Nutrition Intelligence – Glossary – Antioxidants, Vitamins, Phytochemicals

Glossary of Terms you may find useful. Got something you can add? Just post a comment with the details.

A

Antioxidants Group of nutrients (vitamins, minerals, enzymes, phyto-nutrients, phyto-chemicals) which help protect your body from free radicals (caused by normal body functions, aging, pollutants, pesticides, antibiotic use and other factors).

Adaptogen – That which helps boost, balance and normalize functions in your body.

B

Bioflavanoids – Sometimes referred to as Vitamin P, these help to enhance the absorption of Vitamin C. The human body does not produce these so they must be supplied by your diet. They help to promote circulation, stimulate bile production, and act with Vitamin C to preserve and protect the structure of capillary blood vessels.

D

Demulcent – Helps to soothe and relieve internal inflammation.

E

Emollient – Helps to soothe and soften inflamed tissue

F

Free Radicals – A single or group of unstable molecules/atoms that can cause damage to cells, leading to breakdown and disease. Visualize and apple – when you cut it and leave the cut surface exposed to air.It turns brown, almost like it’s rusting. Oxidization has occurred. In a similar way unstable oxygen molecules in your body are the free radicals that cause your unprotected organs to “rust” and breakdown.

P

Phytochemicals – Literally meaning “plant chemicals”, phytochemicals are protective food factors derived from a variety of plant sources. Phtyochemicals have powerful health benefits. Whenever there is plant life, phytochemicals protect plants from attack by their enemies in the environment, like bacteria, viruses, radiation and insects. Research is now showing that we can benefit from these life-sustaining qualities as well. Good news for us. Plants have been in existence much longer than man and know much more about survival. Research indicates that phytochemicals can provide protection against some types of cancer.

T

Tonic – A product that is strengthening and invigorating.

V

Vitamins really deserve there own glossary! Vitamins are organic chemicals that are necessary for growth, metabolism, and overall health and well-being. Vitamins originate in food, and are categorized as either fat soluble (meaning they can be stored in the body for long periods of time) OR water soluble (these pass easily through our bodies, cannot be stored, must be replenished daily).

Vitamin A – Also known as Beta Carotene, a fat-soluble vitamin essential for cell growth, development, reproduction, and immunity. It is stored primarily in the liver and is considered one of the most potent antioxidants.

Vitamin B1 – Also known as Thiamine, a water-soluble vitamin, beneficial to the nervous system. It helps to convert blood sugar (glucose) into energy.

Vitamin B2 – Also known as Riboflavin, a water-soluble vitamin which helps with energy production. It must be replaced constantly. It is the most common deficiency.

Vitamin B3 – Also known as Niacin, a water-soluble vitamin, a major player against heart disease. It helps to lower cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Vitamin B6 – Also known as Pyridoxine, this water-soluble vitamin goes through the body in only 8 hours. It is needed for red-blood cell production and cellular growth. It also plays a key role in the immune system and antibody production.

Vitamin B12 – Also known as Cyanocobalamin, a water-soluble vitamin known for its energizing capabilities. It is essential for nerve tissue, promotes growth, memory and regenerates red blood cells.

Vitamin B15 – Also known as Pantothenic Acid, this water-soluble vitamin helps protect against cardiovascular disease as ell as helping with symptoms of arthritis. It helps encourage healing, protects the liver and immune system.

Biotin -This water-soluble vitamin is essential for the metabolism of vitamin C, fat and protein. It helps with healthy hair, skin and nails.

Vitamin C – This water-soluble vitamin is essential for formation of collagen (exists between cells to hold tissue together). It is necessary for growth and integrity of bones, blood vessels, teeth and gums. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and has many powerful properties; anti-cancer, prevention of blood clots.

Vitamin D – This is a fat-soluble vitamin that the skin can produce on its own when exposed to direct sunlight. In only 15 minutes a day, your body can manufacture all it needs. It is not very abundant in food, and is stored in the liver for future use.

Vitamin E – This fat-soluble vitamin is stored in many places; the heart, liver, reproductive organs, fatty tissue, and muscles. It basically works for the nervous system. It is a potent antioxidant, and helps to combat heart disease, by keeping good cholesterol (HDL) high, blood thin and blood pressure low.


Boost Your Green Tea with Lemon Juice

 

November 13, 2007 – News release from Purdue University

Citrus juice, vitamin C give staying power to green tea antioxidants


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – To get more out of your next cup of tea, just add juice.

A study found that citrus juices enable more of green tea’s unique antioxidants to remain after simulated digestion, making the pairing even healthier than previously thought.

The study compared the effect of various beverage additives on catechins, naturally occurring antioxidants found in tea. Results suggest that complementing green tea with either citrus juices or vitamin C likely increases the amount of catechins available for the body to absorb.

“Although these results are preliminary, I think it’s encouraging that a big part of the puzzle comes down to simple chemistry,” said Mario Ferruzzi, assistant professor of food science at Purdue University and the study’s lead author.

Catechins (pronounced KA’-teh-kins), display health-promoting qualities and may be responsible for some of green tea’s reported health benefits, like reduced risk of cancer, heart attack and stroke. The problem, Ferruzzi said, is that catechins are relatively unstable in non-acidic environments, such as the intestines, and less than 20 percent of the total remains after digestion.

“Off the bat you are eliminating a large majority of the catechins from plain green tea,” Ferruzzi said. “We have to address this fact if we want to improve bodily absorption.”

Ferruzzi tested juices, creamers and other additives that are either commonly added to fresh-brewed tea or used to make ready-to-drink tea products by putting them through a model simulating gastric and small-intestinal digestion. Citrus juice increased recovered catechin levels by more than five times, the study found. Ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, used to increase shelf life in ready-to-drink products, increased recovered levels of the two most abundant catechins by sixfold and 13-fold, respectively.

The study, published this month in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, also found that soy, dairy and rice milk appeared to have moderate stabilizing effects. But Ferruzzi said the result is misleading; a chemical interaction between milk proteins and tea catechins apparently helps shelter the complex from degradation, a force likely overcome by enzymes within a healthy human digestive system.

Lemons and tea go even better together than their popularity might suggest. Lemon juice caused 80 percent of tea’s catechins to remain, the study found. Following lemon, in terms of stabilizing power, were orange, lime and grapefruit juices. Ferruzzi said both vitamin C and citrus juices must interact with catechins to prevent their degradation in the intestines, although data made it clear that citrus juices have stabilizing effects beyond what would be predicted solely based on their vitamin C content.

“If you want more out of your green tea, add some citrus juice to your cup after brewing or pick a ready-to-drink product formulated with ascorbic acid,” Ferruzzi said.

Ready-to-drink green tea products should optimally contain 100-200 mg of catechins, but oftentimes do not have sufficient levels of tea extract since some people do not like green tea’s flavor, Ferruzzi said.

Although this study only examined green tea, Ferruzzi said he suspects that some of the results also could apply to black tea, which is produced by fermenting green tea. Many prefer black tea’s flavor, although it contains lower total levels of catechins.

Studies have shown catechins from the green tea plant, Camellia sinensis, are able to detoxify toxic chemicals, inhibit cancer cell activity and stimulate production of immune-strengthening enzymes. Finding methods to improve uptake of these catechins may, therefore, be important in improving health, part of the study’s goal, Ferruzzi said.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Ferruzzi currently is conducting an in vivo study, or study on a live organism, to quantify the ability of juices and vitamin C to increase levels of catechins in the intestines and bloodstream of animals and, by extension, in humans. He collaborates with the NIH-funded Purdue Botanicals Research Center on this project.

“This next study is designed to get us past the limitations imposed by our digestive model, which is really just a simple screening process that relies on preset physiology parameters,” he said. “Human digestion is a lot more complicated.”

To see if juices and vitamin C actually increase catechin absorption, researchers will have to find out if increased levels of intestinal catechins translate to higher levels of absorbed catechins in live animals and humans. They also will need to better document effects upon catechin metabolism in order to prove, for instance, that increased levels of absorbed catechins are not leveled off by metabolic factors, Ferruzzi said.

“This study tells us a lot of interesting things, but it raises many questions that have yet to be answered,” he said.

Writer: Douglas M. Main, (765) 496-2050, dmain@purdue.edu

Source: Mario Ferruzzi, (765) 494-0625, mferruzz@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Beth Forbes, forbes@purdue.edu

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