Author(s): Lewandowska U, Szewczyk K, Hrabec E, Janecka A, Gorlach S
A proper diet is one of major factors contributing to good health and is directly related to general condition of the organism. Phenolic compounds are abundant in foods and beverages (fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, leguminous plants, cereals, herbs, spices, tea, coffee, wine, beer) and their pleiotropic biological activities result in numerous health beneficial effects. On the other hand, high reactivity and very large diversity in terms of structure and molecular weight renders polyphenols one of the most difficult groups of compounds to investigate, as evidenced by ambiguous and sometimes contradictory results of many studies. Furthermore, phenolics undergo metabolic transformations, which significantly change their biological activities. Here, we discuss some aspects of metabolism and absorption of phenolic compounds. On the basis of information reported in the literature as well as in summaries of clinical trials and patent applications, we also give an overview of strategies for enhancing their bioavailability.