Should You Buy Close to Expiry Supplements?

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Mint species (Lamiaceae) as a Source of Flavonoids

Mint plants (Lamiaceae) are perhaps best known for their characteristic essential oil. This oil has a very distinct minty aroma on account of the volatile oils that it contains. Many of the health effects of the mint family of plants can be attributed to this oil and its phytochemistry. However, mint contains a number of other important phytochemicals that may provide significant health effects. One group of secondary metabolites within mint plants are the flavonoids, a subgroup of the polyphenols. Flavonoids have been shown to have anti-cancer, cardioprotective, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in humans and animals. A number of flavonoids have been identified from mint plants including apigenin, luteolin, diosmetin, hesperetin, acacetin, nevadesin, gardenin, eupatorin, quercetin and salvigenin. Many of these flavonoids are present as glycosides of various metabolic configurations within the essential oil. Therefore mint plants contain a large number of flavonoids that may confer beneficial health effects. 

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Mimica-Dukic, N. and Bozin, B. 2008. Mentha L. species (Lamiaceae) as promising sources of bioactive secondary metabolites. Current Pharmaceutical Design. 14(29): 3141-3150
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Quercetin as a Preservative in Fish Oils

Fish oils are a source of long chain fatty acids that feed into the essential fatty acid pathways in humans. This means that fish oils can help modulate the cellular need for essential fats to make important cellular hormones. Supplementing fish oils is therefore seen as beneficial to the health. However, fish oils are susceptible to oxidation because they are polyunsaturated, and this gives them a propensity to oxidise under conditions of heat and light. Adding antioxidants to fish oils can therefore preserve the delicate oils and may improve the health effects. Quercetin is a flavonoid antioxidant that has the potential to protect fish oils from oxidation. However, studies show that when added to the oils, quercetin can react with the oils to form ester derivatives of quercetin. This shows that protecting delicate oils is not as simple as adding antioxidants, as it is unknown what health effects quercetin esters may have. The best antioxidant to protect fish oils still appears to be vitamin E, something found naturally in most oils. 

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Liu, S., Zhu, Y., Liu, N., Fan, D., Wang, M. and Zhao, Y. 2021. Antioxidative properties and chemical changes of quercetin in fish oil: Quercetin reacts with free fatty acids to form its ester derivatives. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 69(3): 1057-1067
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Flavonoids in Cannabis sativa

Cannabis sativa is a medicinally useful plant. The main active principles in Cannabis sativa are phytocannabinoids, a group of molecules that include tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol. Whereas the former is psychoactive, the latter is not. Use of cannabis oil that contains no tetrahydrocannabinol has been shown to have a number of therapeutic roles in medicine showing that cannabidiol is medicinally therapeutic. However, cannabis plants also contain other medicinally important groups of phytochemicals including flavonoids. One group of flavonoids synthesised by Cannabis sativa are the cannaflavins which are prenylated (C5) and geranylated (C10) flavones that are relatively unique to Cannabis sativa. The main cannaflavones are cannflavin A, B, and C. As with all polyphenolic compounds, it is likely that cannaflavins are able to confer antioxidant capacity on cannabis oil because of their cyclic ring structure, and this may explain some of the health benefits attributed to its consumption. 

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Bautista, J. L., Yu, S. and Tian, L. 2021. Flavonoids in Cannabis sativa: Biosynthesis, Bioactivities, and Biotechnology. ACS omega. 6(8): 5119-5123
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Honey Flavonoids as Anti-Inflammatories

As well as being a food, honey has been used therapeutically in traditional forms of medicine throughout history. The main active principles in honey appear to be the same active principles found in the plants from which the bees derive the honey, and this can vary between hives depending on the location of the colony and the varieties of surrounding flora. One of the mechanisms by which honey may have beneficial properties is through a significant anti-inflammatory effect. This effect may relate to the flavonoids contained within the honey, that are present in the nectar of the plants collected by the bees. Experimental models show that the flavonoids within honey are able to inhibit a number of inflammatory enzymes including cyclooxygenase, lipoxygenase and nitric oxide synthase. In addition the flavonoids in honey may be able to inhibit a number of proinflammatory pathways initiated by cytokines and chemokines. Therefore experimental data supports the role for honey as a medicinally beneficial food. 

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Silva, B., Biluca, F. C., Gonzaga, L. V., Fett, R., Dalmarco, E. M., Caon, T. and Costa, A. C. O. 2021. In vitro anti-inflammatory properties of honey flavonoids: A review. Food Research International. 141: 110086
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Flavonoids in Lentils Plants

Lentils (Lens culinaris) are a leguminous plant that can be used as a source of energy. Lentils are plants closely related to beans and peas. The seeds of lentils are probably the best known part of the lentil plant as the seeds (pulses) are often eaten for their high energy and high protein content. However, other parts of the lentil plant may have nutritional significance and provide significant health benefits. For example, the aerial parts of the lentil plant contain high amounts of acylated flavonoids that might give the plant particular cardioprotective effects when consumed. Flavonoid extracts of lentil plants have been shown to possess significant ability to quench free radicals in experiments and this may relate directly to their flavonoid content. In addition, experimental work using human plasma shows that the flavonoid fraction of the lentil plant can inhibit haemostasis. Therefore the flavonoids in lentils may possess significant antioxidant and anti-blood clotting effects that may make the plants medicinally useful. 

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Żuchowski, J., Rolnik, A., Adach, W., Stochmal, A. and Olas, B. 2021. Modulation of Oxidative Stress and Hemostasis by Flavonoids from Lentil Aerial Parts. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland).  26(2)
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Are You Taking Too Much Vitamin E?

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The Effects of Growing Conditions on Strawberry Nutrients

Strawberries are a rich source of nutrients, particularly polyphenols such as flavonoids. Evidence suggests that the conditions under which the strawberry is grown can considerably affect the amount of flavonoids contained within the strawberry. As with all plants, increasing the sunlight on the plant increases the amount of flavonoids synthesised and these accumulate in the plant tissues. This occurs because the flavonoids are able to protect the plant from the damaging effects of the sun, and as such the plant increases synthesis rates when exposed to a greater amount of sunlight. For example, in strawberries the main anthocyanin is pelargonidin 3-glucoside. As sunlight levels increase the synthesis rates of pelargonidin 3-glucoside increase significantly. As about 70 % of the total antioxidant capacity of strawberries comes from anthocyanins, sunlight can significantly increase the antioxidant capacity of the strawberry, something that would be conferred to the consumer upon consumption of the fruit. 

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Warner, R., Wu, B. S., MacPherson, S. and Lefsrud, M. 2021. A review of strawberry photobiology and fruit flavonoids in controlled environments. Frontiers in Plant Science. 12
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Citrus Flavonoids: Intestinal Health

Citrus fruit contains a number of flavonoids that may be beneficial to the health. The flavonoids in citrus fruit belong mainly to the flavanone sub-group. The flavonoids are particularly concentrated in the skin of the fruits where they act to protect the fruit from the damaging effects of oxygen and ultraviolet radiation. Citrus fruits that are common in the diet that contain high amounts of flavonoids include lemon, lime, sweet orange, sour orange, mandarins and grapefruit. Citrus flavonoids have been researched for their ability to improve gut health in humans and animals. In particular, citrus flavonoids may be able to modulate intestinal barrier function, protect the mucus layer of the intestine, regulate the intestinal immune system, reduce oxidative stress to the intestine and improve the profile of the microbiome inhabiting the gut. Therefore, including a range of citrus fruits in the diet may significantly improve the health of the gut and this may translate into significant improvements in general health. 

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Wang, M., Zhao, H., Wen, X., Ho, C. T. and Li, S. 2021. Citrus flavonoids and the intestinal barrier: interactions and effects. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. 20(1): 225-251
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Flavonoids Against Obesity

Flavonoids are a group of secondary plant metabolites that are found in high concentrations in fruits and vegetables. Plant based diets contain high concentrations of flavonoids. The main categories of flavonoids are flavones, flavanones, flavonols, flavanols, isoflavones and proanthocyanidins and anthocyanins. Evidence suggests that flavonoids may have particular effects in humans that may make them useful in the treatment of obesity. In particular, flavonoids have anti-inflammatory effects that may moderate the damaging effects of insulin resistance by improving insulin sensitivity. This may explain the anti-diabtetic effect of some flavonoids seen in studies. Further, the antioxidant effects of flavonoids may have beneficial effects to the obese because obesity is characterised by increased level of oxidation, which may contribute to the poor insulin sensitivity in these individuals. Some evidence also suggests that flavonoids may be able to regulate appetite and thus lower food intake as well as increase metabolic rate.  

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Rufino, A. T., Costa, V. M., Carvalho, F. and Fernandes, E. 2021. Flavonoids as antiobesity agents: A review. Medicinal Research Reviews. 41(1):  556-585
Posted in Anthocyanins, Catechin, Flavan-3-ols, Flavanones, Flavones, Flavonoids, Flavonols, Obesity, Procyanidins | Comments Off on Flavonoids Against Obesity