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Nutraceutical Value of Citrus Flavanones and Their Implications in Cardiovascular Disease

by Lara Testai 1,2,* and Vincenzo Calderone 1,2
Department of Farmacia, University of Pisa, via Bonanno, 6 56120 Pisa, Italy
Interdepartmental Center of Nutrafood, University of Pisa, via Del Borghetto, 80 56124 Pisa, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2017, 9(5), 502;
Received: 29 March 2017 / Revised: 8 May 2017 / Accepted: 10 May 2017 / Published: 16 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Polyphenol-Rich Foods on Human Health)
Background- Cardiovascular diseases, including myocardial infarction, dyslipidaemia and coronary artery pathology, are a major cause of illness and death in Western countries. Therefore, identifying effective therapeutic approaches and their cellular signalling pathways is a challenging goal for medicine. In this regard, several epidemiological studies demonstrate a relationship between the intake of flavonoid-rich foods and the reduction of cardiovascular risk factors and mortality. In particular, flavonoids present in citrus fruits, such as oranges, bergamots, lemons and grapefruit (95% from flavanones), are emerging for their considerable nutraceutical value. Methods- In this review an examination of literature was performed while considering both epidemiological, clinical and pre-clinical evidence supporting the beneficial role of the flavanone class. We evaluated studies in which citrus fruit juices or single flavanone administration and cardiovascular risk factors were analysed; to identify these studies, an electronic search was conducted in PUBMED for papers fulfilling these criteria and written in English. Results- In addition to epidemiological evidence and clinical studies demonstrating that fruits in the Citrus genus significantly reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease risk, pre-clinical investigations highlight cellular and subcellular targets that are responsible for these beneficial effects. There has been special attention on evaluating intracellular pathways involved in direct cardiovascular and cardiometabolic effects mediated by naringenin, hesperetin and eriodictyol or their glycosylated derivatives. Conclusions- Although some mechanisms of action remain unclear and bioavailability problems remain to be solved, the current evidence supports the use of a nutraceutical approach with citrus fruits to prevent and cure several aspects of cardiovascular disease. View Full-Text
Keywords: citrus flavonoids; cardiovascular benefit; nutraceutical value citrus flavonoids; cardiovascular benefit; nutraceutical value
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MDPI and ACS Style

Testai, L.; Calderone, V. Nutraceutical Value of Citrus Flavanones and Their Implications in Cardiovascular Disease. Nutrients 2017, 9, 502.

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