Anthocyanins are the active component in several herbal folk medicines such as bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), which was used in the 12th century to induce menstruation and later to improve eye sight. Our scientists are now discovering the in vivo mechanisms of such anthocyanins, and appreciation of their enormous health benefits continues to increase.
Anthocyanins link with sugar molecules to form anthocyanins; after chlorophyll, anthocyanins are probably the most important group of visible plant pigments. Anthocyanins, a flavonoid category, have been found to be one of the strongest antioxidants among the 4000 flavonoids we currently know about.
In vivo studies have proven anthocyanidins to express their antioxidant power through a recycling effect with the body’s own, most important antioxidant, glutathione. Vitamin C and vitamin E, which in vitro are very strong antioxidants, do not retain this effect, hence displaying only a fraction of the antioxidant effect compared to anthocyanidins in man.
In animal studies, the anthocyanin cyanidin has proven to protect cell membrane lipids from oxidation by a variety of harmful substances.Additional animal studies confirm that cyanidin is four times more powerful an antioxidant than vitamin E. The anthocyanin pelargonidin protects the amino acid tyrosine from the highly reactive oxidant peroxynitrite.
As anthocyanins have recently been shown to possess very strong anti-inflammatory properties (NF-KappaB), and as there is a synergic link between oxidation, chronic inflammation and the metabolic syndrome, the potential pharmaceutical applications of the Biolink Group’s synthetic anthocyanins have increased manifold over the last few years.