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Curr Pharm Des. 2018;24(2):239-258. doi: 10.2174/1381612824666180130112652.

Polyphenols: Potential Use in the Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Diseases.

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Biomedical Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Specialties, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy.
Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.
Section of Clinical Biochemistry, University of Verona, Verona, Italy.
CGH Medical Center, Sterling, Illinois; Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, United States.
Department of Hypertension, Chair of Nephrology and Hypertension, Medical University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland.



Polyphenols are bioactive compounds that can be found mostly in foods like fruits, cereals, vegetables, dry legumes, chocolate and beverages such as coffee, tea and wine. They are extensively used in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease (CVD) providing protection against many chronic illnesses. Their effects on human health depend on the amount consumed and on their bioavailability. Many studies have demonstrated that polyphenols have also good effects on the vascular system by lowering blood pressure, improving endothelial function, increasing antioxidant defences, inhibiting platelet aggregation and low-density lipoprotein oxidation, and reducing inflammatory responses.


This review is focused on some groups of polyphenols and their effects on several cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension, oxidative stress, atherogenesis, endothelial dysfunction, carotid artery intima-media thickness, diabetes and lipid disorders.


It is proved that these compounds have many cardio protective functions: they alter hepatic cholesterol absorption, triglyceride biosynthesis and lipoprotein secretion, the processing of lipoproteins in plasma, and inflammation. In some cases, human long-term studies did not show conclusive results because they lacked in appropriate controls and in an undefined polyphenol dosing regimen.


Rigorous evidence is necessary to demonstrate whether or not polyphenols beneficially impact CVD prevention and treatment.


Polyphenols; cardiovascular risk; flavonoids; lignans; phenolic acids; prevention; stilbenes; therapy.

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