The prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is rising worldwide, remaining the major cause of death in developed countries. Polyphenols have been shown to have cardioprotective properties; however, their impact on iron bioavailability and potential impact on other aspects of health is unclear. A systematic review was undertaken to evaluate the current status of the relationship between habitual polyphenol consumption, iron status, and circulating biomarkers of CVD. Following the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) 2009 guidelines, searches were performed across 5 electronic databases (PubMed, Cochrane Library, Scopus, Web of Science, and CINAHL) to identify randomized controlled trials which investigated the effects of polyphenol consumption on inflammatory markers, serum lipid profile, and iron absorption and bioavailability. In total, 1174 records were identified, with only 7 studies meeting the inclusion criteria. The selected studies involved 133 participants and used a variety of foods and supplements, including olive oil and cherries, rich in polyphenols including hydroxytyrosol, quercetin, and resveratrol, as well as catechin enriched drinks. The duration of the studies ranged from between 56 and 145 days, with total polyphenolic content of the food items and supplements ranging from 45 to 1015 mg (per 100 g). Polyphenols did not appear to interfere with iron status, and most studies reported improvements in inflammatory markers and lipid profile. While these results are promising, the limited number of studies and considerable heterogeneity across the interventions support the need for more extensive trials assessing the relationship between polyphenol intake, iron bioavailability, and CVD risk.
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- iron status