Professor of Plant Biochemistry and Human Nutrition, Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, UK.
Alan Crozier obtained his PhD at the University of London and carried out research on plant hormones at the University of Calgary in Alberta before taking up a lectureship at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. After two years he moved to a faculty position at the University of Glasgow. As well as plant hormone biochemistry, he has studied the production of purine alkaloids in tea and coffee and in recent years has developed an interest in flavonols, flavan-3-ols, anthocyanins and other dietary flavonoids and phenolic compounds in fruits, vegetables and beverages.
Alan is currently Professor of Plant Biochemistry and Human Nutrition at the University of Glasgow. His research group, which collaborates extensively with other investigators in Europe, the USA and Japan, is using a number of approaches to investigate the bioavailability of dietary phenolics, principally those occurring in berries, teas, coffee and fruit juices. In 1999, he was awarded the title “Eminent Scientist of RIKEN” for internationally distinguished achievements in the field of plant hormones and secondary metabolites by the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN), Wako-shi, Saitama, Japan.
Healthy Eating: Bioavailability of Dietary Flavonoids and Phenolics
The role of berries, a rich source of flavonoids and phenolic compounds, as part of a healthy fruit and vegetable based diet will be discussed. Recently obtained data on the metabolism and absorption of dietary flavonoids by humans will also be presented showing that minor differences in flavonoid structure can have a major impact on bioavailability. In addition, mention will also be made of i) berry anthocyanins crossing the blood-brain barrier of birds and ii) the use of high resolution mass spectrometry for the rapid and accurate analysis phenolic compounds in berry extracts.
In Europe nutritionist recommend eating five portions of fruit and vegetables per day in order to reduce the incidence of heart disease and cancer. In the USA the recommendation is eight portions per day. Despite government campaigns, typically no more than 20% of the population attain this level of intake. This is either because of a dislike of such a diet or, increasingly, because of a busy life style. Flavonoids and phenolic compounds are phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables that contribute to their protective effects. Increased in take of these compounds, for those with a busy life style, is a practical proposition through the consumption of a number of products including teas, fruit juices, cocoa products and in particular berries such as raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, blackcurrants etc which are very rich sources of a variety of flavonoids and phenolic compounds.