Background: Phytochemicals are obtained from various plants and used for the treatment of diseases as both traditional and modern medicines. Poor bioavailability of phytochemicals is a major concern in applying phytochemicals as a therapeutic agent. It is, therefore, necessary to understand the metabolism and pharmacokinetics of phytochemicals for its implication as a therapeutic agent.
Methods: We derived articles on the metabolism of phytochemicals from the PubMed database. The articles were classified into the digestion, absorption, metabolism, excretion, toxicity, and bioavailability of phytochemicals and the effect of gut microbiota on the metabolism of phytochemicals.
Results: The metabolism of each phytochemical is largely dependent on the individual's digestive ability, membrane transporters, metabolizing enzymes and gut microbiota. Further, the form of the phytochemical and genetic make-up of the individual greatly influences the metabolism of phytochemicals.
Conclusion: The metabolism of phytochemicals is mostly depended on the form of phytochemicals and individual-specific variations in the metabolism of phytochemicals. Understanding the metabolism and pharmacokinetics of phytochemicals might help in applying plant-based medicines for the treatment of various diseases.