Polyphenols are categorized as plant secondary metabolites, and they have attracted much attention in relation to human health and the prevention of chronic diseases. In recent years, a considerable number of studies have been published concerning their physiological function in the digestive tract, such as their prebiotic properties and their modification of intestinal microbiota. It has also been suggested that several hydrolyzed and/or fission products, derived from the catabolism of polyphenols by intestinal bacteria, exert their physiological functions in target sites after transportation into the body. Thus, this review article focuses on the role of intestinal microbiota in the bioavailability and physiological function of dietary polyphenols. Monomeric polyphenols, such as flavonoids and oligomeric polyphenols, such as proanthocyanidins, are usually catabolized to chain fission products by intestinal bacteria in the colon. Gallic acid and ellagic acid derived from the hydrolysis of gallotannin, and ellagitannin are also subjected to intestinal catabolism. These catabolites may play a large role in the physiological functions of dietary polyphenols. They may also affect the microbiome, resulting in health promotion by the activation of short chain fatty acids (SCFA) excretion and intestinal immune function. The intestinal microbiota is a key factor in mediating the physiological functions of dietary polyphenols.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited