Blueberry polyphenols alter gut microbiota & phenolic metabolism in rats

Dennis P Cladis, Abigayle M R Simpson, Kaitlyn J Cooper, Cindy H Nakatsu, Mario G Ferruzzi, Connie M Weaver
Food Funct. 2021 Mar 21;12(6):2442-2456.

Consuming polyphenol-rich fruits and vegetables, including blueberries, is associated with beneficial health outcomes. Interest in enhancing polyphenol intakes via dietary supplements has grown, though differences in fruit versus supplement matrix on gut microbiota and ultimate phenolic metabolism to bioactive metabolites are unknown. To evaluate this, 5-month-old, ovariectomized, Sprague-Dawley rats were gavaged for 90 d with a purified extract of blueberry polyphenols (0, 50, 250, or 1000 mg total polyphenols per kg bw per d) or lyophilized blueberries (50 mg total polyphenols per kg bw per d, equivalent to 150 g fresh blueberries per day in humans). Urine, feces, and tissues were assessed for gut microbiota and phenolic metabolism. Significant dose- and food matrix-dependent effects were observed at all endpoints measured. Gut microbial populations showed increased diversity at moderate doses but decreased diversity at high doses. Urinary phenolic metabolites were primarily observed as microbially derived metabolites and underwent extensive host xenobiotic phase II metabolism. Thus, blueberry polyphenols in fruit and supplements induce differences in gut microbial communities and phenolic metabolism, which may alter intended health effects.

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