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The effect of dietary phytochemicals on nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) activation: a systematic review of human intervention trials

Clifford, Tom and Acton, Jarred P and Cocksedge, Stuart P and Davies, Kelly A Bowden and Bailey, Stephen J (2021) The effect of dietary phytochemicals on nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) activation: a systematic review of human intervention trials. Molecular Biology Reports, 48. pp. 1745-1761. ISSN 0301-4851

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Abstract

We conducted a systematic review of human trials examining the effects of dietary phytochemicals on Nrf2 activation. In accordance with the PRISMA guidelines, Medline, Embase and CAB abstracts were searched for articles from inception until March 2020. Studies in adult humans that measured Nrf2 activation (gene or protein expression changes) following ingestion of a phytochemical, either alone or in combination were included. The study was pre-registered on the Prospero database (Registration Number: CRD42020176121). Twenty-nine full-texts were retrieved and reviewed for analysis; of these, eighteen were included in the systematic review. Most of the included participants were healthy, obese or type 2 diabetics. Study quality was assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration Risk of Bias Assessment tool. Twelve different compounds were examined in the included studies: curcumin, resveratrol and sulforaphane were the most common (n = 3 each). Approximately half of the studies reported increases in Nrf2 activation (n = 10); however, many were of poor quality and had an unclear or high risk of bias. There is currently limited evidence that phytochemicals activate Nrf2 in humans. Well controlled human intervention trials are needed to corroborate the findings from in vitro and animal studies.

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