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Bioflavonoids offer potent and varied benefits

Common names: vitamin P, flavonoids
Common uses: anticarcinogen, antiviral, antioxidant, immune function, cardiovascular health

Flavonoids are a group of crystalline compounds found in plants and their fruits. They were discovered in 1936 by Nobel prize-winning Szent Gyorgy and were later given the name vitamin P by him.

Hundreds of studies on flavonoids have confirmed their wide ranging capabilities. Most recently, the focus on flavonoids has shifted to their ability to effectively fight free radicals. Several of these compounds appear to be at least as effective, if not more, than some of the more popular antioxidants vitamins C and E, for instance in protecting low density lipids from oxidation. In addition, it appears that these same flavonoids help lower cholesterol, thereby increasing their value in promoting cardiovascular health.

The flavonoids that have been most studied include quercetin, rutin, naringin, hesperidin, genistein, proanthocyanidins,catechin, and flavonoid complex. Of these, the proanthocyanidins (sometimes known as Pycnogenol, grape seed extract, or pine bark extract) have attracted a great deal of attention for their antioxidant abilities. Genistein, on the other hand, has moved into the health spotlight because of its supposed role in preventing various cancers and helping women maintain proper hormone levels. Other research indicates that flavonoids can also help prevent and/or reverse osteoporosis, arthritis, AIDS, hepatitis and various forms of cardiovascular health. When taking bioflavonoids, it is important to remember to take them with vitamin C, as they increase vitamin C absorption. There are no known toxicities for flavonoids.

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