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Flavonoids and l-arginine: Potent Combination for Endothelial Health
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By themselves, flavonoids found in foods modestly lower blood pressure, have anti-oxidant action, relax arteries, and may protect from inflammation and cancer. Combine them with l-arginine and you’ve got an especially powerful synergistic combination for your plaque control program.

There’s a lively on-going conversation in scientific circles about the health benefits of flavonoids, the naturally-occurring compounds found at highest concentrations in deeply-colored vegetables and fruits. Flavonoids are believed to possess anti-cancer, anti-hypertensive, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. They are likely a major part of the reason that the Mediterranean diet (rich in vegetables, fruits, olive oil, and red wine) reduces heart attack risk by a remarkable 70%.

Another eye-opening display of the flavonoid’s heart benefits was from the Zutphen Elderly Study from the National Institute of Public Health in the Netherlands. 805 men participated and flavonoid content of their diet tabulated at the start. (Average flavonoid intake was 25.9 mg per day, mostly from tea, onions, and apples.) Over the next five years, 81 men died or had a heart attack. Even after accounting for body weight, exercise levels, smoking, and cholesterol, the group of men with the highest flavonoid intake had less than half the risk of heart attack or death of the group with the lowest flavonoid intake. Similar observations of flavonoids’ protective effects have been made in other studies.

More than 4000 different flavonoids have been identified and fall into six major groups: flavonols, flavones, flavonones, catechins, anthocyanidins, and isoflavonoids. Obviously, humans do not need to obtain all 4000 flavonoids to maintain health. Is there a specific combination that provides outsized benefits? Are these obtainable in optimal quantities by selecting foods rich in the “right” flavonoids”?

The answers are still not entirely clear. But one very interesting issue is beginning to crystallize that may be helpful to our plaque control efforts.

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