What Are Flavonoids?
When it comes to CBD products, there’s a scientific word thrown around that touts the benefits of hemp. That word is terpenes. While terpenes play a huge factor in the wellness-promoting benefits of CBD, there are other unique phytochemicals that are the unsung heroes for all plant-based products. This includes CBD. This little-known class of compounds is known as flavonoids. Flavonoids work in unison with other essential phytocannabinoids to increase the potency and bioavailability of CBD products. So, what are flavonoids and how do they impact your life? Let’s take a closer look at these crucial phytochemicals.
What Are Flavonoids?
To get a better understanding of how flavonoids affect the overall quality of CBD products, you should first understand what they are. Each plant gracing this earth is comprised of unique chemical compounds that give them their nutritional benefits.
You can tell a lot about the nutrition of a product just by looking at its hue. For instance, dark berries are rich in antioxidants. You know this by the reddish-purple exterior of blueberries and blackberries. Meanwhile, turmeric and ginger are high in anti-inflammatory properties. This is evidenced by these roots’ orange-yellow hue. Just like skin tones shades vary based on his how much melanin is in the body, food colors vary based on phytochemicals present in their genetic makeup. These phytochemicals are flavonoids.
Research has unearthed the potential of flavonoids. They have found promising results when supplementing with flavonoids to combat issues pertaining to:
- Oxidation damage
- Inflammatory responses
- Weakened immune system
There are over 6,000 flavonoids discovered. They all have a variety of therapeutic benefits on the body. That is why many dieticians suggest “eating the rainbow.” This is a playful way of saying that you should eat as many colored fruits and vegetables as possible. By doing so, you are guaranteed a wide spectrum of micronutrients that promote optimal health.
Types of Flavonoids
As you peel the onion layers back on classification systems, you can continue to break down species and genus into smaller niches. The same is true for flavonoids. To get a balanced serving of flavonoids, try to consume some foods from each of these classifications.
Anthocyanidins: The flavonoids are rich sources of antioxidants. Studies show that antioxidants help repair cell damage while reducing oxidative stress on the system.
Prominent types of anthocyanidins include:
Foods abundant in anthocyanidins include:
- Red Wine
Flavanols: Flavonols are associated with stimulants, which may help in shedding off excess pounds and increasing alertness.
Primary flavonols include:
Typically, you can find flavonols in:
- Fava Beans
Flavonols: Typically, flavonols have some of the greatest therapeutic benefits out of all phytochemicals. This sector of flavonoids is known to have strong allergen-fighting capabilities.
Popular flavonols include:
You can find flavonol-rich foods such as:
- Brussel Sprouts
Flavones: Flavones are potent antioxidants as well. However, they also aid in the metabolization of nutrients and prescription drugs. Therefore, these flavones have an entourage effect on other phytochemicals within CBD products.
Most well-known flavones include:
Popular food choices rich in flavones include:
- Spicy Herbs
Flavonones: These are the pigments that are typically found in anti-inflammatory foods. Due to their ability to inhibit pro-inflammatory biomarkers, they may help in regulating heart health and digestive issues.
You can mostly find flavonones in:
Isoflavones: These are rich catalysts in producing hormones, namely estrogen. Therefore, isoflavones are great for those who going through menopause. However, for men with low levels of testosterone, you might want to stay clear of isoflavones.
Most-researched isoflavones include:
Highest concentrations of isoflavones can be found in:
Now that you have a better understanding of flavonoids, let’s take a look at how they affect CBD products.
Flavonoids and CBD Products
Seeing as flavonoids are phytochemicals, you can rest assured that they are plentiful in broad spectrum hemp oil. In fact, they play a critical role in hemp maintaining its benefits.
Any living being relies on light for survival. This is especially true for hemp. Due to photosynthesis, the sun draws up nutrients and moisture through the roots of the plant. This pressure causes the hemp plant to sweat. Seeing as pressure changes the genetic makeup of chemical compounds, this pivotal process creates terpenes and phytocannabinoids such as CBD.
The downside to light is that it also promotes oxidation. Terpenes are highly volatile. This is why essential oils are considered a form of therapy. The aromatic chemicals combust as they hit the environment. In the case of essential oils, the person using the plant-based products inhale the dissipating chemical compounds. When you’re a hemp plant growing under the Kentucky sun, it can end up cooking off the CBD.
Thankfully, flavonoids help fight off UV damage from the sun. By filtering out the UV rays, the integrity of CBD remains intact until the plant is harvested.
Flavonoids don’t just keep UV rays at bay. These phytonutrients have exhibited antifungal properties. This is essential in warding off pests, molds and fungi that may damage the health of the plant in its formative stages.
Lastly, flavonoids are essential for pollinators. Think of the delicious sugars that draw us to berries and citrus fruits. These are the exact chemical compounds at play that cause bees to spread the seeds of plants. The same rings true for hemp plants. Flavonoids in these products attract pollinators that will ensure the longevity of the plant species in the wild. Without a doubt, this is Mother Nature at her finest!
Flavonoids in CBD
While there are 6,000 flavonoids scientifically classified, just 20 take up residence in cannabis. A meta-analysis has found the prominent classes of flavonoids found in CBD oil are flavone and flavonol subclasses.
The most abundant flavonoids that are seen in CBD include:
- Cannflavin A
- Cannflavin B
Let’s take a closer look at each.
Health Benefits of Apigenin
Studies on this flavonoid found that it decreases the activity of an enzyme known as NF-κB. As an acronym for nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells, you know NF-κB means business! NF-κB writes DNA. Unfortunately for us, that DNA includes pro-inflammatory cells. Apigenin has shown to fight off inflammatory growths in hard to reach areas such as the colon and lungs.
Health Benefits of Cannflavin A
As the name implies, these flavonoids are unique to Cannabis sativa. They are the ones responsible for the antifungal and antimicrobial properties we spoke about earlier. Studies have shown that Cannaflavin A has fought against bacteria strains that cause disease such as Staphylococcus aureus.
Health Benefits of Cannflavin B
Life is about balance. Can’t have Cannaflavin A without Cannaflavin B. This flavonoid has a lot to do with hydroxylation in the system. Therefore, it helps break down fats and absorbs nutrients. At the same time, Cannaflavin B helps us make better use of the energy we consume from our foods.
Health Benefits of Kaempferol
Kaempferol is one of the most potent antioxidants present in CBD. This flavonoid takes on free radicals that are catalysts for many life-threatening conditions. What stands out the most is that kaempferol doesn’t fall for the tricks presented by autoimmune diseases. These unique phytochemicals can differentiate between “healthy and malignant cells.”
Health Benefits of Luteolin
Remember when we discussed how flavonoids protect the plant from being scorched by the sun’s rays? Enter luteolin. Studies have shown that luteolin helps fight aging (wrinkles) caused by the sun. That’s because it acts as an antagonist toward pro-inflammatory biomarkers JNK1 and p90RSK2. Luteolin present in CBD products is what makes it a viable member of the cosmetic market.
Health Benefits of Quercetin
Last is certainly not least here. Quercetin is one of the most heralded phytochemicals in plant-based nutrition. It was one of the most natural (and potent) antihistamines on the market. Therefore, if you are suffering from an allergic reaction or are having digestive issues due to gluten or dairy sensitivities, quercetin-rich products may help.
Flavonoids and the Entourage Effect
One of the greatest scientific breakthroughs when it comes to CBD is realizing that it has an entourage effect in the presence of other phytochemicals. Studies have shown that when cannabinoids have chemical reactions with other plant-based molecules, it strengthens the overall benefits of the nutrients.
The aforementioned study on the CBD entourage effect gives a big portion of the credit to flavonoids. They work in unison with terpenes and phytocannabinoids unique to Cannabis sativa to bring homeostasis to the body.
By using broad spectrum hemp oil, all of the precious flavonoids remain intact. Purchasing CBD products that boast the words “whole plant” or “broad spectrum,” means that the stems, leaves and seeds were all used in extracting the oil. Due to this process, you are getting many of the 80+ phytocannabinoids, 20 flavonoids and 215 unique terpenes that all live in the hemp plant. Getting broad spectrum hemp oil goes a long way in making sure you are getting the most out of your cannabis supplements.
Hannah Smith is Joy Organics Director of Communications. She’s passionate about providing wellness and CBD education in a clear and accessible way. Before Joy Organics, she worked as a travel writer and photographer.