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Benefits There are numerous benefits to Purple Corn Extract and anthocyanins
Purple corn is one of the most powerful antioxidants found in nature. For example, purple corn has 4.5x the antioxidant activity as blueberries (and blueberries already have one of the highest levels of antioxidants of any food source)!
Antioxidants are substances that protect your cells against oxidative damage caused by free radicals, which are molecules produced when your body breaks down food or when you're exposed to cigarette smoke, air pollution, excessive sunlight, and radiation.
The antioxidant property of purple corn has been comprehensively evaluated in various free radical-scavenging assays, cellular studies in vitro, and human and animal studies in vivo.
Anthocyanins show antioxidant activity by scavenging free radicals, activating antioxidant enzymes, and chelating metal ions. Anthocyanins are recognized as one of the most effective natural antioxidants in the human body.
Anthocyanins also exert an intracellular antioxidant action through the modulation of cellular antioxidant defense systems.
(“The Antioxidant Power of Purple Corn”, Journal of Alternative & Complimentary Therapies, April 2007 and “Anthocyanins: From plant pigments to health benefits at mitochondrial level”, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, Nov 2019)
Enhances Mitochondrial Function
Cyanidin-3-glucoside (the most abundant anthocyanin found in Purple Corn Extract) enhances mitochondrial function and biogenesis, which translates to optimal cell and tissue performance, central to cellular support and healthy aging.
Anthocyanins sustain the structural integrity and functional activity of mitochondria, which are the main source of energy in cells. Mitochondria are also regarded as the convergence center of multiple extra- and intracellular signaling pathways leading to cell death or survival. The potential of anthocyanins to prevent mitochondrial damage and sustain their functions could be regarded as a promising pharmacological strategy with numerous health and longevity benefits.
(“Cyanidin-3-glucoside enhances mitochondrial function and biogenesis in a human hepatocyte cell line”, Cytotechnology (2018) 70:1519–1528 and “Anthocyanins: From plant pigments to health benefits at mitochondrial level”, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, Nov 2019)
Immune System Support
Anthocyanins have been shown to support the immune system and activate T-cell proliferation.
(“Polyphenols and Immune System”, Polyphenols: Prevention and Treatment of Human Disease, 2018 Elsevier Inc.)
Gut Microbiotia Health, ‘Leaky Gut’ Protection, & Antimicrobial Activity
Anthocyanins and other phenolic compounds found in purple corn extract have been shown to improve human gut health due to their modulation of the intestinal and microbiota ecosystem, including probiotic gut bacteria and antimicrobial activity against pathogenic bacteria.
Anthocyanins may help to protect against ‘Leaky Gut’, which is when the lining of the intestinal tract develops cracks or holes, setting the stage for tissue damage that leads to inflammation.
(“Phenolic Composition and Evaluation of the Antimicrobial Activity of Free and Bound Phenolic Fractions from a Peruvian Purple Corn (Zea mays L.) Accession”, Journal of Food Science, Vol. 00, Nr. 00, 2017 and “Efficacy of an Anthocyanin and Prebiotic Blend on Intestinal Environment in Obese Male and Female Subjects”, Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, Volume 2018)
Anthocyanins display anti-neuroinflammatory abilities by ameliorating the expression of proinflammatory cytokines, thus helping to protect the neurological system. Anthocyanins may also be neuroprotective as they have the capacity to defend neurons against oxidative stress and nitric oxide induced cell death.
(“Gut Microbiota, Its Role in Induction of Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology, and Possible Therapeutic Interventions: Special Focus on Anthocyanins”, Cells 2020, 9, 853 and “Chemical Basis for the Disparate Neuroprotective Effects of the Anthocyanins, Callistephin and Kuromanin, Against Nitrosative Stress”, Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 10 December 2016)
Oral supplementation of anthocyanins has been shown to have cardioprotective effects.
(“Anthocyanins: A Comprehensive Review of Their Chemical Properties and Health Effects on Cardiovascular and Neurodegenerative Diseases”, Molecules 2020, 25, 3809)
Obesity & Metabolic Protection
Anthocyanins have been shown to improve key cellular processes such as cellular metabolism, improved adaptability to stress, increased fitness, and resistance to obesity, through inhibition of protease activators.
(“Beneficial Effects of Anthocyanin From Natural Products on Lifestyle-Related Diseases Through Inhibition of Protease Activities”, Studies in Natural Products Chemistry, Vol. 58, 2018)
Eye & Vision Support
Anthocyanins have been shown to support the human eye and vision.
(“Anthocyanins and anthocyanin-rich extracts: role in diabetes and eye function”, Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2007;16 (2):200-208)
Absorption in the Body
Once ingested, anthocyanins are found in the blood stream within minutes of consumption in humans, suggesting they can be quickly absorbed from the stomach. They can be absorbed in their intact form into the gastrointestinal wall and undergo extensive first-pass metabolism and enter the blood stream in high concentrations, where they are then distributed to target tissues, exerting their biological functions.
(“Bioavailability of anthocyanins “, Drug Metabolism Reviews, 2014; 46(4): 508–520)
Anthocyanins have been shown to increase Sirtuin-6 (SIRT6) activity, which may be the most important sirtuin for increased lifespan, DNA-repair, metabolism, and inflammatory response reduction.
SIRT6, also known as the “longevity sirtuin”, has been shown to help maintain NAD+ levels in our bodies as we age.
Sirtuins are protein enzymes that regulate numerous cellular functions and are crucial components of cellular health. There are 7 different types of sirtuins (Sirtuin-1 to Sirtuin-7).
(“Natural polyphenols as sirtuin 6 modulators”, Scientific Reports, 2018, 8:4163 and “Restoration of energy homeostasis by SIRT6 extends healthy lifespan”, Nature Communications, 2021, 12:3208)
Anthocyanins have been shown to induce apoptosis, which is a natural and orderly process in which old, damaged, and potentially dangerous cells are systematically discarded (programmed cell death). This process is crucial for cellular health.
(“Health benefits of anthocyanins and molecular mechanisms: Update from recent decade”, Critical Review in Food Science and Nutrition, 2017, Vol. 57, No. 8, 1729–1741)
Senolytic Compounds (Cellular Senescence Reversal)
Anthocyanins have been shown to display anti-SASP (senescence-associated secretory phenotype) properties.
Healthy cells continually divide to replace old and damaged tissue. However, as we age, some cells stop dividing, which is known as “cellular senescence”. These senescent cells damage the healthy cells around them, and this leads to a number of age-related diseases. Senolytic compounds, responsible for cellular senescence reversal, are critical components in healthy aging and cellular optimization.
(“Anti-senescence compounds: A potential nutraceutical approach to healthy aging”, Ageing Research Reviews 46 (2018) 14–31)
Purple corn extract has been shown to reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are associated with numerous age-related diseases and systemic inflammation.
(“Purple corn extract induces long‑lasting reprogramming and M2 phenotypic switch of adipose tissue macrophages in obese mice”, Journal of Transitional Medicine, (2019) 17:237)
Anti-Mutagen (Protects Against DNA Mutations)
The anthocyanins and phenolic compounds in purple corn extract have proved to be effective anti-mutagens, which protect against DNA mutations.
Mutagens create genetic mutations, usually in DNA. A mutagen can be physical, chemical, or biological. DNA mutations disrupt normal genetic activity and can lead to a number of diseases.
An anti-mutagen reduces the rate of mutation.
(“Antimutagenic and Antioxidant Properties of Phenolic Fractions from Andean Purple Corn”, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Vol. 54, 200, 4557-4567)
Chemotherapy & Radiotherapy Support
Anthocyanins from purple corn have been shown to protect against myocardial damages induced by Doxorubicin, an anthracycline widely used as chemotherapeutic drug against a variety of cancer types. Purple corn extract does not affect the cytotoxic effects of Doxorubicin on tumor cells, suggesting it as a beneficial functional food for patients subjected to anthracycline chemotherapy.
Purple corn extract has proved its safety in humans in a clinical trial on breast cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy.
(“Dietary cyanidin 3-glucoside from purple corn ameliorates doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity in mice”, Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, February 2017 and “Dietary anthocyanins and health: data from FLORA and ATHENA EU projects”, British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, Vol. 83, 2017, 103–106)
Anti-Allodynic Pain Relief
The anthocyanins in purple corn extract have been shown to modulate microglia reactivity in the Central Nervous System and have anti-allodynic effects.
Allodynia is a condition in which pain is caused by a stimulus that does not normally elicit pain. For example, bad sunburn can cause temporary allodynia, and touching sunburned skin, or running cold or warm water over it, can be very painful.
Purple corn extract could prove beneficial in limiting pain responses to acute conditions which hopefully won’t develop into chronic situations with preventative measures.
(“Purple Corn Extract as Anti-allodynic Treatment for Trigeminal Pain: Role of Microglia”, Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, November 2018, Volume 12, Article 378)
Suppresses Cellular Inflammation
Purple corn extract and anthocyanins have been shown to debilitate high-glucose-induced mesangial inflammation, expansion, and hyperplasia by disturbing the inflammatory action of interleukin-8 (IL-8).
Cyanidin-3-glucoside (C3G) is the most abundant type of anthocyanin in purple corn extract. C3G has exhibited strong anti-inflammatory properties by efficiently inhibiting COX-1 and COX-2 enzyme activity; Cyclooxygenase (COX) is a well-known inflammatory protein whose abnormal up-regulation is commonly found in many cancers.
C3G was found to suppress zymosan-induced inflammatory response when orally administered.
In a lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation study usingRAW264.7 cells, C3G suppressed the production of proinflammatory cytokines.
Another study on cytokine-induced inflammatory response in HT- 29 human intestinal cells showed that C3G presented higher anti-inflammation efficiency than 5-aminosalicylic acid, a well-established anti-inflammatory drug, in reducing NO, PGE2, IL-8 production, and iNOS and COX-2 expressions.
(“Health Benefits of Purple Corn (Zea mays L.) Phenolic Compounds”, Vol. 00, 2017, Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety)
Purple Corn Extract has been shown to increase AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK).
AMPK is a central regulator of energy homeostasis, which coordinates metabolic pathways and thus balances nutrient supply with energy demand. Because of the favorable physiological outcomes of AMPK activation on metabolism, AMPK has been considered to be an important therapeutic target for healthy aging.
(“Anti-diabetic effect of purple corn extract on C57BL/KsJ db/db mice”, Nutrition Research and Practice 2015;9(1):22-29 and “AMPK activators: mechanisms of action and physiological activities”, Experimental & Molecular Medicine, 2016, 48)