Toxicological aspects of the use of phenolic compounds in disease prevention
The consumption of a diet low in fat and enhanced by fruits and vegetables, especially rich in phenolic compounds, may reduce risks of many civilization diseases. The use of traditional medicines, mainly derived from plant sources, has become an attractive segment in the management of many lifestyle diseases. Concerning the application of dietary supplements (based on phenolic compounds) in common practice, the ongoing debate over possible adverse effects of certain nutrients and dosage levels is of great importance. Since dietary supplements are not classified as drugs, their potential toxicities and interactions have not been thoroughly evaluated. First, this review will introduce phenolic compounds as natural substances beneficial for human health. Second, the potential dual mode of action of flavonoids will be outlined. Third, potential deleterious impacts of phenolic compounds utilization will be discussed: pro-oxidant and estrogenic activities, cancerogenic potential, cytotoxic effects, apoptosis induction and flavonoid-drug interaction. Finally, future trends within the research field will be indicated.
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