Flavonoids, found in fruits and vegetables, have been studied to see if they could reduce oxidative damage, which causes loss of dopamine production in the base of the brain. Oxidative stress is believed to contribute to the death of dopamine producing cells in Parkinson’s disease. (CoQ-10 is of benefit in Parkinsonism.)
Various flavonoids, such as catechin, quercitin, chrysin, puerarin, naringenin and genestein, were studied by the authors to see if they would protect cell cultures of dopamine producing cells from oxidative damage and prevent cell death. This was the first study to show that flavonoids protect dopamine producing neurons from oxidative stress. This was especially true for catechins, such as in green tea. Flavonoids have the advantage that they cross the blood-brain barrier even after oral administration.
Catechin’s are found in fruit, tea and wine. Chrysin is found in vegetables and in citrus fruit. Quercetin is found in wine grapes, onions, tea and fruit. Kudzu root, containing puerarin, is used in Chinese medicine for the antidipsotropic (anti-alcohol abuse) effect. Naringenin, of grapefruit and other citrus fruits, and genestein, of soy extracts and legumes, protect dopamine producing neurons.
The dopamine producing cells of the mesencephalon are known to be under oxidative stress in Parkinson’s disease. The authors say that flavonoids should be of benefit in treating this disease.
CONCLUSION: These studies show the neuroprotective effect of flavonoids on mesencephalic cell damage to dopamine producing cells and this should be of benefit in Parkinsonism. Flavonoids in a healthy diet and as supplements deserve further attention in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, according to the authors.
NOTE: Read about the benefit of tyrosinase hydroxylase enzyme activity in Parkinson’s disease.
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