Title

Phytochemicals as Prebiotics and Biological Stress Inducers

ORCiD

David M. Ojcius: 0000-0003-1461-4495

Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Trends in Biochemical Sciences

ISSN

09680004

Volume

45

Issue

6

DOI

10.1016/j.tibs.2020.02.008

First Page

462

Last Page

471

Publication Date

6-1-2020

Abstract

© 2020 Elsevier Ltd Phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables produce health benefits, but questions remain regarding their bioavailability, molecular targets, and mechanism of action. Here, we address these issues by considering the prebiotic and biological properties of phytochemicals. A fraction of phytochemicals consumed orally passes through the gut lumen, where it modulates the composition of the gut microbiota and maintains intestinal integrity. Phytochemicals and microbiota-derived metabolites that are absorbed by the organism comprise compounds that, at low doses, induce stress resistance mechanisms, including autophagy, DNA repair, and expression of detoxifying and antioxidant enzymes. We propose that these mechanisms improve cellular and organ function and can account for the promiscuous bioactivities of phytochemicals, despite their limited bioavailability and extremely varied chemical structures.

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