Emerging epidemiological evidence is increasingly pointing to the beneficial effects of fruits and vegetables in managing chronic and infectious diseases. These beneficial effects are now believed to be due to the constituent phenolic phytochemicals having antioxidant activity. Cranberry, like other fruits, is also rich in phenolic phytochemicals such as phenolic acids, flavonoids and ellagic acid. Consumption of cranberry has been historically been linked to lower incidences of urinary tract infection and now has been shown to have a capacity to decrease peptic ulcer caused by Helicobacter pylori. Isolated compounds from cranberry have been shown to reduce the risk of CVD and cancer. Functional phenolic antioxidants from cranberry such as ellagic acid have been well documented to have antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic functionality. Even though many benefits have been associated with phytochemicals from cranberry, such as ellagic acid, their mechanism of action is still not very well understood. Emerging research exploring the mechanism of action of these phyto-chemicals from cranberry usually follows a reductionist approach, and is often focused on the disease or pathological target. These approaches to understanding the mechanism of action of phytochemicals have limitations as they are unable to explain the overall preventive mode of action of phenolic phytochemicals. The current proposed mechanisms of action of these phenolic phytochemicals have also overemphasized the antioxidant activity of phenolic phytochemicals associated with free radical quenching capacity. This mechanism of action is unable to explain the nonantioxidant (free radical scavenging) role, as well as sometimes contradictory modes of action of phenolic phytochemicals across different species, such as being protective in eukaryotes while being inhibitory to prokaryotes. The often promising results seen at laboratory scale have very rarely been successful at clinical levels in terms of seeing the beneficial effects of these phenolic phytochemicals. All these limitations of the present understanding strongly suggest the involvement of phenolic phytochemicals much earlier in the cellular response towards maintaining antioxidant stress response. A current line of investigation after a newly proposed integrated model suggests the involvement of phenolic phytochemicals in critically regulating energy metabolism of the cell by stimulating the PPP in order to supply the cell with reducing equivalents necessary for the efficient functioning of antioxidant response. A coupling of the proline biosynthesis with PPP has been suggested, which can further stimulate the PPP. Proline can also function as an alternative reductant to participate in the oxidative phosphorylation for ATP synthesis. This would effectively reduce the cellular needs for NADH, which could contribute to reducing oxidative stress as a result of reduced oxidative burst in the mitochondria. This model emphasizes the structure and function aspect of phenolic phytochemicals in their ability to cause hyper-acidification, alter membrane permeability to ions, and interact with the membrane proteins and receptors to activate many signaling pathways which can be responsible for their beneficial mechanism of action in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Recent evidence suggests the ability of whole foods in being more effective in managing human health compared to individual phenolic phytochemicals. This suggests that the profile of phenolic phytochemicals determines the functionality of the phenolic phytochemical as a result of synergistic interaction of constituent phenolic phytochemicals. Solid-state bioprocessing using food grade fungi, as well as cranberry phenolic synergies with functional biphenyls such as ellagic acid and rosmarinic acid, and other fruit extracts have helped to advance these concepts. These strategies could be further explored to enhance cranberry and cranberry products with functional phytochemicals and further improve their functionality.
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Acai, Maqui And Many Other Popular Berries That Will Change Your Life And Health. Berries have been demonstrated to be some of the healthiest foods on the planet. Each month or so it seems fresh research is being brought out and new berries are being exposed and analyzed for their health giving attributes.