Modulation of intestinal epithelium homeostasis by extra virgin olive oil phenolic compounds
Dietary habits have been strongly linked to the maintenance of intestinal epithelium homeostasis, whose alteration may contribute to the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases and cancer. Polyphenols are among those dietary components suggested to be beneficial for gut health. Within a balanced Mediterranean type diet, a good portion of ingested polyphenols comes from olives and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). Most of them reach the intestine, where they may be directly absorbed or metabolized under absorption. Others undergo an extensive gastrointestinal biotransformation, producing various metabolites that retain the potential beneficial effect of the parent compounds, or exert a more efficient biological action themselves. Ingested EVOO polyphenols (EVOOP) and their metabolites will be particularly concentrated in the intestinal lumen, where they might exert a significant local action. In this review we summarize the few studies that investigated the effect of EVOOP at the intestinal level, focusing on the possible mechanism of action in relation to their interaction with the microbiota, and their ability to potentially modulate the oxidative status of the intestinal epithelial layer, inflammation and immune response.