Nanotechnology is an innovative approach that has potential applications in nutraceutical research. Phytochemicals have promising potential for maintaining and promoting health, as well as preventing and potentially treating some diseases. However, the generally low solubility, stability, bioavailability and target specificity, together with the side effects seen when used at high levels, have limited their application. Indeed, nanoparticles can increase solubility and stability of phytochemicals, enhance their absorption, protect them from premature degradation in the body and prolong their circulation time. Moreover, these nanoparticles exhibit high differential uptake efficiency in the target cells (or tissue) over normal cells (or tissue) through preventing them from prematurely interacting with the biological environment, enhanced permeation and retention effect in disease tissues and improving their cellular uptake, resulting in decreased toxicity, In this review, we outline the commonly used biocompatible and biodegradable nanoparticles including liposomes, emulsions, solid lipid nanoparticles, nanostructured lipid carriers, micelles and poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) nanoparticles. We then summarize studies that have used these nanoparticles as carriers for epigallocatechin gallate, quercetin, resveratrol and curcumin administration to enhance their aqueous solubility, stability, bioavailability, target specificity and bioactivities.
- Biocompatible and biodegradable