The extended abstracts in this report are based on presentations from the 12th Special Conference on Functional Foods for Health Promotion, cosponsored by the North American branch of the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI North America) Project Committee on Flavonoids and the American Society for Nutrition at the Experimental Biology meeting in April 2009. The theme of this year's special conference was "State-of-the-Science on Dietary Flavonoids." The conference began with a general introduction and overview of flavonoids and their presence in the diet as well as the estimated intake levels in the US population. Subsequent presentations addressed issues pertaining to study design and interpretation, mechanisms of action, and the potential health impacts related to inflammation, the vasculature, and the brain. The present summary of the current science indicates that dietary flavonoids, particularly flavanols, show promising potential for reducing cardiovascular disease risk via reduction of inflammation and improvement in vascular function. However, the existing data must be interpreted cautiously, with consideration given to the compound tested (i.e., parent or metabolite), the use of controls, and the practicality of the concentrations used. While more data are needed on the long-term health impacts of dietary flavonoids in humans, including the efficacious dose, current data indicate it may soon be possible to develop public health messages about flavonoid-rich foods.
- Functional foods
- Vascular health