You may have heard of flavonoids as health-promoting compounds. However, you may not be familiar with fisetin, a flavonol found in plants and plant-based foods. It is not a well-known flavonoid, and it only occurs in trace amounts, but it helps us live longer and healthier lives.
Fisetin is a naturally occurring substance found in fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, apples, grapes, onions, and cucumbers.
Fisetin is a type of flavonoid. Flavonoids are compounds that give fruits and vegetables their bright colors (such as yellow, orange, and blue) and play a significant role in conferring the health benefits that come with eating more vegetables and fruits.
As such, how is fisetin good for our health?
Benefits of Fisetin
Fisetin is a polyphenolic molecule with medical and therapeutic potential. This means it has the potential to improve our physiological well-being in a variety of ways.
Much of this information is based on studies conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information and the Journal of Basic and Clinical Health Sciences.
Fisetin's antioxidant properties
Flavonols are fantastic antioxidant activators in our bodies. Fisetin is one such flavonol.
Antioxidants protect human cells from oxidative stress. It occurs when there is an excess of oxygen reactive species (ROS) in cells, preventing your body from properly expelling toxins.
Our bodies produce small amounts of ROS naturally through cellular metabolism, but we can accumulate large amounts from environmental stressors such as pollution. This results in an imbalance of ROS in our systems, which can cause cell and tissue damage, as well as contribute to the development of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) like cancer.
Antioxidants protect our cells and systems from toxins, stressors, and harmful molecules, which aid in the fight against oxidative stress. We can reduce oxidative stress in our bodies and delay or prevent NCDs by eating foods with antioxidative properties (for example, foods containing fisetin).
Fisetin has anti-inflammatory properties.
Inflammation occurs in our bodies as a prolonged, impaired immune response to an external trigger. Infections and viruses can cause inflammation, which in turn can cause conditions like cardiovascular disease or cancer.
Fisetin, in particular, has shown promise as an anti-inflammatory agent. This is the result of a greater emphasis on nutraceuticals (and other bioactive dietary agents) found in foods like fruits, vegetables, and spices. Fisetin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may aid in the prevention or reduction of inflammation in the body.
Fisetin as a chemotherapeutic
Cancer is a disease that involves the uncontrolled proliferation of harmful cells in the body, including invasion, angiogenesis, and metastasis. There are several therapeutic treatments available today, but they all have negative side effects, such as causing damage to healthy cells.
Fisetin appears to work synergistically with cancer treatments, increasing cancer cell death while suppressing invasion and metastasis. It can also target tumor cells while causing no harm to the normal cells that surround the tumors.
Fisetin and cardiovascular health
Flavonoids have been shown in studies to improve cardiovascular health. They may, in particular, help to prevent or manage cardiovascular diseases like hypertension. Flavonols influenced nitric oxide levels, which help modulate and lower blood pressure.
Flavonoid consumption is also linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and death from any cause. This is true even in a study group with a low intake of flavonoid-rich foods like soy, tea, and cocoa. According to the findings of this study, a higher dietary percentage of flavonoids may be associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular mortality.
Fisetin and neurological health
Fisetin has been shown in laboratory studies on rats to be the most effective flavonoid for neuroprotection.
Rats fed a fisetin-enriched diet, for example, improved significantly in learning and memory. It also improved long-term memory and acted as an antidepressant by increasing serotonin and noradrenaline production. Furthermore, rats given strawberry extract performed better in terms of spatial memory.
Meanwhile, in rats with a Parkinson's disease model, fisetin improved mitochondrial enzyme activity and delayed disease onset.
Sources of Fisetin
Fisetin, like many other flavonoids, is found naturally in fruits and vegetables. Popular sources of fisetin as a flavonol include strawberries, berries, tomatoes, onions, grapes scallions and apples.
Limitations of fisetin and health
There hasn't been a lot of research done on the long-term effects of fisetin - particularly fisetin supplements - on the human body. This means that researchers and scientists are still unsure whether increased consumption of fisetin is harmful. Animal and laboratory studies have shown promising results, but clinical trials have been limited.
There is also no established dosage for fisetin, despite the fact that naturally occurring levels in foods are low. Strawberries have 160g of fisetin per gram, while onions have 4.8g/g and grapes have 3.9g/g.
Fisetin and Longevity
Fisetin has several other benefits, including senolytic activity and diabetes modulation, but research is limited. Nonetheless, as scientific attention shifts to nutraceuticals as alternative medical treatments, more research into the effects of fisetin on our overall health may be conducted.
Meanwhile, there's no harm in incorporating foods like strawberries, onions, and apples into your diet; they're not only good for your health, but they're also delicious!
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