Studies Show That Palo Azul May Support Cardiovascular Health

antioxidants heart health

"Flavonoid intake is inversely correlated with mortality from cardiovascular disease"

Many of palo azul's health benefits have been attributed to the fact that it's rich in flavonoidsMost of us have probably heard about the antioxidant benefits of green tea that can help to promote weight loss, maintain healthy levels of blood pressure and cholesterol, etc. It's all thanks to flavonoids!

For example, a 2014 study on palo azul, mentioned that palo azul's "antioxidant activity may be attributed to the presence of phenolic and flavonoid compounds." This study concluded that “palo azul reduced the blood glucose, body weight, glycogen, HDL, levels of triglyceride, and cholesterol.”

What are flavonoids?

palo azul and fruits with flavonoids

Flavonoids are phytonutrients which are produced by vegetables, fruits, plants, bark, flowers, wine and tea. Thousands of studies have found numerous health benefits in flavonoids and these are attributed to their anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-aging, anti-hypertensive, anti-bacterial and anti-mutagenic properties. 

2021 study even found several phytochemicals in palo azul such as flavones, isoflavones, flavanones, phenolic compounds, chalcones and dihydrochalcones” which have been linked to its health benefits, highlighting “diureticantidiabetic, antiglycation, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial potential.”

 

1. Support Healthy Blood Pressure & Cholesterol

blood pressure meter

medical review which analyzed 161 studies found that "dietary flavonoids are associated with a lower risk of hypertension and CVD (cardiovascular disease).” The scientists also observed that “the blood pressure level was reduced in patients with hypertension” after greater consumption of flavonoids. 

Another medical review which analyzed 166 studies found that “flavonoids in tea may lower blood cholesterol concentrations and blood pressure, thereby providing some protection against cardiovascular disease.”

Moreover, the researchers found that the antioxidant property of flavonoids "inhibits LDL (cholesterol) oxidation.” They mention that "oxidative modification of LDL cholesterol is thought to play a key role during atherosclerosis."

Atherosclerosis is the build-up of fats, cholesterol, and other substances in and on the artery walls that cause obstruction of blood flow.

palo azul vs cardiovascular disease

2009 study explains the biological mechanisms of flavonoids in atherosclerosis:

“Flavonoids have been reported to beneficially impact parameters associated with atherosclerosis, including lipoprotein oxidation, blood platelet aggregation, and vascular reactivityFlavonoids have strong antioxidant properties and so can reduce oxidative stress related to cardiovascular disease. Flavonoids inhibit LDL oxidation via a mechanism involving scavenging of free radicals.”

What is lipoprotein oxidation, blood platelet aggregation and vascular reactivity?

blood platelets

Lipoprotein oxidation triggers inflammation leading to the formation of plaque in the arteries, also known as atherosclerosis. Oxidized LDL may also play a role in increasing the amount of triglycerides the body produces, as well as increasing the amount of fat deposited by the body.

Blood platelet aggregation measures how well platelets, a part of blood, clump together and cause blood to clot.

Vascular reactivity is broadly defined as the responsiveness of a blood vessel to a specific stimulus.

In other words...flavonoids may help to promote healthy levels of cholesterol, reduce fat storage, decrease blood clots, and improve blood flow because of their ability to scavenge free radicals. 

oxidative stress

What are free radicals?

Free radicals are atoms with a single valence electron that cause damage to the body associated with diabetes, cancer, aging, atherosclerosis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and many other diseases.

free radicals and oxidative stress formation

This happens because electrons like to be in pairs... and for this reason, free radicals look for "free" electrons in the body. This causes damage to cells, proteins, DNA and these damaged molecules can mutate, grow tumors, and damage the DNA code. Eventually, this cellular damage causes new cells to grow with defects and it will lead to aging and degenerative diseases. 

medical review supports the previous findings with the following conclusion: “Flavonoids can prevent injury caused by free radicals in various ways and one way is the direct scavenging of free radicals. This action protects the LDL particles and, theoretically, flavonoids may have preventive action against atherosclerosis.” 

  

2. Improve Endothelial Function

heart healthmedical review which analyzed 161 studies found that “consumption of flavonoids is associated with improvement in endothelial function via vascular endothelial nitric oxide synthase and protein kinase B (Akt) activation.”

The previously cited 2009 explains the beneficial effects of flavonoids in endothelial function:

“Studies have indicated the protective effects of flavonoids in cardiovascular diseases and these chemicals possess the bioactivity to positively affect against cardiovascular risk factors such as lipoprotein oxidation, dyslipidemia and endothelial dysfunction.

Dyslipidemia is elevation of plasma cholesterol and triglycerides that contribute to the development of atherosclerosis. This essentially means that flavonoids can help to promote healthy cholesterol levels.

What is endothelial dysfunction?

palo azul vs endothelial dysfunction or clogged arteries

The endothelium is a thin membrane that lines the inside of the heart and blood vessels. Endothelial cells release substances that control vascular relaxation and contraction, as well as enzymes that control blood clotting, immune function, and platelet adhesion.

Endothelial dysfunction has been shown to be important in predicting stroke and heart attacks due to the inability of the arteries to dilate completely. Dysfunction can result from high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and smoking.

2020 study explains that "endothelial function is a metric that reflects the production of endothelium-derived messengers that control vascular tone, blood flow, immune cell activity and adhesion, all of which play a role in regulating blood pressure." In other words...Healthy endothelial function = Cardiovascular health.

blood pressure meter

In fact, the researchers mention that "most markers of inflammation, obesity and cardiovascular risk are connected to endothelial function." Interestingly, they also said that "endothelial dysfunction is the first diagnosable clinical correlate of atherosclerosis."

Moreover, they state that "endothelial dysfunction is an early predictor of cardiovascular events or mortality since most cardiovascular diseases are connected to atherosclerosis, which in turn is directly associated with endothelial dysfunction."  

hands holding heart

The researchers of the 2009 study explain the following beneficial cardioprotective properties of flavonoids:

"Antioxidant, antithrombotic, anti-inflammatory, and hypolipidemic properties play a significant role in the lower cardiovascular mortality illustrated by increased flavonoid consumption. The cardioprotective role of tea is reported to be due to antioxidant effect of the flavonoids, which act as scavengers for free radicals."

What is antithrombotic and hypolipidemic?

Antithrombotic means that it reduces the formation of blood clots (thrombi). Antithrombotics can be used therapeutically for prevention or treatment of a dangerous blood clot.

Hypolipidemic means that it reduces the level of lipids and lipoproteins in the blood. Lipoproteins bind cholesterol and can accumulate in blood vessels. High levels of low-density lipoproteins LDL (bad cholesterol) have been associated with an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke.

In other words...flavonoids may help to reduce blood clots and bad cholesterol levels in the blood, thereby improving cardiovascular health. 

woman touching heart

The researchers also mention that epidemiological, clinical and animal studies reveal that “flavonoids may exert protective effects against various disease conditions including cardiovascular disease and cancer. Population studies have shown that flavonoid intake is inversely correlated with mortality from cardiovascular disease.”

Lastly, they conclude the following: 
“Continued studies of the mechanisms underlying the biological effects of plant flavonoids may provide new strategies for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease.”

palo azul and fruits flavonoids

Conclusion

In summary, palo azul may help to support healthy cardiovascular function because it's rich in flavonoids. These phytonutrients can help to inhibit oxidative stress, scavenge free radicals, and they've also shown anti-thrombotic and hypolipidemic activity. Because of these properties, flavonoids may help to lower lipoprotein oxidation, which is associated with reduced blood clots and lower bad cholesterol levels in the blood. Therefore, these mechanisms could improve endothelial function, which is a key metric for cardiovascular health.

Flavonoid-rich foods: apples, pears, onions, strawberries, blueberries, celery, peppers, and teas such as palo azul

applepearsonionsstrawberries and blueberriescelerypalo azul tea cup


magiktea palo azul logo

Scavenge those free radicals...
and stop lipoprotein oxidation! 😉
 

Clinical Studies

* Palo azul is commonly referred to by its scientific name: Eysenhardtia polystachya / E. polystachya / E.P - Cyclolepis genistoides / C. genistoides - kidney wood - palo dulce

 

(October 2021) Minocycline-Derived Silver Nanoparticles for Assessment of Their Antidiabetic Potential against Alloxan-Induced Diabetic Mice

(August 2021) Screening Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Flavanones Solutions

(2013) (Medical review: 166 studies) Chemistry and Biological Activities of Flavonoids: An Overview

(2016) (Medical Review: 161 studies) Flavonoids: an overview 

(2014) Evaluation of antidiabetic, antioxidant and antiglycating activities of the Eysenhardtia polystachya

(2010) Polyphenols and Aging

(2009) Chapter 18 -  Flavonoids and Cardiovascular Health