NPF Science Update: Flavonoids
Posted Thursday, September 8, 2011

The NPF Science Update brings you news about scientific advances in the field of natural products. The Science Update features contributions from scientists, academics, doctors, healthcare professionals, industry veterans and other experts. To sign up to receive the monthly Science Update via email, please click here: NPF Science Update.

Living Well with Flavonoids
Nature, Inflammation and Osteoarthritis

Botanical products have been used for medicinal purposes by human civilizations over the course of thousands of years. Not surprisingly, many of the pharmaceuticals used today are derived in part from natural substances. Flavonoids are an excellent example of a safe and effective botanical compound that has natural biological activity in physiologic processes. 

In general, flavonoids are found in colored fruits, vegetables and spices as well as cocoa, teas and even red wine. When your parents said, “Eat your vegetables,” they really meant, “Eat your flavonoids, because they have health benefits!” Lycopene, resveratrol, baicalin, catechin, curcumin, and quercetin are examples of flavonoid ingredients with therapeutic effects which can be found OTC in dietary supplement products and by prescription in medical food products. Flavonoids have been known for decades to promote anti-inflammatory activity, and flavonoid molecules have recently entered osteoarthritis clinical trials with successful results.

Why look at flavonoids in osteoarthritis studies? There are multiple underlying causes and contributing factors to osteoarthritis including trauma, repetitive motion, inflammation, obesity, genetic predisposition and diet. Recently, with a substantial increase in our understanding of the problem, the roles of nutrition and lifestyle have become important focal points for osteoarthritis concerns.  

Many scientific studies have shown that anti-inflammatory micronutrients like flavonoids help the body naturally manage inflammation and oxidation, two important factors in osteoarthritis. There are literally thousands of papers in scientific literature related to flavonoids. The goal of a nutritional, metabolic therapy for osteoarthritis is to manage inflammation and oxidation. Botanical flavonoid molecules have been shown to manage osteoarthritis as suggested by modulating the production of inflammatory oxidized lipids, while reducing and controlling induced inflammatory molecules. 

Unfortunately, by eating large amounts of processed food, too much red meat and few colored fruits and vegetables, we usually don’t get a high enough intake of the nutrients we need to nutritionally manage the chronic progression of osteoarthritis over time. So, make sure to eat plenty of colored fruits and vegetables, and consider dietary products that contain concentrated and purified flavonoids to either maintain joint health or to help to nutritionally manage the metabolic processes of osteoarthritis. Natural resources taken under the care of your physician may be very effective in helping osteoarthritis.

Story Source: The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by Natural Products Foundation staff) from materials provided by J.D. Weir, President and CEO of Primus Pharmaceuticals and Secretary of the NPF Board of Directors. For more information, please click here: The Role of Flavonoids in Osteoarthritis, or on any of the Healthnotes links below:


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