2265 North Clybourn Avenue    Chicago, IL 60614    P: 773.296.6700     F: 773.296.1131

Flavinoids

What Is It?

Flavonoids is the umbrella term given to some 4,000 compounds that impart the colorful pigment to fruits, vegetables and herbs. Also found in legumes, grains and nuts, flavonoids can act as effective antivirals, anti-inflammatories, antihistamines and antioxidants. They’re useful for reducing cancer risk and serve to prevent or treat a wide variety of conditions.

While research generally supports the healing potential of flavonoids, only a few have been widely studied. Some standouts include genistein, found in soybeans and some other legumes; quercetin, found in apples and onions; PCOs (procyanidolic oligomers, also known as proanthocyanidins), found in abundance in pine bark and grape seed extract, as well as in red wine; citrus flavonoids, including rutin and hesperidin, found in oranges, grapefruits, tangerines and other citrus fruits; and polyphenols, particularly EGCG (epigallocatechin-gallate), found in green tea. Researchers feel the latter may be the most effective cancer-battling compound discovered to date.

Health Benefits

As antioxidants, flavonoids (or “bioflavonoids” as supplement manufacturers often label them) help prevent the cell damage caused by unstable oxygen molecules known as free radicals. They provide many other health benefits as well.

Specifically, flavonoids may help to:

Lower cancer risk. A high intake of such flavonoids as polyphenols and quercetin is linked to lower rates of stomach, pancreatic, lung, and possibly breast cancer. Taking the flavonoid genistein, a phytoestrogen that acts as a weak form of the hormone estrogen, may help prevent breast cancer and other hormone-related cancers, including prostate cancer, because it binds with estrogen receptors in the body’s cells.

Reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease. Studies indicate that a diet high in flavonoids, particularly quercetin and PCOs, may help prevent blood clots and blocked arteries, significantly reducing the chance of death from stroke or heart disease. Moreover, one recent study showed that drinking one or more cups of tea a day may also cut the risk of heart attack.

Protect against age-related vision disorders, such as cataracts and macular degeneration. A contributing factor to the development of cataracts is the accumulation of the sugar sorbitol in the eye’s lens. Studies show that the flavonoid quercetin inhibits this buildup. Grape seed extract, another flavonoid, also helps combat cataracts and prevent macular degeneration because it improves blood circulation in the eye.

Relieve hay fever, sinusitis, and asthma symptoms. Quercetin’s proven anti-inflammatory properties help the body counter allergic reactions to pollen. Quercetin also seems to reduce inflammation in the lungs and other air passages, making breathing easier.

Alleviate inflammatory skin conditions, such as eczema and bug bites. Quercetin’s anti-inflammatory properties can help treat these skin irritations.

Reduce inflammation in the joints and muscles common to fibromyalgia, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties quercetin is often used to treat these conditions.

Minimize menopausal hot flashes. Genistein, plentiful in soy products, can lessen the symptoms of hot flashes because it can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body.

Shrink hemorrhoids and reduce varicose veins. Citrus flavonoids and PCOs help repair hemorrhoids and varicose veins by strengthening blood vessels.

Battle viral infections. Because flavonoids boost immunity, they help the body fight off illnesses and may speed recovery time. Note: Flavonoids have also been found to be useful for a number of other disorders. For information on these additional ailments, see the individual flavonoids: quercetin, ginkgo biloba, grape seed extract, green tea, soy isoflavones, and vitamin C and flavonoids.

Forms

tablet
powder
liquid
capsule

Dosage Information

For overall health: For best results, choose a pure flavonoid supplement that features at least one and possibly a combination of pure flavonoids (such as quercetin, green tea extract, or genistein). Follow the label directions for the exact dosage. Be sure to check out the Dosage Recommendations Charts for the separate flavonoids: quercetin, ginkgo biloba, grape seed extract, green tea, soy isoflavones, and vitamin C and flavonoids.

Guidelines for Use

Take quercetin 20 minutes before a meal; other flavonoids may be taken at any time.

If you buy a citrus bioflavonoid complex product, look for one that contains some pure rutin, pure hesperidin or both. Mixed citrus bioflavonoid complexes without these may be inexpensive, but they are often less potent.

Take flavonoids along with vitamin C, if possible, to maximize both of their benefits (flavonoids help increase the absorption of vitamin C). Buying vitamin C and flavonoid supplements separately usually costs less than purchasing a “vitamin C/flavonoid complex” formulation that combines the two; doing so may also provide greater dosage flexibility.

General Interaction

Recent studies indicate that taking antioxidants such as flavonoids could decrease the effectiveness of many anti-cancer chemotherapy and radiation treatments if taken at the same time. Restart the antioxidants during the rest period between chemotherapy or radiation treatments.

Avoid taking a citrus flavonoid preparation containing naringin (a flavonoid present in grapefruit juice but not orange juice) when using an immunosuppressant drug, such as tacrolimus (Prograf).

Don’t take naringin if you are on a calcium channel blocker, such as amlodipine (Norvasc), nifedipine (Procardia) or verapamil (Calan), because it may amplify the effect of the drug and cause a serious drop in blood pressure.

Naringin may also inhibit the breakdown of various drugs, particularly caffeine, coumarin and estrogens. Note: For information on interactions with specific generic drugs, see our WholeHealth Chicago Drug/Nutrient Interactions Chart.

Possible Side Effects

No side effects are presently known.

Cautions

Flavonoids should be used as complements to–not replacements for–the standard methods of treating cancer, heart disease and other serious illnesses.


Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

BIRTHDAY

Health Tips

Dr. Edelberg’s Health Tips contain concise bits of advice, medical news, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical updates, and stress relief ideas. With every Health Tip, you’ll also receive an easy, delicious, and healthful recipe.

When you sign up to receive Health Tips, you can look forward to Dr. Edelberg’s smart and very current observations arriving in your in-box weekly. They’re packed with helpful information and are often slightly irreverent. One of the most common responses to the tips is “I wish my doctor talked to me like this!”

Quick Connect

Get One Click Access to our

patient-portal

The Knowledge Base

Patient education is an integral part of our practice. Here you will find a comprehensive collection of staff articles, descriptions of therapies and nutritional supplements, information addressing your health concerns, and the latest research on nutritional supplements and alternative therapies.

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

Upcoming Workshops

**Pain Relief with Myofascial Balls
Tuesday, October 29, 6-8pm
With Renee Zambo, C-IAYT Yoga Therapist

Course Fee: $65.00
(includes WholeHealth Chicago Myofascial Release Kit, $40 value)

Does that same spot in your neck, shoulders, back or hips seem to bother you every day? Do you have joint aches and pains in the hands and feet? Would you like to learn ways to alleviate that pain and tension?

Join WholeHealth Chicago’s Yoga and Movement Therapist Renee Zambo for an evening of muscle tension release with myofascial therapy balls.

Space is limited and registration is required.
Please register online.
Call the Center for additional information at (773) 296-6700
More>>

Recent Health Tips

  • Dandruff, Fungi, and Cancer of the Pancreas

    It’s an eye-catching title, I’ll admit. But the links are quite real and further research may guide medicine in new directions of cancer prevention and treatment. It all starts in your gut microbiome, the totality of microorganisms–bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi–present in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, mouth to anus. Until recently, researchers and clinical physicians alike paid virtually no attention to the microbiome and the Read More

  • New Hope For Sinus Sufferers

    When osteopath Dr. Rob Ivker moved to Colorado in the 1980s to set up his family practice, he had no idea that when he stepped off the plane he’d succumb to symptoms of chronic sinusitis that just wouldn’t go away: stuffy nose, thick mucus, pressure behind his cheekbones and above his eyebrows, dull aching headache, and thick goopy drainage in the back of his throat. Read More

  • Director of IV Therapies Katie McManigal, BSN, ANP

    Most people at some point in their lives have had an intravenous (IV) line. An adept nurse warned you about the tiny pinch of the needle as it was smoothly inserted and taped in place.  Then the  fluid dangling above your head slowly started making its way through a tube and into your body. IVs are all over the place in hospitals. They’re seen in Read More

October Sale – Save 20% off UltraMeal Rice

UltraMeal RICE is a tasty, non-dairy, nutritionally fortified, powdered meal replacement for those who want to support healthy body composition but may be sensitive to soy.

Click here to take advantage of this month’s promotion!