Bioflavonoid is a generic term used to describe biologically active members of the group of plant-derived compounds known as flavonoids.
Most of the health benefits attributed to citrus bioflavonoids relate to their antioxidant activity, which has been demonstrated in numerous in vitro and animal studies. Citrus bioflavonoids are derived from fruits high in vitamin C, and they appear to act synergistically with the vitamin to neutralize free radicals. Bioflavonoids’ antioxidant properties are thought to be particularly beneficial for capillary strength.
The potential heart-healthy effects of citrus fruits aren’t just due to the folate and vitamin C these fruits contain, although these are both beneficial in preventing heart disease. Citrus flavonoids helped lower both cholesterol and triglyceride levels in a study published in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” in 2011. The flavonoids tangeretin and nobiletin had the greatest effect, but sinensetin, hesperetin and naringenin also had a small effect.
Cancer Treatment Potential
Although research is still in the preliminary stages, the citrus bioflavonoid tangeretin may be able to help with the treatment of drug-resistant cancer. A study published in the “Journal of Natural Products” in 2012 found that this flavonoid helped induce cell death in drug-resistant cancer cells and made them more sensitive to chemotherapy medications.
Brain Power Protection
Many citrus bioflavonoids, including hesperetin, can cross the blood-brain barrier, thus giving them the potential to be beneficial in protecting your brain function, according to an article published in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” in 2012. A study using rats published in July 2010 in the “Journal of Medicinal Food” found that one citrus bioflavonoid, naringin, appears to help prevent a type of cell damage that leads to Alzheimer’s disease, although more research is needed to see if this benefit occurs in people, as well as in rats.
Inflammation and Circulation Improvement
Promising research involving patients with metabolic syndrome points to a potential benefit of a citrus bioflavonoid called hesperidin. A study published in “The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism” in May 2011 found that patients given hesperidin had fewer markers of inflammation in their blood and improvements in endothelial function, or the functioning of the lining of their blood cells, and thus in circulation as well. These improvements may also lower heart disease risk.
Although the optimum daily bioflavonoid intake has not been determined, some supplement advocates recommend 2,000 to 6,000 mg of citrus bioflavonoids per day. Citrus bioflavonoids appear to have very low toxicity, and appear to be safe at this dosage range. Research indicates that some flavonoids found in grapefruit juice may interfere with an enzyme that breaks down certain drugs, increasing the drugs’ activity. For this reason, people taking prescription medications should consult a doctor or pharmacist before taking bioflavonoid supplements.
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