Efficacy of flavonoids in the management of high blood pressure

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Plant compounds such as flavonoids have been reported to exert beneficial effects in cardiovascular disease, including hypertension. Information on the effects of isolated individual flavonoids for management of high blood pressure, however, is more limited. This review is focused on the flavonoids, as isolated outside of the food matrix, from the 5 main subgroups consumed in the Western diet (flavones, flavonols, flavanones, flavan-3-ols, and anthocyanins), along with their effects on hypertension, including the potential mechanisms for regulating blood pressure. Flavonoids from all 5 subgroups have been shown to attenuate a rise in or to reduce blood pressure during several pathological conditions (hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes mellitus). Flavones, flavonols, flavanones, and flavanols were able to modulate blood pressure by restoring endothelial function, either directly, by affecting nitric oxide levels, or indirectly, through other pathways. Quercetin had the most consistent blood pressure–lowering effect in animal and human studies, irrespective of dose, duration, or disease status. However, further research on the safety and efficacy of the flavonoids is required before any of them can be used by humans, presumably in supplement form, at the doses required for therapeutic benefit.

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