Bioflavonoids — Do I Really Need Them, or Can I Just Take Vitamin C?

may-_2-vits-abc.jpgIs your vitamin C doing everything it could? Probably not — unless you’re also taking bioflavonoids.

Roses are red, violets are blue, oranges are orange, and lemons are yellow. Is this a rhyme gone wrong? No, it’s the beginning of a recipe for good health. Each of these and, in fact, almost every plant — whether fruit, vegetable or flower — contains an ingredient that gives the plant its color and helps ward off natural predators. That ingredient is bioflavonoids and, in the human, their function is much the same. Find out why you need bioflavonoids, and how you can get them.

Bioflavonoids, also known as flavonoids, are sometimes called ‘nature’s biological modifiers.’ Their powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties boost the immune system to protect us from viruses, carcinogens and allergens, and help fight the free radical damage that can make us ill and old before our time — both inside and out.

What can bioflavonoids do for you?

Studies have shown that bioflavonoids help strengthen the walls of capillaries — the blood vessels that enable hormones, nutrients, antibodies and oxygen to travel to our cells — and help prevent bruising, bleeding gums and hemorrhaging in the brain and retina.

Bioflavonoids also help blood clots, protect us from carcinogens that invade the heart and blood cells, stop or slow the growth of malignant cells, and act as natural antibiotics.

But that’s not all. Bioflavonoids are vital elements in over three hundred different bodily functions. Here’s the rundown on just a few of the most widely known:

  • Quercetin provides the quick response to an allergic reaction or inflammation. It’s also a powerful free radical fighter, can inhibit the spread of viruses, treat varicose veins and bruises, and may be helpful in the fight against many diseases including Alzheimer’s and cancer. Your best source of quercetin is apples — yes, an apple a day may keep the doctor away — but it can also be found in onions, blueberries and cranberries.
  • Epicatechin is largely used for heart health as it maintains the integrity of the blood vessels. A study published in the January 16 online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found epicatechin to be directly linked to improved circulation and other elements of cardiovascular health. Epicatechin is plentiful in blueberries and grapes, as well as some teas and cocoas. (That’s right, chocoloate!!)
  • Polyphenols are more powerful antioxidants than both vitamins C and E and are the ingredients that give green tea its reputation as a health drink. In addition to fighting free radicals, studies have also shown polyphenols may boost the immune system, strengthen the cardiovascular system, and inhibit the development of cancer. Polyphenols are found in many foods, including grapes, green tea, soybeans and wine — some are even derived from tree bark.
  • Oligomeric proanthocyanidins do just about everything — strengthen blood vessels, fight free radicals, and inhibit the destruction of collagen, the protein that supports many tissues throughout the body, gives us strong bones, hair and teeth, and provides the structure that keeps our skin firm. Where can you get them? The black chokeberry has the highest content found so far, but they are also found in pine bark, grape seeds, grape skin, certain red wines, bilberries, cranberries, chokeberries, black currants, and green and black teas.

Bioflavonoids work in tandem with vitamin C — they are somewhat interdependant. In fact, researchers have found that many of the functions attributed to vitamin C are actually performed by bioflavonoids.

If you’re looking for an overall boost, bioflavonoids are one of the best choices you can make. They’re available as supplements with vitamin C, or by themselves. Many people currently taking vitamin C alone really notice the difference when they add bioflavonoids to the mix. Give them a try. With so much to offer there’s really nothing to lose, and a lot to gain.

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