Diets rich in polyphenols appear to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and flavonoids (commonly called bioflavonoids) are the dominate type. Citrus flavonoids have been found to strengthen capillaries. Quercetin and catechins are flavonoids commonly found in foods. Wine, green tea and chocolate contain catechins.
Flavonoids are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. They reduce a number of disease processes, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. These diseases result partly from oxidative stress for which antioxidants are potent treatment.
It is unknown how polyphenols are distributed throughout the body. Methods of studying this are difficult with current techniques. The researchers of this article have developed anti-polyphenol antibodies and methods to study the location of polyphenols in the body. For example, they studied the distribution in the aorta in atherosclerosis. The goal has been to focus on the cellular level.
Antibodies against quercetin and tea catechins were produced. Using these antibodies, flavonoids were located in macrophage cells (white inflammatory blood cells) in developing atherosclerotic lesions. Macrophages accumulate in the walls of arteries early in the course of atherosclerosis, and this appears to be the location of action by polyphenols.
CONCLUSION: This study has determined that the anti-atherosclerotic action of polyphenols and flavonoids is at the level of the macrophage inflammatory cells. These represent new findings, and further testing will be done to determine the action of polyphenols on macrophages in atherosclerosis.
NOTE: Read about polyphenols in Ashwagandha.
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