While these vibrant, stable pigments hold enormous promise for the color and dye industry, research has identified a second, immensely powerful benefit—anthocyanins are also powerful antioxidants.
Free radicals are atoms with an odd number of electrons—a chemical structure that makes them highly reactive and inherently unstable. To gain stability, they capture electrons from the body’s healthy cells, which can disrupt normal cell function and lead to cell damage.
Free radicals are present in the body as a result of:
- Normal metabolism
- An immune response to viruses and bacteria
- Exposure to pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke, and chemical herbicides
"There is some evidence that chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease may occur as a result of oxidative stress. An overall feature of anthocyanins is their natural electron deficiency, which makes them particularly reactive toward [free radicals]."
-Functional Ingredients, The chemistry of anthocyanins
, by Fabio Galvano, July, 2005.
In other words, antioxidants stabilize harmful free radicals by donating one of their own electrons, and preventing the damage they might otherwise cause. Despite being composed of an odd number of electrons, antioxidants are uniquely able to remain in a stable state.
Common antioxidants include:
- Vitamins A, C, and E
- Beta Carotene
- Flavonoids, including anthocyanins
To date, researchers have identified over 600 types of anthocyanins.
Suntava Purple Corn contains three powerful anthocyanin antioxidants—Cyanidin-3-Glucoside (C3G), Pelargonidin, and Peonidin. Like other anthocyanins, they exhibit radical-scavenging properties, protecting our cells from oxidative damage and reducing our risk of cancer and heart disease.
A number of studies suggest that Cyanidin-3-Glucoside:
- Improves blood vessel function and cardiovascular health
- Lowers LDL cholesterol
- Improves vision
- Inhibits the growth of colon and lung cancer cells
- Minimizes the effects of aging
- Prevents obesity and diabetes
Some studies show that Pelargonidin:
- Exhibits anti-diabetic effects
Research indicates that Peonidin:
- Inhibits the growth of cancer cells
- Exhibits anti-inflammatory properties
Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, Molecular Mechanisms Behind the Chemopreventive Effects of Anthocyanidins
. 2004; 2004(5): 321-325.
Functional Ingredients, The chemistry of anthocyanins
, by Fabio Galvano, July, 2005.
British Journal of Nutrition, Absorption, tissue distribution and excretion of pelargonidin and its metabolites following oral administration to rats
. 2006, 95, 51-58.
European Journal of Cancer, Anthocyanins from fruits and vegetables--Does bright colour signal cancer chemopreventive activity?
. 2005, 41, 1931-1940.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Peonidin Inhibits Phorbol-Ester--Induced COX-2 Expression and Transformation in JB6 P Cells by Blocking Phosphorylation of ERK-1 and -2
. 2007, 1095: 513-520.
The Journal of Nutrition, Dietary Cyanidin 3-O-ß-D-Glucoside-Rich Purple Corn Color Prevents Obesity and Ameliorates Hyperglycemia in Mice
, 133:2125-2130, July 2003.
Cancer Letters, Mulberry anthocyanins, cyanidin 3-rutinoside and cyanidin 3-glucoside, exhibited an inhibitory effect on the migration and invasion of a human lung cancer cell line,
Volume 235, Issue 2, Pages 248-259.
J. Nutr Sci Vitaminol, Cyanidin 3-O-beta-Glucoside suppresses nitric oxide production during a zymosan treatment in rats,
Cancer Letters, Mulberry anthocyanins, cyanidin 3-rutinoside and cyanidin 3-glucoside, exhibited an inhibitory effect on the migration and invasion of human lung cancer cell lines,