Botanicals in human nutrition: focus on bioactive food-derived compounds on gut microbiota in gastrointestinal inflammatory diseases

1 Centro di Ricerca in Nutrizione Umana, Università Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy
2 UOC di Nutrizione Clinica, Dipartimento di Scienze Mediche e Chirurgiche Endocrino-Metaboliche, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, Rome, Italy
3 Corso di Laurea in Dietistica, Università Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy
4 Dipartimento di Scienze Biotecnologiche di Base, Cliniche Intensivologiche e Perioperatorie, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy
5 Dipartimento di Scienze di Laboratorio e Infettivologiche, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, Rome, Italy



The interest of botanicals in human nutrition is a growing and promising field. However, these substances are still neglected or poorly understood in clinical practice. Since they are metabolized by the gut microbiota, the rationale for their effectiveness could rely not only on their nutritional properties but also on their prebiotic effects. By the way, an interesting field of research is the gastrointestinal tract. We conducted a literature review investigating the role of several nutraceuticals in chronic gut inflammatory and irritable diseases. We carry out a research on Pubmed – using MeSH terms – on the role of nutraceuticals such as Punica granatum (pomegranate), Ribes nigrum (blackcurrant), Vaccinium myrtillus (blueberry), Vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry), Olea europea, Aronia melanocarpa (chokeberry), and inulin. We found preclinical and clinical studies confirming a striking potential role of these nutraceuticals in reducing gut inflammation in such conditions through gut eubiosis restoration. However, their effects could not be easily reached only by the food source assumption due to the large food amount needed to reach their therapeutic dosages. Thus, it appears useful to use the dry extract of fruits (or plants) in food for special medical purposes to ensure efficacy and long-term adherence to therapy. Further studies on clinical practice are warranted to confirm this preliminary evidence.

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Publication history:

Submission date: 12th Jul, 2023
Revised on: 1st Aug, 2023
Accepted on: 30th Aug, 2023
Published online: 4th Sep, 2023

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