Author(s): Skibola CF, Smith MT
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Abstract Plant flavonoids are common dietary components that have many potent biological properties. Early studies of these compounds investigated their mutagenic and genotoxic activity in a number of in vitro assays. Recently, a renewed interest in flavonoids has been fueled by the antioxidant and estrogenic effects ascribed to them. This has led to their proposed use as anticarcinogens and cardioprotective agents, prompting a dramatic increase in their consumption as dietary supplements. Unfortunately, the potentially toxic effects of excessive flavonoid intake are largely ignored. At higher doses, flavonoids may act as mutagens, pro-oxidants that generate free radicals, and as inhibitors of key enzymes involved in hormone metabolism. Thus, in high doses, the adverse effects of flavonoids may outweigh their beneficial ones, and caution should be exercised in ingesting them at levels above that which would be obtained from a typical vegetarian diet. The unborn fetus may be especially at risk, since flavonoids readily cross the placenta. More research on the toxicological properties of flavonoids is warranted given their increasing levels of consumption.
This article was published in Free Radic Biol Med
and referenced in Journal of Probiotics & Health