Mostly found in the rind of citrus fruits as well as in black currants and rose hips, bioflavonoids are actually vitamin P that enhances the action of vitamin C to strengthen the immune system, support blood circulation, treat viruses, allergies, arthritis and many other inflammatory conditions.
Bioflavonoids are available in the form of herbal supplements, but it’s always healthier to get vitamin P from natural sources than through supplementation. Read on to find out what bioflavonoids are, their health benefits, natural sources, and side effects of flavonoid supplementation.
What are bioflavonoids and their functions?
Often referred to as flavonoids, bioflavonoids are powerful antioxidants found in many fruits, veggies, seeds, and herbs. Some dry beans, dark chocolate, and green tea contain bioflavonoids as well. These are a big family of more than 5,000 hydroxylated polyphenolic compounds carrying out critical functions in plants, including modulating cell growth, combating environmental stresses, and drawing pollinating insects.
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Bioflavonoids are divided into a few categories, such as anthocyanidins, quercetin, isoflavones, flavans, flavonols, flavanones, genistein, and flavones.
Bioflavonoids also include hesperidin, citrus flavonoids, and rutin. The more colorful a fruit or veggie is, the higher amounts of bioflavonoids it contains. Flavonoids help to regulate cell signaling, positively impacting the human body.
Moreover, they boast antithrombogenic, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, neuroprotective, and anticancer properties.
What are the best health benefits of bioflavonoids?
Bioflavonoids possess a plethora of powerful properties and they can help to ward off many diseases and conditions. There are many studies done to prove the health benefits of bioflavonoids and here are some of the best ones:
1.Regulate high blood pressure and reduce a stroke risk
Hypertension is the leading risk factor for stroke. Flavonoids help to keep high blood pressure at bay and thus lower your risk of stroke and heart attack.
A research done in the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, showed that individuals with high blood pressure had the decreased levels of circulating flavonoid, which means that a regular consumption of foods high in flavonoids could lower the rates of hypertension.
Moreover, reducing high blood pressure through frequent consumption of flavonoids can reduce the risk of the end organ damage, which is one of the signs of secondary hypertension.
A research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2010 demonstrated that bioflavonoids, including anthocyanins, and some flavan-3-ol and flavone compounds may help to prevent hypertension.
2.Ease the symptoms of allergies
Quercetin is a flavonoid known for its great anti-allergic properties. Citrus fruit, onions, buckwheat, and pineapple are among the richest sources of quercetin.
Apart from having powerful anti-inflammatory abilities, quercetin is considered as a natural antihistamine that helps to alleviate the effects of seasonal food allergies and allergy symptoms. Additionally, an increased consumption of quercetin rich foods can aid in relieving the symptoms of skin conditions and even asthma.
Quercetin can help to control the histamine release from certain immune cells, easing the allergy symptoms, such as watery eyes, coughs, runny noses, indigestion, and hives.
3.Treat cold sores
Cold sores are tricky to deal with as they’re usually caused by the herpes simplex virus. This is a serious infection that can lead to an outbreak of numerous cold sores, if left untreated.
Cold sores are highly contagious and affect other parts of the body, particularly the genitals and eyes. Vitamin C combined with a range of bioflavonoids help to promote the healing of cold sores.
A scientific experiment posted in Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, and Oral Pathology, revealed that individuals with herpes infections who took a placebo or 200 mg of flavonoids plus 200 mg of vitamin C, 3 to 5 times per day experienced different results.
Unlike the placebo, flavonoids and vitamin C decreased the duration of the symptoms of cold sores by 57 percent. As a result, bioflavonoids can help to treat herpes simplex virus and cold sores in a natural way.
4.Strengthen the capillaries and heal bruises
When the blood vessels break because of force or injury and leak the blood into the areas under the skin, bruises occur. Swelling, skin discoloration, and skin pain are the major signs of a bruise.
Bioflavonoids, when combined with vitamin C, help to reduce the likelihood of bruises and speed up the healing process. Flavonoids help to strengthen the capillaries, warding off or treating bruises. Citrus flavonoids are also known for increasing the effectiveness and antioxidant properties of vitamin C.
5.Relieve the symptoms of hepatitis
The inflammation of the liver, or hepatitis, is characterized with a range of complex symptoms. Found in matcha green tea, catechin is a flavonoid that has been proven to help patients suffering from chronic hepatitis as well as acute viral hepatitis.
According to the Michigan Medicine University, a recommended dosage of catechin supplement for relieving the symptoms of hepatitis is 500 to 750 mg 3 times per day.
Related: All You Need to Know about Hepatitis and Hepatitis C
6.Maintain excellent heart health
A growing number of studies done in the U.S. and Europe have shown the relationship between cardiovascular disease and some measures of the bioflavonoid intake.
The increased consumption of each bioflavonoid subclass helps to significantly reduce the risk of heart diseases.
The statistics show that more than 75 percent of people worldwide suffer from hemorrhoids.
The condition is triggered by the high pressure on the veins of the rectum and anus. Hemorrhoids are uncomfortable, painful, and can cause other health issues. Eating foods rich in bioflavonoids on a daily basis help to heal and prevent hemorrhoids along with constipation.
Both young and old people can experience varicose veins. Affecting more women than men, varicose veins aren’t easy to treat when you eat unhealthy food.
The condition happens when the veins start stretching and their valves stop working properly anymore, letting blood flow backward and pool in the veins. Many researchers claim that a healthy diet – that is high in flavonoids – can help you to fix the issue.
The type of bioflavonoid, rutin helps to support the vein walls, ensuring they work properly. Some studies revealed that bioflavonoids that come from rutin help to reduce swelling, pain, and aching caused by varicose veins.
You can find this flavonoid in many fruits and their rinds, asparagus, blueberry, cranberry, hawthorn, and buckwheat. Moreover, oligomeric proanthocyandin complexes, which are bioflavonoids found in pine bark and grapeseed, can help to lower the vein leakage and chronic swelling in the legs.
9.Keep your eyes healthy
When combined with vitamin C, bioflavonoids can work wonders for your eyes.
Not only do they help to preserve vision, but also help to reduce the risk of cataract and macular degeneration.
Bioflavonoids, particularly anthocyanins, have been shown to alleviate inflammatory eye disease and reduce the likelihood of diabetic retinopathy.
10.Boost your immune system
Bioflavonoids and vitamin C work together as potent water-soluble antioxidants. Both are essential for a strong immune function and the synthesis of collagen.
They help to ease the severity of the cold and flu symptoms as well as prevent a lot of illnesses and diseases.
How to boost bioflavonoid intake in a natural way
Although flavonoid supplementation is gaining popularity, it’s always best to get the nutrients in a natural way.
As mentioned before, bioflavonoids are found in many foods, so make sure you include the following food groups in your daily diet:
When it comes to bioflavonoids, you may never go wrong with veggies.
Munch on veggies, especially red and green ones, on a daily basis and you won’t experience any flavonoid deficiency.
Organic kale, broccoli, onions (spring, yellow, and red), rutabaga, hot and red peppers, watercress, and spinach are the richest sources of bioflavonoids.
Green and red onions are extremely high in quercetin and broccoli and okra are rich in flavonols, while celery and artichokes are overbrimming with the flavones.
2.Fruit and berries
Plums, peaches and apples are abundant in the flavonoid flavan-3-ol.
Citrus fruits, including grapefruits, tangerines, oranges, limes, and lemons are chock full of citrus bioflavonoids.
Grapes, strawberries, apples, blackberries, and cranberries are fortified with the bioflavonoid ellagic acid. In fact, any fruit contain certain bioflavonoids, so don’t forget to eat your fruit each day.
Matcha tea is an awesome source of bioflavonoids, albeit any tea can increase your flavonoid levels.
Have a cup of green, black, or rooibos (red) tea per day to boost your intake of flavonols and catechins.
4.Herbs and spices
Flavone is abundantly found in fresh parsley, oregano, thyme, and peppermint. The high quality cinnamon contains some bioflavonoids as well.
5.Nuts, seeds, and beans
The nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, cashews, and pistachios are a tasty way to up your bioflavonoid intake.
Any seeds – be they chia, hemp, or pumpkin – are high in bioflavonoids as well. When it comes to beans, dark beans like kidney beans, black beans, and fava, pinto and garbanzo beans are excellent sources of bioflavonoids.
Despite being often mistaken for a grain, buckwheat is a gluten-free, nutrient-dense seed, which is especially rich in the bioflavonoids like rutin and quercetin.
Whether you choose white or red wine, you can be sure that both varieties contain bioflavonoids.
The red variety though contains the higher levels because fermentation happens with the grape skins, which contain tons of various flavonoids.
Drinking wine in moderation (1 glass per day) will help you keep the healthy flavonoids levels high and ward off numerous diseases.
Dark chocolate or raw cocoa is a great source of flavanols – the major type of bioflavonoid required for optimal health. Look for dark chocolate with a low sugar content, high cocoa percentage, and less flavors. Just like with wine, moderation is critical here. Aim to have one ounce of dark chocolate per day.
Is bioflavonoid supplement efficient?
If your diet consists of a host of healthy foods, a bioflavonoid supplementation might not be necessary. In some cases though, people take different flavonoid supplements to treat certain conditions. However, it’s important to consult a doctor before taking any, especially catechin supplements. These supplements can cause anemic symptoms and fever, along with other health issues.
Bioflavonoid supplements can also negatively impact the action of anticoagulants and stimulate the toxicity of most drugs and medications when taken together. If you currently take certain medications and have any ongoing health issues, it’s safer to avoid supplementing with any bioflavonoids.
The possible side effects of taking bioflavonoid supplement are difficulty breathing, hives, swelling of the lips, face, throat, or tongue. Nausea and diarrhea can also be the signs of flavonoid overdose. The recommended dose of bioflavonoids is 250 mg 3 times a day or every 12 hours. Pregnant and breastfeeding moms must not take any flavonoid supplements unless a doctor tells otherwise.
Unfortunately, there aren’t regulated manufacturing standards for flavonoid supplements. Some supplements have been proven to contain toxic metals or other medical components. Bioflavonoids must never be used instead of medication your doctor prescribes you.
Is there bioflavonoid overdose?
Unless you take supplements, the great amounts of natural flavonoids are safe to your body. A recent study claims that the large doses of flavonoids obtained from supplements can cause leukemia in children. That’s why getting your flavonoids from healthy foods is of paramount importance, especially when it comes to kids.
Some people take several bioflavonoid supplements at the same time. It’s recommended to take one flavonoid supplement at a time. If you mix a few supplements together, you’re more likely to develop the aforementioned symptoms of bioflavonoid overdose. Plus, you can be allergic to certain bioflavonoids, particularly in the form of supplement.
A lot of people are still unaware of the importance of bioflavonoids and those eating too much processed and fast foods are at risk of bioflavonoid deficiency. If your doctor approves that you’re deficient in certain flavonoid, reconsider your eating plan and add foods rich in bioflavonoid before turning to supplementation. This way, you’ll avoid any possible side effects and boost your overall health.