The Potential Benefits of Hesperidin

What you need to know about this citrus antioxidant

People drinking orange juice
Food sources of hesperidin include orange juice. Betsie Van Der Meer/Taxi/Getty Images

Hesperidin is a bioflavonoid (a type of plant pigment with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects) found primarily in unripe citrus fruit. Oranges, grapefruit, lemon, and tangerines contains hesperidin, and it is also available in supplement form. 

Why Do People Use It?

Hesperidin is thought to have beneficial effects on blood vessels. It's touted as a natural remedy for a number of health problems, including: allergieshemorrhoidshigh blood pressure, hot flashes, hay fever, sinusitis, symptoms associated with menopausal changes, premenstrual syndrome, and varicose veins.

Hesperidin is also said to improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and help fight cancer.

Benefits

Research on the health effects of hesperidin is fairly limited. However, there's some evidence that hesperidin may offer certain benefits. Here's a look at some key study findings:

1) Heart Health

Consumption of citrus fruit has been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Several clinical trials exploring hesperidin's effect on cardiovascular disease markers have yielded mixed results.

A 2015 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, for instance, investigated the effect of six weeks of hesperidin supplementation on blood vessels in people who were overweight. While there was no significant change in flow-mediated dilation (a test used to measure artery, or endothelial, function) overall, the subset of people with relatively healthy endothelial function had significant improvement after eating a high-fat meal compared to those who took the placebo.

A single dose of hesperidin may not reduce cardiovascular risk markers in men at moderate heart disease risk, suggests a 2015 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. After a single dose of hesperidin from orange juice or a supplement, no effects were observed on cardiovascular risk markers (such as endothelial function, blood pressure, and artery stiffness).

 

However, regular hesperidin consumption may decrease blood pressure and improve blood vessel function in people who are overweight, suggests a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2015. After four weeks of daily consumption of orange juice or a hesperidin beverage, participants' diastolic blood pressure was significantly lower and endothelial function (after eating a meal) was significantly improved.

Hesperidin shows promise for people who have had a heart attack, suggests a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition in 2015. For the study, people who had a myocardial infarction took either a hesperidin supplement or a placebo for four weeks. At the study's end, those who took the hesperidin had significantly decreased levels of some of the inflammatory markers.

2) Cognitive Health

Consumption of a citrus bioflavonoid-rich orange juice may benefit cognitive function in healthy older adults, according to a small study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2015. Cognitive function was significantly better after eight weeks consumption of a bioflavonoid-rich juice compared to eight weeks of a low-bioflavonoid drink.

 

3) Hemorrhoids

In a 2015 study in Techniques in Coloproctology, a supplement containing a combination of bioflavonoids (hesperidin, diosmin, and troxerutin) was found to aid in the treatment of hemorrhoids. For the study, 134 people with acute hemorrhoids were treated with either the hesperidin/diosmin/troxerutin combination or a placebo for 12 days.

Compared to those taking the placebo, people who took the bioflavonoids experienced a significant reduction in pain and bleeding. The proportion of people who reported the persistence of swelling and thrombosis also decreased significantly. After six days, the amount of oral pain medication taken by those taking the bioflavonoids was also lower.

 

Possible Side Effects

Hesperidin may trigger a number of side effects, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, contact dermatitis, and nausea.

Hesperidin supplements may not be safe for people taking certain medications (including anticoagulants, blood pressure drugs, and calcium channel blockers). Therefore, it's important to consult your physician if you're considering using hesperidin in combination with other medications. 

Clinical research suggests that hesperidin may affect blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding. People taking anticoagulant/antiplatelet medications, those with bleeding disorders, and people two weeks before or after surgery shouldn't take hesperidin.

There was a reported case of thrombocytopenic purpura (a disorder that can lead to easy or excessive bleeding or bruising) associated with the use of two supplements containing mainly citrus bioflavonoids.

Supplements haven't been tested for safety and due to the fact that dietary supplements are largely unregulated, the content of some products may differ from what is specified on the product label. Also keep in mind that the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. You can also get tips on using supplements here, but keep in mind that self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

The Takeaway

While increasing your intake of citrus fruits may be of some benefit, they shouldn't be used as a substitute for treatment or healthy lifestyle practices. If you're still thinking of trying hesperidin, be sure to speak with your primary care provider first to weigh the pros and cons and discuss whether it's appropriate for you. 

Sources:

Giannini I, Amato A, Basso L, et al. Flavonoids mixture (diosmin, troxerutin, hesperidin) in the treatment of acute hemorrhoidal disease: a prospective, randomized, triple-blind, controlled trial. Tech Coloproctol. 2015 Jun;19(6):339-45. 

 

Haidari F, Heybar H, Jalali MT, Ahmadi Engali K, Helli B, Shirbeigi E. Hesperidin supplementation modulates inflammatory responses following myocardial infarction. J Am Coll Nutr. 2015;34(3):205-11. 

Kean RJ, Lamport DJ, Dodd GF, et al. Chronic consumption of flavanone-rich orange juice is associated with cognitive benefits: an 8-wk, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in healthy older adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Mar;101(3):506-14. 

Morand C, Dubray C, Milenkovic D, et al. Hesperidin contributes to the vascular protective effects of orange juice: a randomized crossover study in healthy volunteers. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Jan;93(1):73-80. 

Salden BN, Troost FJ, de Groot E, et al. Randomized clinical trial on the efficacy of hesperidin 2S on validated cardiovascular biomarkers in healthy overweight individuals. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Dec;104(6):1523-1533. 

Schär MY, Curtis PJ, Hazim S, et al. Orange juice-derived flavanone and phenolic metabolites do not acutely affect cardiovascular risk biomarkers: a randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial in men at moderate risk of cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 May;101(5):931-8.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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