by Gary Pepper M.D. | Aug 23, 2008 | general health & nutrition, health
It seems as if â€œbioflavonoidsâ€ is a popular buzzword of the millennium. But what are bioflavonoids and why are they helpful?
Bioflavonoids are a group of naturally occurring plant compounds, which act primarily as plant pigments and antioxidants. They exhibit a host of biological activities, most notably for their powerful antioxidant properties.
Bioflavonoids work with other antioxidants to offer a system of protection. Numerous studies have shown their unique role in protecting vitamin C from oxidation in the body, thereby allowing the body to reap more benefits from vitamin C.
Bioflavonoids are present in all botanical supplement products and foods. In fact, many medicinal herbs owe their curative actions to the bioflavonoids they contain. Besides the important antioxidant effects, bioflavonoids help the body maintain health and function in many ways. They have been shown to be anti-mutagenic, anti-carcinogenic, anti-aging, and promote structure and function in the circulatory system.
BioflavonoidsÂ Health Benefits
The main health benefits of bioflavonoids fall into two categories: health-promoting effects and therapeutic effects. The health-promoting effects include better eyesight, improved cardiovascular health, increased capillary strength, improved structure of connective tissues and appearance of skin, and a stronger immune system.
Bioflavonoids also offer the health-promoting effect of lowering the risk of some diseases, such as atherosclerosis, cancer, arthritis, and gastrointestinal disorders. The therapeutic applications include treating a variety of diseases and disorders. Several of these are coronary heart disease, allergies, inflammation, hemorrhoids, respiratory diseases, viral infections, some types of cancer, and peptic ulcers.
Different bioflavonoids tend to have different health effects on the body. Some of the common bioflavonoids and their benefits are outlined below.
- Quercetin’s primary use is for the relief of allergies and inflammation. In scientific experiments, it was found to be an effective inhibitor of histamine release from mast cells – the cause of allergic reactions.
- Pycnogenolâ„¢ has cardiovascular benefits, boosts the immune system, helps improve the appearance of the skin, helps varicose veins, provides relief from arthritic pain, and helps reduce inflammation.
- Grape seed extract has beneficial effects on the circulatory system. Some of these include improvements to cardiovascular health, protective antioxidant effects, improved eye health, and anti-inflammatory action.
- Green tea extract plays a beneficial role in protecting against certain infections, improving cardiovascular health, promoting better dental hygiene, and offering protection from the development of some types of cancer.
The most recent scientific breakthroughs confirm that these powerful nutrients are an important part of a healthy diet. Studies from around the world support the fact that diets high in bioflavonoids are associated with lower incidences of most diseases. Along with other phytonutrients, the health benefits of bioflavonoids are one reason why the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Surgeon Generalâ€™s office advocate the intake of several servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Powerful, health-promoting nutrients from nature â€“ the virtues of plants will never cease to amaze us.