What Are Bioflavonoids?

Bioflavonoids have only in recent years been discovered for their health purposes. Learn about their role in preventing heart disease.

Bioflavonoids are reported to have numerous health benefits. They are the natural pigments in fruits and vegetables. There have been many scientific reports about bioflavonoids but none have produced firm reports that confirm this statement. Researchers have reported over eight hundred different bioflavonoids. Most of these are the yellow pigments found in citrus fruit as well as other fruits and vegetables, these are referred to as flavonoids.

Bioflavonoids are also referred to as vitamin P, a name that nutrition scientists object to because it has not been proved that they are essential to human nutrition and health. Many researchers are studying bioflavonoids and many reports have been given about their possible functions. Some researchers believe that bioflavonoids help maintain capillaries. Capillaries are microscopic blood vessels that allow the oxygen, hormones, nutrients, and antibodies to pass from the body's bloodstream to individual cells. If a capillary's walls are too fragile they will allow blood to drain out of the vessels and into the cells. The result of this is easy bruising, brain and retinal hemorrhages, bleeding gums and other abnormalities.

Bioflavonoids also in recent studies have been shown to help the blood clot, this alone can be helpful in treating phlebitis and other clotting disorders. Many bioflavonoids prevent the cellular damage caused by free radicals; these are unstable molecules that are formed when the body burns oxygen. Some bioflavonoids are used as food preservatives to prevent fats from oxidation. Some reports show bioflavonoids are useful in enhancing the antioxidant action of certain nutrients.

Bioflavonoids and vitamin C are found in many of the same foods and the body metabolizes both of these in the same manner. Researchers have discovered that some of the functions that vitamin C is credited with is actually from the bioflavonoids. Since they work so close together numerous reports have stated that vitamin C and many bioflavonoids need each other to produce the effects that they have on the immune system.

All these uses of bioflavonoids are the main reason that they are accredited with the use they have at preventing many heart diseases. Many laboratory studies show how bioflavonoids stop or slow the growth of malignant cells, they also help protect against cancer-causing substances invading the heart and blood cells. Bioflavonoids also act as natural antibiotics for the human body. Some bioflavonoids destroy certain bacteria that are found in foods, this prevents food spoilage and protects humans from food-borne infections.

Bioflavonoids are under study for many medical uses such as prevention of easy bruising and many other bleeding abnormalities. Rutin, which is a bioflavonoids that is found in wheat leaves and some other plants, are being studied for reducing tissue damage. All these and many others bioflavonoids are available as nutritional supplements.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance for bioflavonoids has not been established at this time, but studies show that if a diet contains enough fruits and vegetables can prevent all heart disease and many cancer related diseases. Foods that are high in bioflavonoids include apricots, blackberries, black currants, broccoli, cantaloupes, cherries, grapefruits, grapes, oranges and lemons.

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