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Review

Cocoa Polyphenols and Gut Microbiota Interplay: Bioavailability, Prebiotic Effect, and Impact on Human Health

1
Department of Pharmaceutical & Pharmacological Sciences, University of Padova, 35131 Padova, Italy
2
Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padova, 35131 Padova, Italy
3
Department of Medicine and Health Sciences “V. Tiberio”, University of Molise, Via de Sanctis s.n.c, 86100 Campobasso, Italy
4
Human Inspired Technology Research Center, University of Padova, 35131 Padova, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2020, 12(7), 1908; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12071908
Received: 26 May 2020 / Revised: 19 June 2020 / Accepted: 24 June 2020 / Published: 27 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cocoa and Chocolate in Human Health)
Cocoa and its products are rich sources of polyphenols such as flavanols. These compounds exert antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, accountable for cocoa health-promoting effects. However, cocoa polyphenols are poorly absorbed in the intestine, and most of them cannot reach the systemic circulation in their natural forms. Instead, their secondary bioactive metabolites are bioavailable, enter the circulation, reach the target organs, and exhibit their activities. In fact, once reaching the intestine, cocoa polyphenols interact bidirectionally with the gut microbiota. These compounds can modulate the composition of the gut microbiota exerting prebiotic mechanisms. They enhance the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, while reducing the number of pathogenic ones, such as Clostridium perfringens. On the other hand, bioactive cocoa metabolites can enhance gut health, displaying anti-inflammatory activities, positively affecting immunity, and reducing the risk of various diseases. This review aims to summarize the available knowledge of the bidirectional interaction between cocoa polyphenols and gut microbiota with their various health outcomes. View Full-Text
Keywords: cocoa; polyphenols; flavanols; bioavailability; gut microbiota; human health cocoa; polyphenols; flavanols; bioavailability; gut microbiota; human health
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MDPI and ACS Style

Sorrenti, V.; Ali, S.; Mancin, L.; Davinelli, S.; Paoli, A.; Scapagnini, G. Cocoa Polyphenols and Gut Microbiota Interplay: Bioavailability, Prebiotic Effect, and Impact on Human Health. Nutrients 2020, 12, 1908. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12071908

AMA Style

Sorrenti V, Ali S, Mancin L, Davinelli S, Paoli A, Scapagnini G. Cocoa Polyphenols and Gut Microbiota Interplay: Bioavailability, Prebiotic Effect, and Impact on Human Health. Nutrients. 2020; 12(7):1908. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12071908

Chicago/Turabian Style

Sorrenti, Vincenzo, Sawan Ali, Laura Mancin, Sergio Davinelli, Antonio Paoli, and Giovanni Scapagnini. 2020. "Cocoa Polyphenols and Gut Microbiota Interplay: Bioavailability, Prebiotic Effect, and Impact on Human Health" Nutrients 12, no. 7: 1908. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12071908

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