Polyphenols are a group of naturally occurring compounds found in many fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based foods. They’re known for their antioxidant properties, and have been shown to have a wide range of health benefits.
Polyphenols are a type of phytochemicals – bioactive compounds produced by plants. They’re known for their ability to scavenge free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage cells and contribute to the development of chronic diseases including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
Polyphenols come in several classes based on their chemical structure. They include flavonoids, phenolic acids, stilbenes, and lignans.
Well-known polyphenols include:
- Resveratrol, found in red wine and the seeds of grapes
- Quercetin, found in onions and apples
- Catechins, found in green tea
According to research, polyphenols have numerous health benefits:
- Reducing inflammation
- Improving heart health
- Supporting brain function
- Protecting against certain types of cancer
Endothelial Function – a Key Component of Heart Health
The endothelium is a thin layer of cells that line the inner surface of your blood vessels. It maintains vascular health by regulating blood flow, controlling blood pressure, and preventing blood clots.
One of the most important functions of the endothelium is its ability to produce nitric oxide (NO) – a signaling molecule that helps dilate blood vessels and improve blood flow.
Loss of endothelial function occurs when the endothelium is unable to produce sufficient NO, which in turn leads to impaired blood flow and increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Factors that impair endothelial function include aging, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.
Lifestyle factors can improve endothelial function and reduce CVD risk – including regular exercise, a healthy diet, and stress management.
Polyphenols that Boost Heart Health
Specific to heart health, certain polyphenols show the most efficacy.
- Resveratrol. Again, from red wine, grape seeds, peanuts, and more.
- Flavonoids. Found in fruits, vegetables, berries, citrus fruits, onions, and broccoli.
- Epicatechin. Found in cocoa, tea, and apples.
- Curcumin. The active ingredient in turmeric.
- Quercetin. Found in onions, apples, and tea.
The Key Heart Health Polyphenols
Numerous studies have explored the benefits of resveratrol for heart health. Here are a few of the many.
- A 2015 review of clinical trials (1276 participants) found that resveratrol supplementation improved endothelial function, reduced inflammatory markers, and lowered blood pressure in individuals with CVD.
- A 2016 study showed that 75 mg of resveratrol supplementation improved endothelial function compared to placebo. It also lowered blood pressure in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
- A 2018 study found that 300 mg of resveratrol supplementation significantly improved arterial stiffness and reduced inflammatory markers in individuals with coronary artery disease, compared to the placebo group.
- A 2019 study found that resveratrol supplementation at 500 mg for 12 weeks significantly improved endothelial function and lowered blood pressure in individuals with metabolic syndrome.
- A 2020 study found that 300 mg resveratrol supplementation vs. placebo for 6 months improved vascular function and reduced oxidative stress in individuals with hypertension.
These studies suggest that resveratrol supplementation has benefits for heart health by improving endothelial function, reducing inflammation, and lower blood pressure.
Flavonoids have been studied extensively for their potential benefits on heart health. Here are some of the studies:
- A 2017 review of clinical trials found that flavonoid supplementation improved endothelial function, reduced blood pressure, and reduced inflammatory markers in individuals with CVD.
- A 2019 study found that consuming a flavonoid-rich diet was linked with a lower risk of CVD in both men and women. The study included 53,183 Danish men and women who were followed for a median of 23 years. Greatest benefits were seen in those consuming the most flavonols and anthocyanins.
- A 2020 study found that high flavonoid intake was linked with a lower risk of all-cause mortality in individuals with hypertension.
- A 2018 systematic review and meta-analysis found that consuming flavonoid-rich cocoa improved endothelial function and lowered blood pressure in individuals with hypertension. The study included 42 trials and a total of 1,766 participants.
- Several studies have found that consuming flavonoid-rich blueberries improved endothelial function and reduced blood pressure in individuals with metabolic syndrome.
These studies and others suggest that consuming a diet rich in flavonoids or supplementing with flavonoids may support heart health by boosting endothelial function, reducing inflammation, and lowering blood pressure.
Epicatechin has been studied for its benefits for heart health. Some of the studies include:
- A 2013 study showed that consuming epicatechin-rich cocoa containing 750 mg of epicatechin per serving for 6 weeks improved endothelial function and lowered blood pressure in healthy adults.
- A 2014 study found that epicatechin-rich dark chocolate boosted endothelial function and reduced inflammatory markers in individuals with coronary artery disease.
- A 2015 study showed that consuming epicatechin-rich cocoa improved vascular function and reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, compared to placebo, in individuals with hypertension.
- A 2015 study found that epicatechin supplementation improved endothelial function and reduced inflammatory markers in individuals with metabolic syndrome.
These studies indicate that consuming epicatechin-rich foods or supplementing with epicatechin may benefit heart health by improving endothelial function, reducing inflammation, and lowering blood pressure.
Curcumin has been extensively studied for its potential health benefits in many aspects of health. Here’s a sampling of the research related to heart health.
- A 2017 review of clinical trials found that curcumin supplementation reduced “bad” LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and total cholesterol, while increasing “good” HDL cholesterol.
- High cholesterol in the blood is widely believed to be a risk factor for heart disease, although some integrative doctors believe that’s overblown.
- A small study of 32 postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes showed that 150 mg of curcumin supplementation for 8 weeks improved endothelial function and reduced inflammatory markers.
- A 2014 study of 56 participants with metabolic syndrome found that curcumin supplementation improved endothelial function and reduced inflammatory markers.
- A study of 121 patients with coronary artery disease showed that curcumin supplementation of 4 g curcuminoids per day vs. placebo significantly improved endothelial function and reduced inflammatory markers compared to the placebo group.
- A 2016 meta-analysis of 19 randomized controlled trials and 1,649 people found that curcumin supplementation reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure, compared to placebo. It also reduced LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides.
These studies indicate that curcumin aids heart health by helping manage inflammation, lowering cholesterol, improving endothelial function, and reducing blood pressure.
As well, studies have shown a heart health benefit from quercetin, as shown in these studies:
- In 2017 a review published in the American Journal of Physiology showed that quercetin supplementation boosted endothelial function, reduced blood pressure, inhibited the progression of atherosclerosis, and reduced inflammatory markers in animal models. In humans, it improved endothelial function, reduced inflammation, and improved lipid profiles in individuals with CVD risk factors.
- A meta-analysis published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2016 included 7 randomized controlled trials with a total of 587 participants. They found that quercetin supplementation significantly reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure, compared to placebo.
- Another meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Heart Association in 2016 found that flavonoid supplementation, including quercetin, significantly improved endothelial function, and reduced blood pressure and LDL-cholesterol, compared to placebo.
- A 2019 study of individuals with metabolic syndrome showed that quercetin supplementation boosted endothelial function and reduced blood pressure.
- A 2020 study found that quercetin supplementation improved endothelial function and reduced inflammatory markers in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Quercetin supplements contained 500 mg for 12 weeks.
- A prospective cohort study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2015 investigated 93,000 women from the Nurses’ Health Study. Researchers found that highest intake of quercetin and other flavonoids was linked with a much-reduced risk of CVD. Those in the highest quintile of quercetin intake had a 12% lower risk of CVD compared to those in the lowest quintile.
These studies suggest that a quercetin-rich diet or supplementation boosts endothelial function, reduces inflammatory markers, and lowers blood pressure.
The Bioavailability Issue and How We Solved It
All polyphenols have a structure that makes absorption difficult. That could be one reason why you may have taken a certain supplement and not really experienced the benefit from it.
At UltraBotanica, we believe you should be able to FEEL the difference your supplements make. That’s why years of research went into developing the Liquid Protein Scaffold™ Technology that delivers polyphenols to your cells, and fast!
There’s really no point in downing a ton of supplements if they never get to where needed most… that is, in your cells. We call that a waste of money – and a waste of your life. You take supplements to enjoy a better life. Make sure you do.
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Join us for today’s revealing discussion with Dr. Joseph Purita – orthopedic surgeon, stem cell key opinion leader, and now formulator extraordinaire for UltraBotanica.
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You won’t want to miss this session! And you’ll want to have a pen and paper ready for notes!
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