Author(s): Forester SC, Waterhouse AL
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Abstract Phenolic compounds in grapes and wine are grouped within the following major classes: stilbenes, phenolic acids, ellagitannins, flavan-3-ols, anthocyanins, flavonols, and proanthocyanidins. Consumption of foods containing phenolic substances has been linked to beneficial effects toward chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease and colorectal cancer. However, such correlations need to be supported by in vivo testing and bioavailability studies are the first step in establishing cause and effect. Class members from all phenolic groups can be glucuronidated, sulfated, and/or methylated and detected at low concentrations in the bloodstream and in urine. But the majority of phenolic compounds from grapes and wine are metabolized in the gastrointestinal tract, where they are broken down by gut microflora. This typically involves deglycosylation, followed by breakdown of ring structures to produce phenolic acids and aldehydes. These metabolites can be detected in bloodstream, urine, and fecal samples by using sophisticated instrumentation methods for quantitation and identification at low concentrations. The health effects related to grape and wine consumption may well be due to these poorly understood phenolic acid metabolites. This review discusses the known metabolism of each major class of wine and grape phenolics, the means to measure them, and ideas for future investigations.
This article was published in J Nutr
and referenced in Journal of Plant Biochemistry & Physiology