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Once absorbed, flavonoids are rapidly metabolized to form various metabolites. Therefore, in vitro studies that use high concentrations and parent compounds (rather than the metabolites) may not be physiologically relevant. Additionally, results of studies employing animal models may not be directly applicable to humans. Analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2002, a cross-sectional study of US adults, indicated that total flavonoid intake was inversely related to serum concentration of CRP (83).

Similar inverse associations were found for flavonol, anthocyanidin, and isoflavone intakes as well as intake of select individual flavonoids, including quercetin, kaempferol, genistein, diadzein, malvidin, and peonidin. All of these associations were independent of fruit and vegetable consumption (83). This study found consumption of flavonoid-rich apples was associated with a significantly reduced risk of type 2 diabetes (84), but such an effect might not necessarily be attributed to flavonoids.

Tea also contains high levels of flavonoids, and regular consumption of tea may help prevent chronic diseases associated with inflammation, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer (see the article on Tea). Other phytochemicals, namely curcumin and garlic-derived compounds, have been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory properties, mainly in cell culture or animal studies (see the articles on Curcumin and Garlic).

Additionally, a high dose of the spice, ginger, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects in rats (86). Large-scale, randomized controlled trials are needed to determine the effects of these phytochemicals on inflammatory processes or diseases in humans.

It is also obtained in the diet from tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, and other sources. Results from studies in cell cultures and animal models have shown the compound has anti-inflammatory properties (reviewed in 87), but human data are extremely limited. Animal and human studies have found that various forms of physical activity decrease both acute and chronic inflammation, as measured by reductions in CRP and certain pro-inflammatory cytokines (89).

However, excessive exercise can increase systemic inflammation. Several studies have shown that moderate alcohol consumption decreases risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as all-cause mortality (see the article on Alcoholic Beverages).

Further, smoking cessation has been reported to decrease CRP and other biomarkers of inflammation (92, 93). Written in August 2010 by: Victoria J.

Linus Pauling Institute Oregon State University Reviewed in August 2010 by: Adrian F. Associate Professor Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics Principal Investigator, Linus Pauling Institute Oregon State University This article was underwritten, in part, by a grant from Bayer Consumer Care AG, Basel, Switzerland.

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