Bioflavonoids, are phytochemicals, or chemicals found in plant sources. The reason that foods like fruits and other plants have diverse colors is due to the species of bioflavonoids that are present in them. The body cannot produce bioflavonoids, they must be supplied in the diet. Bioflavonoids were discovered by Albert Szent-Györgyi, in the 1930s. Bioflavonoids are not vitamins, however the vitamin P is an other name for them.
Flavonoids are potentially important as antioxidants, antivirals, and anti-inflammatories. Powerful antioxidant effect, they help to avoid cell damage by unstable oxygen molecules called free radicals. Capillary blood vessels, acts synergistically with vitamin C to protect the structure. Atherosclerosis, is one condition that bioflavonoids can help avoid. Bioflavonoids are important for proper absorption of Vitamin C. Researches have proven their ability to enhance and prolong the action of vitamin C. Although all bioflavonoids have similar structures, their functions are different.
Different Types Bioflavonoids;
• Citrus Bioflavonoids
Citrus bioflavonoids are natural pigments found in citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, lemons and tangerines. Clinical trials has demonstrated the effects of citrus bioflavonoids in treating ailments of the blood vessels and lymph system, including chronic venous insufficiency, hemorrhoids, leg ulcers, nosebleeds, easy bruising and lymphedema. Citrus bioflavonoids can decrease the risk of different cancers, including cancers of the stomach, prostate, breast, lung, pancreatic and colon cancers. Also, citrus bioflavonoids are necessary for the effective utilization of Vitamin C by the body. There is a mutual relationship between Vitamin C and citrus bioflavonoids as they work to mutually increase the action of each other. Daily dose; 2000-6000 mg.
Quercetin is a plant based chemical known as a flavanoid. Is found in high quantity in apple skins, onions, tea, and red wine. It is one of the most biologically active bioflavonoids. Quercetin acts as a bioavailability enhancer for many other substances by slowing their metabolic conversion to other substances. Epidemiological studies suggest quercetin consumption is associated with reduced risk of various types of cancer, and heart disease.
Quercetin works as an antioxidant by scavenging damaging particles in the body known as free radicals. Quercetin has demonstrated significant activity in helping with inflammation of direct activity of several initial pathways that can lead to an inflammatory response. Quercetin shows antiinflammatory action by its direct antioxidant action and inhibition of inflammatory mediators and enzymes, such as lipoxygenase. Its anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce the pain of arthritis or other inflammatory conditions.
Quercetin is “one of the strongest anti-cancer agents known.”, according to Terence Leighton, Prof. of biochemistry at the “University of California at Berkeley“. One clinical trial of individuals with a potent inherited tendency to develop colorectal cancer found that the combination of curcumin and quercetin reduced the number and size of precancerous rectal tumors.
Quercetin has a strong affinity for mast cells and basophils. In test tubes, quercetin prevents immune cells from releasing histamines, chemicals that cause allergic reactions. Quercetin inhibits production of histamine by stabilizing basophils and mast cells. This means that it can be helpful for allergies, asthma, and hay fever.
Oral dose of 500 mg three times per day clinical practice. Quercetin has been safely used in amounts up to 500 mg twice daily for 12 weeks. If the water-soluble quercetin chalcone is used the dose is 250 mg 3 times daily. Quercetin absorption is maximized by combining it with bromelain, a pineapple extract proven to enhance digestion of nutrients.
• Green Tea Polyphenols
The polyphenols found in tea are known as catechins. The key catechins in green tea are epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG), and epicatechin (EC) and Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Various researches have showed green tea polyphenols preventative and inhibitory activity against tumor formation and growth. Green tea contains between 30 and 40 % of water-extractable polyphenols, while black tea contains between 3 and 10 %.
Findings for the medicinal effects of polyphenols in green tea for the prevention of chronic diseases such as different types of cancer, heart disease, and neurodegenerative diseases is advancing. A study that followed 8,500 Japanese men and women for 12 years found that men who drank at least 4 cups /day of green tea had a risk of death from coronary heart disease that was only 58 percent that of men who drank 1.3 cups/day or less. Animal-based studies, mice bred to develop Alzheimer’s disease developed up to 54 % less beta-amyloid buildup in their brains when they were given daily injections EGCg. Beta-amyloid plaques are considered to be a major factor of the brain cell death and tissue loss seen in Alzheimer’s disease.
Some researches show that the polyphenols most prevalent in green tea are far more potent in suppressing free radicals than vitamins C or E. According to scientists at the University of Kansas, the antioxidant capacity of EGCG is approximately 100 times greater than that of vitamin C and 25 times greater than that of vitamin E in protecting DNA from the kind of free radical damage that is thought to increase the risk of cancer. Anti-oxidant action protects cells from lipid peroxidation and DNA damage induced by reactive free radicals.
Green tea polyphenol capsules are usually equivalent to five or more cups of tea. For a green tea extract standardized for 80 % polyphenols and 55 % epigallocatechin gallate, a daily dose of 300 to 400 mg green tea extracts is recommended. The generally used dose of green tea is based on the amount consumed in Asian countries, providing 240-320 mg (three cups a day) of the active ingredients polyphenols.
• Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins (OPC)
Grape seed and pine bark extracts are considered the important sources of proanthocyanidins. Pine bark extract contains 80-85% OPCs while grape seed extract contains 90-95% OPCs. Among basic effects is the ability to strengthen the blood vessels, seek out free radicals, and slow down the destruction of collagen. Proanthocyanidins appear to be particularly effectual in neutralizing highly reactive hydroxyl and singlet oxygen radicals.
Proanthocyanidins, have been shown to increase capillary strength in patients with diabetes and hypertension. Individuals with high blood pressure have weakened capillaries that allow fluid to pass through the walls and into the tissues quite easily. French scientists have found that OPCs (grape seed) increase capillary resistance by 25% in individuals with high blood pressure and diabetes.
Proanthocyanidins, may help slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy. By Chinese researchers, grape seed proanthocyanidin had been reported to be effectual in treating diabetic nephropathy. Also in some studies, OPCs have been shown to relieve eyestrain in computer users, to decrease retinopathy among patients with diabetes, and to improve the function of the retina in nearsighted people.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 71 participant found that OPCs (grape seed), taken at a dose of 100 mg three times daily, significantly improved symptoms, including swelling, and leg discomfort. Over a time of one month, 75 percent of the subjects treated with OPCs developed quite. In other double-blind study, French scientists reported that women with chronic venous insufficiency had reduced symptoms using 150 mg per day.
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 124 men with moderate erectile dysfunction were randomized to take pine bark extract and arginine (Prelox) or placebo for six months. The participants who took Prelox experienced development in their condition over placebo. A 2003 Bulgarian trial on 40 men aged 25-45 concluded that oral use of arginine in combination with pycnogenol causes a significant development in sexual function in men with erectile dysfunction. This study published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy.
Oligomeric proanthocyanidins support wholesome immune responses. Researchers at the “University of Arizona” found that OPCs (Pycnogenol) helps build resistance to cancer by as much as 40 to 50% by boosting the body’s first line of cancer defense, the immune system’s NK (natural killer) cells. Dose of general use; 50 m of pine bark or grape seed. For maximum benefit; 150-300 mg/day.