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flaCARDIO

Anti-aging with flavonoids for cardiovascular support

People who consume large amounts of flavonoids with food on a daily basis are less likely to need hospital care related to atherosclerosis and are less likely to die from cardiovascular disease. Flavonoids can therefore be considered anti-aging components, which are mainly exerted through their effect on the cardiovascular system. Flavonoids have been intensively researched in recent years, and a lot of evidence has been gathered about their health-preserving and health-improving effects.

In 2019, a 23-year group study in Denmark was published by the Nature Communications journal. During the research, they monitored the dietary and other habits of 56,000 participants 50-60 years old (on entry), and summarized how the consumption of flavonoids may have contributed to their health. By the end, 14,000 people died, in which low daily flavonoid intake was a significant factor.

According to the findings, those who ingested foods and beverages containing at least 500 mg of flavonoids were more likely to survive until the end of the study.

A patient’s low flavonoid consumption was a risk factor for cardiovascular disease mortality during the duration of the experiment, where cardiovascular disease fatality was the primary cause of death.

The study also analyzed the mortality rate of individuals with unhealthy hobbies separately. The preventive impact of flavonoids was greater among those who smoked or regularly consumed alcohol. This may be because,

  • in addition to protecting the body, a flavonoid-rich diet could counteract the adverse effects of cigarette smoke and alcohol on the body.

An Australian study published in early 2020, which monitored participants with an average age of 65 years for 14 years, confirmed the conclusions of the Danish study that a minimum of 500-700 mg of flavonoids per day should be administered to reduce the risk of death.

In a 2018 study, 20-month-old elderly mice (based on their physiological functions they can be considered humans at the age of 75 years) were given feed rich in flavonoids called fisetin.

The control group lived an average of 27 months, while the other group on the supplementation of fisetin lived 3 months longer on average compared to the control group, which means more than 10% life growth.

Sources:

  • Flavonoid intake is associated with lower mortality in the Danish Diet Cancer and Health Cohort. Nat Commun. 2019; 10: 3651.
  • Association of flavonoids and flavonoid-rich foods with all-cause mortality: The Blue Mountains Eye Study. Clin Nutr. 2020; 39(1):141-150.
  • Fisetin is a senotherapeutic that extends health and lifespan. EBioMedicine. 2018; 36: 18–28.

A significant proportion of cardiovascular diseases are associated with arteriosclerosis(*).

Another research related to the detailed Danish study in the “Anti-aging” section, has mapped whether the daily flavonoid intake affects the probabilities of hospital care related to atherosclerosis, including vascular occlusion leading to anoxia such as ischemic stroke, or peripheral arterial diseases like vasoconstriction.

The study used data from more than 53,000 patients at age 50 to 65 years. They were monitored for an average of 21 years, during this time 8773 participants were in need of hospital care for atherosclerosis.

These results indicate that daily 500-1000 mg flavonoid intake significantly reduced the risk ratios.

The strongest link was reported in peripheral artery diseases, where a high flavonoid intake (1000 mg per day) reduced hospitalization risk by 32% compared to a low flavonoid intake (175 mg per day).

The most accepted explanation for the anti-arteriosclerotic effect of flavonoids, and polyphenols in a broader sense, lies in their antioxidant effect.

Several studies also indicate that flavonoids can inhibit the oxidation of cholesterol and other fats in the blood, which is the primary source of buildup. It can also reduce inflammation and excessive immune activity at/around the site of buildups, relax the vascular wall cells, thereby lowering blood pressure, and may inhibit blood clot formation.

(*) Arteriosclerosis: The thickening and hardening of the artery walls, typically occurring in old age.

Sources:

  • Associations between habitual flavonoid intake and hospital admissions for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease: a prospective cohort study. Lancet Planet Health. 2019; 3(11):e450-e459.
  • Polyphenols and Oxidative Stress in Atherosclerosis-Related Ischemic Heart Disease and Stroke. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017; 2017: 8526438.
The Basics

Science behind

Examined effects, special areas...

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Both folk and scientific observations support that regular consumption of vegetables, fruits, and seeds has a beneficial effect on our health, and it is no coincidence that food pyramids compiled by food experts also recommend consuming large amounts of these. This is because plants contain many of the ingredients needed for the normal functioning of the human body. In addition to vitamins, flavonoids are one of the key ingredients in the health-preserving effect of plants.

What are the benefits of flavonoids

The beneficial effects of flavonoids on the vascular system have been known for some time. The Hungarian Nobel laureate Albert Szent-Györgyi and his colleagues were those who found a yellow fraction that they could extract from the Hungarian red pepper and lemon juice well and supporting the effect of vitamin C, it reduced capillary fragility and excessive permeability in patients with scurvy. This yellow powder has been termed the flavonoid fraction (flavus means yellow in Latin), and the identified components – flavonoids – have since been used as medicine for the vascular wall.

Since then, many kinds of research and scientific observations have concluded that flavonoids can really contribute to the health of our cardiovascular system. In addition, additional biological effects, an especially potent antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects are associated with flavonoids, along with allergy and asthma symptoms alleviation effects, or immunomodulation, also several studies have been published on the central nervous system and cognitive functions supporting effects such as well as the anticancer, antibacterial and antiviral effects.

How are flavonoids capable of such a multifaceted effect?

The flavonoids found in different plants and fungi can have up to 6,000 different profiles, and although they show structural similarity, a small difference beyond the change of antioxidant capacity may impart additional biological function to the flavonoids. And each plant has a characteristic flavonoid composition that can ‘work’ with each other and other plant ingredients to trigger physiological effects.

In order to achieve the wide-range beneficial effects of flavonoids on the body, a mixed diet is recommended, i.e. it is advisable to consume vegetables/fruits containing all the colors of the rainbow every day, or to supplement our diet with flavonoid preparations.