Today bioflavonoids are being hailed for their health benefits. They are a group of polyphenolic plant-derived compounds and are sometimes also referred to only as flavonoids. Bioflavonoids are typically used in health supplements, medications, and many other health benefits. They are known for their powerful antioxidant properties.
Read on to find out what you need to know about bioflavonoids.
What are Bioflavonoids?
Earlier known as vitamin P, bioflavonoids are today identified and popular for their health benefits and rich antioxidant properties. They are known as polyphenolic plant-derived compounds, and there are approximately 4000 to 6000 different varieties of bioflavonoids that are known. (1)
These semi-essential nutrients are known for having potent antioxidant properties and can be useful in the treatment and prevention of many medical conditions.
What are the Health Benefits of Bioflavonoids?
As mentioned above, bioflavonoids are potent antioxidants, similar to carotenoids and the vitamins C and E. Antioxidants are what protect your cells from damage from free radicals. Free radicals are toxins present in the body that can cause damage to healthy cells. This process is known as oxidative stress, and antioxidants are known to protect against oxidative stress.
Flavonoids are not found in very high concentrations in your bloodstream. However, they may have an effect on the activity or transportation of the more potent antioxidants such as vitamin C. In fact, some bioflavonoid supplements that you find at the store will contain both flavonoids as well as vitamin C together.
Research has found that bioflavonoids can help with many health conditions. Flavonoids are known to have the potential to be used protectively and also therapeutically for the body. Bioflavonoids also influence the capability of vitamin C to get absorbed and utilized correctly by the body.
Here are some of the known health benefits of bioflavonoids:
Bioflavonoids and Action on Free Radicals
The rich antioxidant properties of bioflavonoids have been well researched and documented in many studies. In one such study (2), researchers have explained that antioxidants such as bioflavonoids function in a variety of ways, including:
- Interfering with the enzymes that produce free radicals, thus suppressing the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS)
- Scavenging free radical, meaning they deactivate the free radicals even before they cause damage to the body
- Protect and also increase the antioxidant defenses within the body
When antioxidants such as bioflavonoids stop free radicals before they cause any damage such as aging, cancer, and other diseases, it slows down the progression of the disease or can even prevent the condition from developing altogether.
Bioflavonoids and Allergy-fighting Potential
Research has shown that many types of allergic diseases respond well to bioflavonoids. (3) Some of these allergic conditions that respond well to bioflavonoids include:
It is believed that the development of any allergic disease is also linked with excessive oxidative stress in the body. Since flavonoids help scavenge free radicals and therefore, stabilize the reactive oxygen species, this leads to fewer allergic reactions.
Research has found that flavonoids, in combination with healthy dietary habits, have the potential to fight against allergic diseases. (4) However, research is still ongoing to try and figure out exactly how flavonoids work.
Other Health Benefits
Another study found how the flavonoids vicenin and orientin help repair the body after an injury from radiation. (5) The study was performed on mice. They were exposed to radiation and given a mixture that contained the bioflavonoids. These bioflavonoids proved to be highly effective at scavenging the free radicals that were produced due to radiation. The bioflavonoids were also seen to boost DNA repair in the cells that were damaged by radiation.
Bioflavonoids are also known to have some antimicrobial properties. In plants, for example, they have shown to help fight against microbial infection from different microorganisms. Bioflavonoids such as flavone, isoflavones, and apigenin, have been found to have potent antibacterial properties as well. (1)
Sources of Bioflavonoids
According to the US Department of Agriculture, adults typically consume 200-250 mg (5) of bioflavonoids every day. You can purchase supplements of bioflavonoids from your local pharmacy, but you can also get bioflavonoids from many food sources. Green and black tea is one of the largest sources of flavonoids. Other food sources rich in flavonoids include:
- Sweet potatoes
A diet rich in whole fruits and vegetables is more than enough to get a sufficient amount of these antioxidants.
Bioflavonoids have the potential to help with many health conditions such as heart disease, cancer prevention, and other diseases that are linked to oxidative stress and inflammation, including asthma and allergies.
Bioflavonoids can be found in sufficient quantities in a healthy and balanced diet.
- Kumar, S. and Pandey, A.K., 2013. Chemistry and biological activities of flavonoids: an overview. The Scientific World Journal, 2013.
- Sengupta, B., Uematsu, T., Jacobsson, P. and Swenson, J., 2006. Exploring the antioxidant property of bioflavonoid quercetin in preventing DNA glycation: a calorimetric and spectroscopic study. Biochemical and biophysical research communications, 339(1), pp.355-361.
- Casura, L.G., 2001. Sneezing & Wheezing with Seasonal Allergies: How about Some Natural Relief?. Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, (215), pp.36-36.
- Oapublishinglondon.com. (2019). Flavonoids as complementary medicine for allergic diseases: current evidence and future prospects.OA Alternative Medicine. [online] Available at: http://www.oapublishinglondon.com/article/589 [Accessed 3 Oct. 2019].
- Satyamitra, M., Mantena, S., Nair, C.K.K., Chandna, S. and Dwarakanath, B.S., 2014. The antioxidant flavonoids, orientin and vicenin enhance repair of radiation-induced damage. SAJ Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 1(1), p.1.
- Linus Pauling Institute. (2019). Flavonoids. [online] Available at: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/flavonoids#food-sources [Accessed 3 Oct. 2019].