Luteolin is a flavonoid; a chemical compound found in plants that helps protect plants from a variety of threats. In humans, many flavonoid compounds confer a host of health benefits, and luteolin is no exception. This compound has been used to bolster the immune system and even shows anti-cancer activity, making it a potent nutraceutical to add to your health regimen.
Luteolin is found in many plants, such as parsley and onions. While you can consume it from different sources, taking it as a supplement allows you to get it in a more concentrated form, so you can reap the benefits more readily. This is especially true because it is hard to consume a significant amount from food.
Luteolin shows great promise in protecting people from neuro-degenerative changes. Through its anti-inflammatory properties, this compound has protected rats in studies from developing problems associated with Alzheimer’s disease, and it enhanced their memory and cognition.
Neurodegeneration affects many people as they age. Overall, the brain shrinks, and lesions may develop. Brains become less flexible as people age, and learning can become stymied. It is harder for people to recall, and memories decline. Compounds such as luteolin are associated with improved learning and memory recall, and the compound helps protect against potential damages which may occur from cardiovascular issues such as high blood pressure and strokes, where parts of the brain may actually die.
It protects against oxidative damages, which may be caused by free radicals that surround us, even found in the oxygen we breathe. Luteolin also reduces glutamate levels and helps prevent protein mutations from occurring. It has even been shown to enhance the development of nerves.
Luteolin has also shown itself to have significant heart-healthy aspects. By decreasing inflammation and helping prevent plaque build-up, this compound helps protect against atherosclerosis. Like its activity within the brain, luteolin also helps protect against oxidative damages, particularly during a heart attack.
In rats, luteolin has been shown to strengthen the cells of the heart and help stabilize enzymes specific to heart cells. This plant chemical can also enhance contractions, and potentially even more importantly, help prevent cell death.
Antioxidants and Your Skin
Luteolin is well-known for its antioxidant properties. When you go out in the sun, UV rays can damage your skin and mutate your DNA. Luteolin may actually help protect your skin from the inside out. In mouse models, luteolin has even been linked to a reduction in the occurrence of skin cancer, as well as reversing the signs of skin aging by blocking the expression of MMP-1, a gene that encodes a protein that can break down collagen.
Luteolin Helps Protect Against Infections
This powerful plant-based compound has also proven itself to be highly effective against different bacterial and viral infections. Lipopolysaccharides are found as part of the cell wall of certain types of bacteria and can cause severe inflammatory reactions and disease. In mice, luteolin helped protect against infections and even increase survival in the face of certain bacterial infections.
In many cases of bacterial infections, the inflammatory process is what causes the major symptoms of the infection. Luteolin has been shown to help prevent inflammation caused by bacterial organisms such as S. aureus and Chlamydia.
It’s not just bacteria that luteolin can help protect against. In different studies, luteolin has been shown to be protective against viruses such as hepatitis B, which can cause severe health issues such as liver damage.
Potential Anti-cancer Activity
With all of its anti-inflammatory and immune mediating effects, it’s no wonder that luteolin has been studied in regards to different cancer treatments. Luteolin has been shown in animal models , such as mice, to help prevent the growth of prostate cancer cells, breast cancer calls, and colon cancer cells, among others.
In addition to helping inhibit the growth of certain cancer cells, luteolin has the potential to be effective against some drug-resistant cancer cells. It may also help bolster the effectiveness of certain chemotherapeutic medications with minimal side effects.
Luteolin has been shown to help attenuate allergic responses and decrease inflammation by inhibiting certain inflammatory compounds known as cytokines. In particular, it can inhibit IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13 within the lungs and nasal passages.
Within the body, certain cells known as mast cells release histamine and can trigger allergic responses and reactions. When these cells are stabilized, the histamine release does not occur, and you don’t have an allergic response. Certain chemical compounds, such as luteolin, help stabilize mast cells and reduce the occurrence of allergic reactions.
Preventing Diabetic Complications
Diabetes is a complex disease affecting many people. While the hallmark is poor sugar regulation and needing supplementation with insulin, diabetics are also at risk for other complications, including heart disease and infections, often triggered by high blood sugar levels and oxidative damages. Luteolin does more than just protect against those factors.
By reducing oxidative damages, luteolin has been linked in animal studies to protecting against diabetic encephalopathy and neuropathy, or brain and nerve damage, respectively. The compound may also help protect against bladder issues and bone breakdown.
Luteolin has a short duration of activity, so for best results, it must be taken multiple times during the day. Peak absorption occurs within about an hour of ingesting foods containing luteolin or luteolin-containing supplements.
Luteolin comes in different forms, including powders and chewable tablets. Many products contain luteolin in combination with another flavonoid, rutin, which is derived from quercetin.
There are some considerations for you to keep in mind if you are looking at taking luteolin. One is that it’s going to work best when combined with other nutraceuticals like rutin, lutein, and quercetin.
Luteolin shows promise as a significant treatment for allergies, inflammation, and even cancer. It helps reduce the damaging effects of free radicals, which can cause oxidative damage within the heart and the brain. While you can consume luteolin in food sources, the best way to take luteolin is to consume a high-quality supplement.