Flavonoids reduced stroke
Most stroke is ischemic, meaning a blood clot blocks a vessel to the brain. Fatty deposits lining vessel walls are the main cause. In this study, doctors followed 55,169 adults, aged 52 to 60, with no history of ischemic stroke, and an average of 496 mg of flavonoids per day in the diet.
During 21 years of follow-up, those who got the most flavonoids, flavonols, and flavanol oligo-polymers were 10 to 18 percent less likely to have had an ischemic stroke.
Doctors adjusted for factors including demographics and lifestyle, and found that a total flavonoid intake of about 500 mg per day significantly decreased chances for ischemic stroke.
Reference: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; 2021, Vol. 114, No. 1, 348-57
Green tea for diabetic neuropathy
Long-term high blood sugar in diabetes damages nerves throughout the body, often affecting feet and legs first, followed by hands and arms. In this study, 194 people with the condition, known as diabetic peripheral neuropathy, took a placebo or a daily green tea extract.
At four weeks, pain scores, nerve function, and the ability to feel sensations in the limbs were similar in both groups. Beginning at week eight, those taking green tea saw improved pain scores, nerve function, and ability to feel sensations in the peripheries compared to placebo. These improvements in pain, nerve, and sensations in the limbs continued to increase through the end of the 16-week study.
Reference: Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice; 2021, Vol. 43, 101317
Vitamin K and flavonoids improve heart and circulatory health
Vitamin K reduced hospitalizations in circulatory conditions
Fats and cholesterols can build up on artery walls, reducing blood flow, in a type of heart condition called atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). In this study, doctors analyzed findings from a large trial covering 53,372 adult men and women over a 23-year period.
Overall, those who got the highest amounts of vitamins K1 and K2 were 21 percent less likely to be hospitalized with ASCVD. For vitamin K2, chances were 14 percent lower. The benefits of vitamin K appeared in all forms of heart and circulatory conditions, but were particularly beneficial in peripheral artery disease—arteries other than those serving the heart and brain—reducing these hospitalizations by 34 percent.
Doctors believe vitamin K protects against calcium buildup in arteries, and recommend increasing current daily intake guidelines.
Reference: Journal of AHA; 2021, Vol. 10, No. 16, e020551
Flavonoids improve blood pressure
Beneficial bacteria in the gut microbiome break down flavonoids and enhance their capacity to protect the heart and circulatory system. In this first flavonoid-microbiome-blood pressure study, doctors measured flavonoids in the diets of 904 men and women, aged 25 to 82, and compared them to DNA microbiome bacteria samples.
After an overnight fast, doctors took three blood pressure measurements, three minutes apart. Those with the highest levels of flavonoids had lower blood pressure and greater microbiome diversity compared to those who got the least flavonoids in the diet.
Doctors said microbiome diversity from high flavonoid levels accounted for about 15 percent of the improvement in systolic blood pressure.
Reference: Hypertension; 2021, Vol. 78, No. 4, 1016-26