Flavonoids as bioactive ingredients against cardiovascular diseases: a risk benefit evaluation

Dietary flavonoids are present in fruit and vegetables. One of these is quercetin, which is for example, present in apples and red onions. We have observed possible beneficial effects of quercetin on biomarkers for cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Now, we also want to investigate the possible health effects of other flavonoids.


Epidemiological studies show an association of dietary quercetin intake with a reduction in cardiovascular disease risk, suggesting that quercetin is a beneficial compound. Previous research has shown that quercetin lowers plasma free fatty acid levels an triglycerides in rats. Free fatty acids and triglycerides are important risk factors in cardiovascular complications associated with overweight and obesity. Since the liver has an important role in lipid metabolism, we want to investigate whether quercetin, and other flavonoids can mediate changes in hepatic fatty acid metabolism and whether this can be linked to possible beneficial health effects by assessing biomarkers for cardiovascular disease. Also possible adverse effects will be investigated.


The aims of this project are to investigate whether quercetin and other flavonoids can mediate changes in hepatic fatty acid metabolism, which can be linked to a possible beneficial health effect on biomarkers for CVD.  In addition, effects of high doses on liver toxicity are studied. The ultimate aim is to perform a risk-benefit assessment for high level flavonoid intake using the outcomes obtained.

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A mouse dietary intervention study with supplementation of different flavonoids is performed, to study the effects of the flavonoids on gene expression and on several biomarkers for CVD. Gene expression will be analysed to identify the main responsive pathways for the beneficial effects of flavonoids. At the end of the project, a risk-benefit assessment will be made for high level flavonoid intake using the outcomes obtained and evaluating potential adverse effects of high level flavonoid supplementation against the positive beneficial effects on CVD-risks.

 This project is done in collaboration with Toxicology at Wageningen University and with RIKILT-Institute of Food Safety.

MSc Thesis or internship

If you want to participate in this research for your thesis or internship, please contact: evert.vanschothorst@wur.nl