Phytochemical Betacyanins, the Best Antioxidants

By Kyle J. Norton

Antioxidants are stable molecules produced by the liver or from the intake of diet sources, including foods and supplementation.

The function of antioxidants is to protect the body against oxidation induced by free radicals.
Free radicals are a normal byproduct of oxygen metabolism. Certain environmental and behavioral factors such as exposure to radiation and toxic chemicals and smoking can dramatically increase the number of free radicals in the body.

Free radicals have an unpaired electron on the outer ring. Therefore, in order to maintain stable, free radicals must donate or intercept an electron from other atoms, causing the domino’s reaction that can not be stopped until all single electrons are paired or inhibited by antioxidants.
Oxidative stress is a result of the imbalanced ratio of the levels of free radical compared to antioxidants.

In other words, if the antioxidant enzymes no longer can perform the function to balance the free radicals in the body, oxidative stress occurs.

Epidemiologically, oxidative stress has been found to cause protein, lipid, and alternation of cellular DNA, leading to the incidence of chronic illness and cancers.

Dr. V. Hajhashemi, the lead scientist in the elevation of the effects of antioxidants for disease prevention wrote, “Free radicals are produced continuously in the cells as part of normal cellular function, however, excess production might play a role in pathophysiology of many disease conditions, including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis and some of the drug-induced toxicity”.

And, ” Many basic research studies and observational epidemiologic studies in human suggest that antioxidants can prevent oxidative damage”.
In other words, by maintaining the healthy ratio of antioxidants and free radicals, diseases associated with oxidative stress can be preventable.

Some researchers suggested, maintaining a balanced ratio free radicals and antioxidants are the best way for good health.

Betacyanins are phytochemicals in the class of red and yellow indole-derived pigments, belonging to the group of Betalains, found abundantly in beets, chard, etc.

With an aim to find a potential compound for the treatment of oxidative stress, researchers examined the on betacyanins phenol antioxidants activity against peroxyl radicals generated from the azo-initiated oxidation of methyl linoleate in methanol and of a heterogeneous aqueous/soybean phosphatidylcholine liposomal system

In major compound betanin, researchers found that the phytochemical, a weak retarder in methanol is an effective chain-breaking antioxidant in the liposomal model.

In other words, kinetic solvent activity and partition in lipid bilayers may affect betanin antioxidant property.

In betanidin, another bioactive compound shows a significant effect on chain terminating antioxidant in both models.

In ROS activity, betanidin demonstrated a stronger radical-scavenging activity compared to betanin, in terms of both radical-scavenging rates constant and stoichiometric factor.

The results suggest that betacyanins exert significant anti-ROS expression by blocking the initiation and progression and induce-termination of a free radical chain reaction through the bioactive compound betanin and betanidin.

Based on the finding, researchers said, ” Either betanin or betanidin incorporated in liposomes with alpha-tocopherol had additive effects, supporting the partition of the pigments in the bilayer and lipoperoxyl radical reduction”.
Taken altogether, betacyanins may be considered a remedy for the prevention and treatment of diseases associated with oxidative stress, pending to the confirmation of the larger sample size and multicenter human study.

Intake of betacyanins in the form of supplement should be taken with extreme care to prevent overdose acute liver toxicity.

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Author Biography
Kyle J. Norton (Scholar, Master of Nutrition, All right reserved)

Health article writer and researcher; Over 10.000 articles and research papers have been written and published online, including worldwide health, ezine articles, article base, health blogs, self-growth, best before it’s news, the karate GB daily, etc.,.
Named TOP 50 MEDICAL ESSAYS FOR ARTISTS & AUTHORS TO READ by Named 50 of the best health Tweeters Canada – Huffington Post
Nominated for shorty award over last 4 years
Some articles have been used as references in medical research, such as international journal Pharma and Bioscience, ISSN 0975-6299.

(1) Betacyanins as phenol antioxidants. Chemistry and mechanistic aspects of the lipoperoxyl radical-scavenging activity in solution and liposomes by Tesoriere L1, Allegra M, Gentile C, Livrea MA. (PubMed)
(2) Effect of solvent type and ratio on betacyanins and antioxidant activity of extracts from Hylocereus polyrhizus flesh and peel by supercritical fluid extraction and solvent extraction by Fathordoobady F1, Mirhosseini H1, Selamat J2, Manap MY. (PubMed)
(3) Are antioxidants helpful for disease prevention? by V. Hajhashemi,1,* G. Vaseghi,1 M. Pourfarzam,2 and A. Abdollahi. (PMC)