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Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2004;44(7-8):575-86.

Dietary antioxidant compounds and liver health.

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Dipartimento di Scienza degli Alimenti, Università di Napoli "Federico II" Parco Gussone-Ed. 84, Portici (NA) Italy.


Chronic liver damage is a widespread pathology characterized by a progressive evolution from steatosis to chronic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. As the oxidative stress plays a central role in liver diseases pathogenesis and progression, the use of antioxidants have been proposed as therapeutic agents, as well as drug coadjuvants, to counteract liver damage. In this work in vitro and in vivo studies, with emphasis on humans and animals experiments, have been considered and reviewed according to antioxidant typologies. Great differences emerge as far as ingested doses, bioavailability and liver ability to accumulate the various compounds. Results available up to now suggest that lycopene-rich foods could be proposed in therapeutic treatment of some liver pathologies. On the other hand contradictory results have been obtained with alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene and trans-resveratrol. Quercetin, silymarin, esculetin and thyme and rosemary among phenolic compounds need further studies.

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