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J Nutr Biochem. 2019 Feb;64:1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2018.09.028. Epub 2018 Oct 13.

Dietary polyphenols and their roles in fat browning.

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Department of Biotechnology, Daegu University, Gyeongsan, Gyeongbuk 38453, Republic of Korea.
Department of Biotechnology, Daegu University, Gyeongsan, Gyeongbuk 38453, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:


Discovery of the presence of brown adipose tissue (BAT) in newborn babies and adult humans, especially constitutively active brown fat or inducible beige fat, has led to the investigation of strategies employing BAT aimed at the development of novel therapeutic avenues for combating obesity and diabetes. Such antiobesity therapeutic tools include pharmaceutical and nutraceutical dietary polyphenols. Although there have been emerging notable advances in knowledge of and an increased amount of research related to brown and beige adipocyte developmental lineages and transcriptional regulators, current knowledge regarding whether and how food factors and environmental modifiers of BAT influence thermogenesis has not been extensively investigated. Therefore, in this review, we summarized recent updates on the exploration of dietary polyphenols while paying attention to the activation of BAT and thermogenesis. Specifically, we summarized findings pertaining to BAT metabolism, white adipose tissue (WAT) browning and thermogenic function of polyphenols (e.g., flavan-3-ols, green tea catechins, resveratrol, capsaicin/capsinoids, curcumin, thymol, chrysin, quercetin and berberine) that may foster a relatively safe and effective therapeutic option to improve metabolic health. We also deciphered the underlying proposed mechanisms through which these dietary polyphenols facilitate BAT activity and WAT browning. Characterization of thermogenic dietary factors may offer novel insight enabling revision of nutritional intervention strategies aimed at obesity and diabetes prevention and management. Moreover, identification of polyphenolic dietary factors among plant-derived natural compounds may provide information that facilitates nutritional intervention strategies against obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.


Brown adipose tissue; Browning; Obesity; Polyphenols; White adipose tissue

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