targets are crucial for some of these health-promoting effects. The interaction between some wine flavonoids and some specific enzymes are one example. The way wine flavonoids may be absorbed and metabolized could interfere with their bioavailability and therefore in their health-promoting effect. Hence, some reports have focused on flavonoids absorption, metabolism, microbiota effect and overall on flavonoids bioavailability. This review summarizes some of these major issues which are directly related to the potential health-promoting effects of wine flavonoids. Reports related to flavonoids and health highlight some relevant scientific information. However, there is still a gap between the knowledge of wine flavonoids bioavailability and their health-promoting effects. More in vivo results as well as studies focused on flavonoid metabolites are still required. Moreover, it is also necessary to better understand how biological interactions (with microbiota and cells, enzymes or general biological systems) could interfere with flavonoid bioavailability.
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