Phytochemistry Reviews

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 313–344

Phenolic phytochemicals and bone


DOI: 10.1007/s11101-007-9078-9

Cite this article as:
Habauzit, V. & Horcajada, MN. Phytochem Rev (2008) 7: 313. doi:10.1007/s11101-007-9078-9


Concerning the prevention of osteoporosis, recognized as a major public health problem, nutrition may appear as an alternative strategy for optimizing health skeleton. The importance of adequate calcium and vitamin D intakes for bone health is now well documented. But, in addition to essential macro- and micronutrients, human diet contains a complex array of non-nutrient natural bioactive molecules, namely the phytochemicals that may act and protect bone. Among phytochemicals, emphasis has been so far placed upon polyphenols. Indeed, subsequent epidemiological studies have suggested associations between long-term consumption of diets rich in polyphenols and protection against chronic diseases. With respect to human health, flavonoids are the most extensively studied polyphenols. These compounds may be partly responsible for some of the positive links found between fruit and vegetables intake and higher bone mineral density in adults and children. However, no long-term intervention studies in humans have investigated the effect of specific phenolic phytochemicals on the prevention of bone loss in postmenopausal women, except for phytoestrogens (soy isoflavones, lignans). Besides, in animal models of postmenopausal osteoporosis, consumption of some dietary flavonoids has been shown to prevent ovariectomy-induced bone loss. Finally, few in vitro experiments with bone cells have reported cellular and molecular mechanisms of phytochemicals involved in bone metabolism. To date, investigations providing some evidence of a positive impact of some phytochemicals on bone metabolism are accumulating but further studies, notably clinical trials, are needed to explore the various bioactivities offered by such compounds. Anyway, it can be postulated that increased consumption of plant-derived foods, especially fruit and vegetables, may be positive in the prevention of osteoporosis.

Key words

Bone metabolism Flavonoids Osteoporosis Phenolics Phytonutrients  

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UMR 1019 Unité de Nutrition HumaineINRA de TheixSt. Genes-ChampanelleFrance

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