Modern Phytomorphology

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Environmental toxicants and health adversities: A review on interventions of phytochemicals


Adewale Allen Sokan-Adeaga*, Micheal Ayodeji Sokan-Adeaga, Eniola Deborah Sokan-Adeaga, Anastasia Nkem Oparaji, Hoseinzadeh Edris, Esther Oluwabukunola Tella, Francis Adeniyi Balogun and Muhammad Aledeh

Toxicity arising from environmental contaminants has attracted global interest in the last few decades, due to the high morbidity and mortality associated with it. Efforts have been made to combat the consequential outcomes of environmental toxicity in humans through traditional remediation techniques and therapeutic measures that have been hampered by one or more limitations. Consequently, this scenario has triggered interest in the medicinal properties of phytochemicals. Thus, this desk review gives a succinct and in-depth overview of environmental contaminants and their toxicity effects on humans. The classes of phytochemicals and their functions are investigated. This study adopted a desk review of existing literatures from scientific reports and peer-reviewed articles through triangulation of data sources. Environmental contaminants exist as organic, inorganic and radioactive substances; and are generated from natural and anthropogenic activities. Classes of toxicants considered include heavy metals, pesticides, food additives, solvents, cosmetics, combustion products and drugs of abuse. They become inimical to the ecosystem and pose danger to humans’ health when exposed to or bioaccumulated beyond the threshold limits. On the other side “Phytochemicals” are group of secondary metabolites obtained from plants with medicinal properties. These compounds include flavonoids, tannins, saponins, alkaloids, cardenoloids, terpenoids, and phytosteroids. This review corroborates the prophylactic and therapeutics efficacy of these phytochemicals as antimetastatic, anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing, anti-oxidant, anti-microbial and life-saving substances with empirical findings from several laboratories, clinical trials and epidemiologic studies. In this article, we argue that, despite phytochemicals' effectiveness in preventing and treating many diseases in humans caused by environmental toxicity, their over-exploitation, and unsustainably high consumption should be strictly avoided.


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