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Nutr Neurosci. 2012 Jan;15(1):1-9. doi: 10.1179/1476830511Y.0000000028.

Effects of natural antioxidants in neurodegenerative disease.

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Departamento de Nutrición y Bioquímica, Facultad de Ciencias, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá D.C., Colombia.


Polyphenols are secondary metabolites with antioxidant properties and are abundant in the diet. Fruits, vegetables, herbs, and various drinks (tea, wine, and juices) are all sources of these molecules. Despite their abundance, investigations into the benefits of polyphenols in human health have only recently begun. Phenolic compounds have received increasing interest because of numerous epidemiological studies. These studies have suggested associations between the consumption of polyphenol-rich aliments and the prevention of chronic diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases. More specifically, in the last 10 years literature on the neuroprotective effects of a polyphenol-rich diet has grown considerably. It has been demonstrated, in various cell culture and animal models, that these metabolites are able to protect neuronal cells by attenuating oxidative stress and damage. However, it remains unclear as to how these compounds reach the brain, what concentrations are necessary, and what biologically active forms are needed to exert beneficial effects. Therefore, further research is needed to identify the molecular pathways and intracellular targets responsible for polyphenol's neuroprotective effects. The aim of this paper is to present various well-known dietary polyphenols and their mechanisms of neuroprotection with an emphasis on Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

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