Natural Products and Human Health

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643). This special issue belongs to the section "Phytochemicals and Human Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 October 2024 | Viewed by 10707

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
1. Department of Nutrition and Food Safety, West China School of Public Health, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, China
2. Food Safety Monitoring and Risk Assessment Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province, Chengdu 610041, China
Interests: natural products; function food; carotenoids; lycopene; antioxidative effects; evidence-based approach

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Phytochemicals, extracts purified from natural products, and natural products themselves, whether plant-originated or animal-originated, have been used for the promotion of health for thousands of years. Recent progress has shone lights on the biological properties of natural products. However, the precise biological target(s) and actual mode of action are often unexplored, and the traditionally recognized health effects have also been challenged by population-based studies. In this context, a Special Issue regarding the progress of mode of action as well as population-based evidence of health effects of natural products would be very interesting and of great significance to readers.

The Special Issue highlights chronic-disease-related health effects and discusses mode-of-action research and key evidence that can help address the application of bioactive compounds or biological materials from natural products to benefit human health. We aim to provide new insights towards the role of natural products in maintaining and promoting human health, especially in the prevention of chronic disease, and focus on the selection of evidence-based reviews and original laboratory research with high-quality advanced knowledge. Additionally, research that explores and derives guidance intake levels of phytochemicals and natural products is also a focus of this Special Issue.  Any other suggestions from experts in the field are more than welcome. I encourage authors to submit their original research on this attractive topic.

Dr. Jinyao Chen
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • natural products
  • phytochemicals
  • chronic diseases
  • guidance intake level
  • mode of action
  • evidence-based
  • cardiovascular diseases

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

20 pages, 3538 KiB  
Article
The Possible Synergistic Pharmacological Effect of an Oral Berberine (BBR) and Curcumin (CUR) Complementary Therapy Alleviates Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Results from a Real-Life, Routine Clinical Practice Settings-Based Study
by Ursula Wade, Domingo A. Pascual-Figal, Fazale Rabbani, Marie Ernst, Adelin Albert, Isabelle Janssens, Yvan Dierckxsens, Somia Iqtadar, Nisar A. Khokhar, Ayesha Kanwal and Amjad Khan
Nutrients 2024, 16(8), 1204; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu16081204 - 18 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1075
Abstract
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a prevalent chronic functional gastrointestinal disorder, characterised by recurrent abdominal discomfort and altered bowel movements. IBS cause a significantly negative impact on quality of life (QoL). Growing pharmacological evidence suggests that berberine (BBR) and curcumin (CUR) may mitigate [...] Read more.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a prevalent chronic functional gastrointestinal disorder, characterised by recurrent abdominal discomfort and altered bowel movements. IBS cause a significantly negative impact on quality of life (QoL). Growing pharmacological evidence suggests that berberine (BBR) and curcumin (CUR) may mitigate IBS symptoms through multiple complementary synergistic mechanisms, resulting in the attenuation of intestinal inflammation and regulation of bowel motility and gut functions. In the present observational study conducted under real-life routine clinical practice settings, 146 patients diagnosed with IBS were enrolled by general practitioner clinics and pharmacies in Belgium. For the first time, this study assessed the potential synergistic pharmacological effect of a combined oral BBR/CUR supplement (Enterofytol® PLUS, containing 200 mg BBR and 49 mg CUR) (two tablets daily for 2 months), serving as complementary therapy in the management of IBS. Following the 2-month supplementation, significant improvements were observed in the patients’ IBS severity index (IBSSI) (47.5%) and all the primary IBS symptoms, such as abdominal discomfort (47.2%), distension (48.0%), intestinal transit (46.8%), and QoL (48.1%) (all p < 0.0001). The improvement in the patients’ IBSSI was independent of age, sex, and IBS sub-types. The patients’ weekly maximum stool passage frequency decreased significantly (p < 0.0001), and the stool status normalized (p < 0.0001). The patients’ need for concomitant conventional IBS treatment decreased notably: antispasmodics by 64.0% and antidiarrhoeals by 64.6%. Minor adverse effects were reported by a small proportion (7.1%) of patients, mostly gastrointestinal. The majority (93.1%) experienced symptom improvement or resolution, with a high satisfaction rate (82.6%) and willingness to continue the supplementation (79.0%). These findings support the potential synergistic pharmacological role of BBR and CUR in IBS, and their co-supplementation may alleviate IBS symptoms and improve QoL. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products and Human Health)
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17 pages, 3195 KiB  
Article
S/O/W Emulsion with CAPE Ameliorates DSS-Induced Colitis by Regulating NF-κB Pathway, Gut Microbiota and Fecal Metabolome in C57BL/6 Mice
by Xuelin Wei, Juan Dai, Ruijia Liu, Guochao Wan, Shiyu Gu, Yuwei Du, Xinyue Yang, Lijun Wang, Yukun Huang, Pengfei Chen, Xianggui Chen, Xiao Yang and Qin Wang
Nutrients 2024, 16(8), 1145; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu16081145 - 12 Apr 2024
Viewed by 510
Abstract
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has attracted much attention worldwide due to its prevalence. In this study, the effect of a solid-in-oil-in-water (S/O/W) emulsion with Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE, a polyphenolic active ingredient in propolis) on dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis in C57BL/6 [...] Read more.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has attracted much attention worldwide due to its prevalence. In this study, the effect of a solid-in-oil-in-water (S/O/W) emulsion with Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE, a polyphenolic active ingredient in propolis) on dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis in C57BL/6 mice was evaluated. The results showed that CAPE-emulsion could significantly alleviate DSS-induced colitis through its effects on colon length, reduction in the disease activity index (DAI), and colon histopathology. The results of ELISA and Western blot analysis showed that CAPE-emulsion can down-regulate the excessive inflammatory cytokines in colon tissue and inhibit the expression of p65 in the NF-κB pathway. Furthermore, CAPE-emulsion promoted short-chain fatty acids production in DSS-induced colitis mice. High-throughput sequencing results revealed that CAPE-emulsion regulates the imbalance of gut microbiota by enhancing diversity, restoring the abundance of beneficial bacteria (such as Odoribacter), and suppressing the abundance of harmful bacteria (such as Afipia, Sphingomonas). The results of fecal metabolome showed that CAPE-emulsion restored the DSS-induced metabolic disorder by affecting metabolic pathways related to inflammation and cholesterol metabolism. These research results provide a scientific basis for the use of CPAE-emulsions for the development of functional foods for treating IBD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products and Human Health)
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27 pages, 14039 KiB  
Article
Cornflower Extract and Its Active Components Alleviate Dexamethasone-Induced Muscle Wasting by Targeting Cannabinoid Receptors and Modulating Gut Microbiota
by Ngoc Bao Nguyen, Tam Thi Le, Suk Woo Kang, Kwang Hyun Cha, Sowoon Choi, Hye-Young Youn, Sang Hoon Jung and Myungsuk Kim
Nutrients 2024, 16(8), 1130; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu16081130 - 11 Apr 2024
Viewed by 713
Abstract
Sarcopenia, a decline in muscle mass and strength, can be triggered by aging or medications like glucocorticoids. This study investigated cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) water extract (CC) as a potential protective agent against DEX-induced muscle wasting in vitro and in vivo. CC [...] Read more.
Sarcopenia, a decline in muscle mass and strength, can be triggered by aging or medications like glucocorticoids. This study investigated cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) water extract (CC) as a potential protective agent against DEX-induced muscle wasting in vitro and in vivo. CC and its isolated compounds mitigated oxidative stress, promoted myofiber growth, and boosted ATP production in C2C12 myotubes. Mechanistically, CC reduced protein degradation markers, increased mitochondrial content, and activated protein synthesis signaling. Docking analysis suggested cannabinoid receptors (CB) 1 and 2 as potential targets of CC compounds. Specifically, graveobioside A from CC inhibited CB1 and upregulated CB2, subsequently stimulating protein synthesis and suppressing degradation. In vivo, CC treatment attenuated DEX-induced muscle wasting, as evidenced by enhanced grip strength, exercise performance, and modulation of muscle gene expression related to differentiation, protein turnover, and exercise performance. Moreover, CC enriched gut microbial diversity, and the abundance of Clostridium sensu stricto 1 positively correlated with muscle mass. These findings suggest a multifaceted mode of action for CC: (1) direct modulation of the muscle cannabinoid receptor system favoring anabolic processes and (2) indirect modulation of muscle health through the gut microbiome. Overall, CC presents a promising therapeutic strategy for preventing and treating muscle atrophy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products and Human Health)
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11 pages, 953 KiB  
Article
Effectiveness of a Food Supplement Based on Glucomannan, D-Chiro-Inositol, Cinnamomum zeylanicum Blume and Inulin in Patients with Metabolic Syndrome
by Roberto Citarrella, Roberta Chianetta, Simona Amodeo, Luigi Mirarchi, Anna Licata, Maurizio Soresi, Nicola Veronese, Mario Barbagallo and Lydia Giannitrapani
Nutrients 2024, 16(2), 249; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu16020249 - 12 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1765
Abstract
Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is associated with cardiovascular risk factors, such as insulin resistance, dyslipidaemia, hypertension and abdominal obesity. Given the growing need to investigate food supplements with positive health effects, this study was aimed at testing the benefits of a specific supplement for [...] Read more.
Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is associated with cardiovascular risk factors, such as insulin resistance, dyslipidaemia, hypertension and abdominal obesity. Given the growing need to investigate food supplements with positive health effects, this study was aimed at testing the benefits of a specific supplement for people with MetS. Fifty-eight subjects with MetS and T2DM or impaired glucose tolerance assuming metformin, were randomly assigned to take a food supplement of glucomannan, D-chiro-inositol, Cinnamomum zeylanicum blume and inulin at a daily fixed dose of 4 g orally for four months. Body weight, waist circumference, plasma lipid profile (total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and triglyc-erides), plasma glycaemic profile and visceral adiposity index (VAI) were measured at baseline and after four months of supplementation. After 16 weeks, in subjects with T2DM or insulin resistance who took the supplement (+ metformin), there was a significant reduction in body weight and BMI (p < 0.0001), serum insulin (p < 0.05) and the HOMA index (p < 0.01), as well as in the lipaemic pattern, with a significant improvement in total serum cholesterol (p < 0.005), triglycerides (p < 0.03) and LDL (p < 0.02). Our study shows that the food supplement tested is a valid and safe alternative therapeutic approach in the management of MetS and all its resulting risk factors, as its efficacy has been demonstrated across anthropometric, glucose, lipid and hepatic parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products and Human Health)
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22 pages, 15275 KiB  
Article
Chemopreventive Effects of Polysaccharides and Flavonoids from Okra Flowers in Azomethane/Dextran Sulfate Sodium-Induced Murine Colitis-Associated Cancer
by Yuanle Deng, Xiaoyi Huang, Xiaotong Chen, Meng Wang, Li Tian, Heting Zhou, Wenyu Yang, Fang He and Wenya Yin
Nutrients 2023, 15(22), 4820; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15224820 - 17 Nov 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1176
Abstract
Okra flowers are a good source of polysaccharides and flavonoids, with biological activities of anti-inflammatory action and modulation of the gut microbiota. Previously, we reported that flavonoid-rich extracts from okra flowers (AFE) presented effective anti-colorectal cancer (CRC) activity in CRC cells as well [...] Read more.
Okra flowers are a good source of polysaccharides and flavonoids, with biological activities of anti-inflammatory action and modulation of the gut microbiota. Previously, we reported that flavonoid-rich extracts from okra flowers (AFE) presented effective anti-colorectal cancer (CRC) activity in CRC cells as well as xenograft models, but their role in colitis-associated cancer (CAC) is unidentified. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the effects of AFE and APE (polysaccharides extracted from okra flowers) on the CAC symptoms of azoxymethane (AOM)/dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-intervened mice. The results showed that APE and AFE exert potent efficacy in inhibiting colitis and colorectal tumorigenesis stimulated by AOM/DSS, characterized by decreased colonic shortening, DAI score, and tumor numbers. Compared with the control group, APE/AFE alleviated the microbiota dysbiosis driven by AOM/DSS. In addition, AFE elicited its anticancer activity through regulation of NFκB/IL-6/Stat3, JAK2/Stat3, MAPKs, PI3K/AKT, and Wnt/β-catenin signal transductions in AOM/DSS mice, which was consistent with a vitro model of CT26 cells, while APE treatment exhibited anticancer activity through regulation of Nrf2/IL-6, MAPKs, PI3K/AKT, and Wnt/β-catenin signal transductions in the AOM/DSS mouse model. Collectively, our studies revealed, for the first time, that flavonoids and polysaccharides from okra flowers possess the ability to attenuate colitis and colorectal tumorigenesis, with them having great potential to become promising candidates against CRC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products and Human Health)
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16 pages, 2690 KiB  
Article
A New Dietary Fiber Can Enhance Satiety and Reduce Postprandial Blood Glucose in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Cross-Over Trial
by Simou Wu, Wen Jia, Huimin He, Jun Yin, Huilin Xu, Chengyuan He, Qinqiu Zhang, Yue Peng and Ruyue Cheng
Nutrients 2023, 15(21), 4569; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15214569 - 27 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2076
Abstract
Background: Dietary fiber plays a potential role in regulating energy intake and stabilizing postprandial blood glucose levels. Soluble dietary fiber has become an important entry point for nutritional research on the regulation of satiety. Methods: this was a double-blind, randomized cross-over trial enrolling [...] Read more.
Background: Dietary fiber plays a potential role in regulating energy intake and stabilizing postprandial blood glucose levels. Soluble dietary fiber has become an important entry point for nutritional research on the regulation of satiety. Methods: this was a double-blind, randomized cross-over trial enrolling 12 healthy subjects to compare the effects of RPG (R+PolyGly) dietary fiber products (bread, powder, and capsule) and pectin administered with a standard meal on satiety, blood glucose, and serum insulin level. Results: Adding 3.8% RPG dietary fiber to bread significantly increased the volume, water content, hardness, and chewiness of bread compared to 3.8% pectin bread and white bread and significantly improved the sensory quality of bread. RPG bread had better appetite suppression effects at some time points than the other two groups and the best postprandial blood glucose lowering effects among the three groups. Administration of RPG capsules containing 5.6 g of RPG dietary fiber with meals improved satiety and reduced hunger compared to 6 g of RPG powder and 6 g of pectin, which had the greatest effect on suppressing appetite and reducing prospective food consumption. The peak level of serum glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) in the RPG capsule group (578.17 ± 19.93 pg/mL) was significantly higher than that in other groups at 0 min and 30 min after eating. RPG powder had the best effect in reducing postprandial blood glucose and increasing serum insulin levels; the total area under the curve (AUC) of serum insulin with RPG powder was higher than other groups (5960 ± 252.46 μU min/mL). Conclusion: RPG dietary fiber products can improve the sensory properties of food, reduce postprandial blood glucose, and enhance satiety, especially in capsule and powder forms. Further research on the physiological effects of RPG dietary fiber is required to facilitate its use as a functional ingredient in food products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products and Human Health)
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22 pages, 4245 KiB  
Article
Rosa Roxburghii Tratt Fruit Extract Prevents Dss-Induced Ulcerative Colitis in Mice by Modulating the Gut Microbiota and the IL-17 Signaling Pathway
by Xingjie Li, Yihan Ling, Xiaoyi Huang, Ting Zhou, Shouxun Wu, Shuwen Zhang, Heting Zhou, Yuhong Kang, Liqun Wang, Xiaomeng Wang and Wenya Yin
Nutrients 2023, 15(21), 4560; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15214560 - 27 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1605
Abstract
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a non-specific inflammatory bowel illness characterized by intestinal mucosal barrier degradation, inflammation, oxidative damage, and gut microbiota imbalances. Rosa roxburghii Tratt Fruit extract (RRTE) was extracted from Rosa roxburghii Tratt fruit, exhibiting an excellent prevention effect against UC; RRTE [...] Read more.
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a non-specific inflammatory bowel illness characterized by intestinal mucosal barrier degradation, inflammation, oxidative damage, and gut microbiota imbalances. Rosa roxburghii Tratt Fruit extract (RRTE) was extracted from Rosa roxburghii Tratt fruit, exhibiting an excellent prevention effect against UC; RRTE could prevent the damage of DSS-induced human normal colonic epithelial (NCM 460) cells, especially in cell viability and morphology, and oxidative damage. Additionally, in UC mice, RRTE could limit the intestinal mucosal barrier by increasing the expression of intestinal tight junction proteins and mucin, reducing inflammation and oxidative damage in colon tissue. More importantly, RRTE can increase the abundance of beneficial bacteria to regulate gut microbiota such as Ruminococcus, Turicibacter, and Parabacteroides, and reduce the abundance of harmful bacteria such as Staphylococcus and Shigella. Furthermore, transcriptomics of colonic mucosal findings point out that the beneficial effect of RRTE on UC could be attributed to the modulation of inflammatory responses such as the IL-17 and TNF signaling pathways. The qPCR results confirm that RRTE did involve the regulation of several genes in the IL-17 signaling pathway. In conclusion, RRTE could prevent DSS-induced damage both in vitro and in vivo. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products and Human Health)
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16 pages, 4645 KiB  
Article
Lycium barbarum Polysaccharides Improved Glucose Metabolism in Prediabetic Mice by Regulating Duodenal Contraction
by Doudou Li, Xiaoke Zhang, Yanna Fan, Yannan Zhang, Xiujuan Tao and Jianjun Yang
Nutrients 2023, 15(20), 4437; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15204437 - 19 Oct 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 963
Abstract
Lycium barbarum polysaccharides (LBPs) have been shown to exert an antiglycemic effect. Emerging evidence suggests that patients with hyperglycemia have a hypercontractility of duodenum, and targeting duodenal contraction of duodenum can be beneficial to glucose metabolism. However, it is unknown whether LBPs can [...] Read more.
Lycium barbarum polysaccharides (LBPs) have been shown to exert an antiglycemic effect. Emerging evidence suggests that patients with hyperglycemia have a hypercontractility of duodenum, and targeting duodenal contraction of duodenum can be beneficial to glucose metabolism. However, it is unknown whether LBPs can improve glucose metabolism by regulating the hypercontractility of the duodenum. Our aim was to explore the effect of LBPs on duodenal contraction in prediabetic mice and also preliminarily investigate the mechanism. The results showed that LBPs improved glucose homeostasis by decreasing the duodenal amplitude of contraction rather than frequency. Moreover, LBPs ameliorated the gut microbiota composition and the levels of short-chain fatty acids, especially acetic acid, which might bind to the receptor on neurons to regulate the contraction of the duodenum. Acetic acid was hypothesized to play a key role in the above process. Then, acetic acid was determined to exert an antiglycemic effect as expected. In conclusion, LBPs may rely on acetic acid to regulate duodenal contraction to ameliorate glucose metabolism in prediabetic mice, which provides a new therapeutic strategy to treat dysglycemia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products and Human Health)
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