|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