Romani, Annalisa and Lattanzio, Vincenzo and Quideau, Stéphane and Campesi, Ilaria and Romani, Annalisa and Marino, Maria and Franconi, Flavia (2014) Phenolic compounds from a sex-gender perspective. In: Recent advances in polyphenol research, Wiley, Vol. 4. ISBN 9781118329672. eISBN 9781118329634. Book Section.
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Food and beverage intake is the only behavior that animals, including human beings, must continually repeat in order to provide energy and chemical materials to the body. Recent epidemiological findings are poised to usher the science of nutrition into in a new era in which the consumption of specific whole foods, now called functional foods, is strongly associated with reduced risk of chronic diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular diseases. These findings have led to the hypothesis that specific food components, in particular phenolic compounds, interact with the human organism at the organ, cellular, and molecular levels to trigger a preventive action against chronic diseases. Numerous bioactive compounds have been identified and isolated from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and are now present in all drugstores as dietary supplements to the usual intake of amino acids, vitamin, botanical compounds, and so on, although much basic information about their action in humans remains limited. For example, no stratification by sex has been performed in studies of their effects. Although human beings are mainly made up of men and women, in recent years it has become accepted that both biological sex and gender are prominent players in health and medicine. Until the last decade of the 20th century, research on women was neglected and results obtained in men were directly translated to women, both in medicine and in nutrition. Different strategies have been developed in order to maintain male and female body homeostasis, implying that there are important differences in the bioavailability, metabolism, distribution, and elimination of bioactive compounds in males and in females. This article will review some of these differences underlying the possibility that plant-derived phenolic compounds can differently influence the health of male and female individuals.
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