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Bioflavonoids are a large group of plant pigments found in food. Bioflavonoids (e.g. Quercetin, hesperidin, rutin) are found closely associated with Vitamin C in nature: for example in oranges, vitamin C is present mainly in the juice, whilst bioflavonoids are concentrated in the pith.
Bioflavonoids and Carotenoids provide the variation of colours in fruit and vegetables. Chlorophyll provides the green which is the central component of a plantís energy system, but bioflavonoids contribute blues, purples, emerald green and some reds; carotenoids provide the yellows, orange and reds. They are concentrated in the skins and seeds. The flavonoidsí function is to screen plant cells from the damaging effects of sunlight.
Bioflavonoids have been shown to increase the uptake of vitamin C: in one study, uptake of vitamin C was 35% higher from a citrus extract than from vitamin C alone (1).
Bioflavonoids are important for strengthening the capillaries (small peripheral blood vessels) and may be a useful supplement in people with circulation problems or who Bruise easily. Bioflavonoids have also been shown to be mildly anti-inflammatory, and to have an anti-histamine effect (2).
Bioflavonoids are safe, with no known toxic side effects.
There are no reported drug interactions or contra-indications for bioflavonoids.
1. Am J Clin Nutrition, 1988,48:601-604.