Healing with Hesperidin

What You Need to Know

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

Hesperidin is a compound found primarily in unripe citrus fruit. Food sources include orange, grapefruit, lemon, and tangerine juice. Also available in supplement form, hesperidin is classified as a citrus "bioflavonoid" (a type of compound with antioxidant effects). 

Why Do People Sometimes Use Hesperidin?

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 prevent cancer.

The Benefits of Hesperidin

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) Chronic Venous Insufficiency

A condition in which the veins do not efficiently return blood from the legs to the heart, chronic venous insufficiency is linked to problems like varicose veins, ankle swelling, and nighttime leg cramping. Supplements containing a combination of hesperidin, extract of the herb butcher's broom, and ascorbic acid (a form of vitamin C) may help treat chronic venous insufficiency, according to a 2007 study published in International Angiology

The study involved 124 people with chronic venous insufficiency. Every day for eight weeks, all study members took two capsules of the hesperidin/butcher's broom/ascorbic acid formula.

Starting in the second week of the study, participants showed significant improvements in their symptoms (including pain, cramps, and swelling). The study's authors suggest that the hesperidin/butcher's broom/ascorbic acid may help treat chronic venous insufficiency by producing beneficial effects in patients' blood vessels.

2) Hemorrhoids

In a 1994 study in Angiology, a supplement containing a combination of hesperidin and diosmin (another antioxidant compound available in citrus fruits) was found to aid in the treatment of hemorrhoids. For the study, 100 patients suffering from a hemorrhoid attack were treated with either the hesperidin/diosmin combination or a placebo for seven days. Compared to the placebo group, members of the supplement group showed significantly greater improvement in symptoms.

More recent research on the use of hesperidin in treatment of hemorrhoids is lacking.

3) Osteoporosis

Hesperidin shows promise for the prevention for postmenopausal osteoporosis, a 2003 study from the Journal of Nutrition suggests. In tests on mice, researchers discovered that a hesperidin-rich diet helped inhibit bone loss in animals whose ovaries had been removed.

4) Cholesterol 

Preliminary research indicates that a combination of hesperidin and vitamin E may help keep cholesterol in check. In a 2001 study on rats (published in the International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research), scientists found that supplementing the animals' high-cholesterol diets with hesperidin and vitamin E helped reduce cholesterol levels in their blood.

5) Cancer

Hesperidin may offer anti-cancer benefits, according to a preliminary study published in Phytotherapy Research in 2010. In tests on human breast cancer and prostate cancer cells, the study's authors found that hesperidin inhibited the spread and growth of cancer cells.

Where to Find Hesperidin

Widely available for purchase online, hesperidin supplements are sold in many natural-food stores and in stores specializing in dietary supplements.

Caveats

Hesperidin may be unsafe 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 may affect blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding. It may be unsafe for people using anticoagulant/antiplatelet medications, those with bleeding disorders, and for people two weeks before or after surgery. 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.

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

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.

Using Herperidin for Health

Due to a lack of supporting research, it's too soon to recommend hersperidin for any health condition. If you're considering the use of herperidin, talk with your primary care provider first. Self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

Sources

Aguilar Peralta GR, Arévalo Gardoqui J, Llamas Macías FJ, Navarro Ceja VH, Mendoza Cisneros SA, Martínez Macías CG. "Clinical and capillaroscopic evaluation in the treatment of chronic venous insufficiency with Ruscus aculeatus, hesperidin methylchalcone and ascorbic acid in venous insufficiency treatment of ambulatory patients." Int Angiol. 2007 Dec;26(4):378-84.

Chiba H, Uehara M, Wu J, Wang X, Masuyama R, Suzuki K, Kanazawa K, Ishimi Y. "Hesperidin, a citrus flavonoid, inhibits bone loss and decreases serum and hepatic lipids in ovariectomized mice." J Nutr. 2003 Jun;133(6):1892-7.

Cospite M. "Double-blind, placebo-controlled evaluation of clinical activity and safety of Daflon 500 mg in the treatment of acute hemorrhoids." Angiology. 1994 Jun;45(6 Pt 2):566-73.

Ghali A1, Bourneau-Martin D2, Dopter A3, Lainé-Cessac P2, Belizna C1, Urbanski G1, Lavigne C1. Thrombocytopenic Purpura Associated with Dietary Supplements Containing Citrus Flavonoids. Therapie. 2015 Nov-Dec;70(6):555-6. doi: 10.2515/therapie/2015050. Epub 2015 Aug 4.

Lee CJ, Wilson L, Jordan MA, Nguyen V, Tang J, Smiyun G. "Hesperidin suppressed proliferations of both human breast cancer and androgen-dependent prostate cancer cells." Phytother Res. 2010 Jan;24 Suppl 1:S15-9.

Park YB, Do KM, Bok SH, Lee MK, Jeong TS, Choi MS. "Interactive effect of hesperidin and vitamin E supplements on cholesterol metabolism in high cholesterol-fed rats." Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2001 Jan;71(1):36-44.

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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