Rutin is a complex sugar compound that is obtained from the plant species Carpobrotus edulis. It is also present in the plant Ruta graveolens which is where Rutin gets its name from. It is also a part of edible plants like buckwheat seeds, asparagus, citrus fruits, apples, berries, peaches etc.
Green tea also contains Rutin. Rutin is popularly used in supplemental form for its antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Especially notable is its role in the dilution of blood. So beneficial it is that it was formerly known as the P vitamin, despite not belonging to the category of vitamins.
How does it work?
Rutin is a plant flavonoid. It has the ability to combine with cations in plants. In humans, it can attach to the iron Fe2+ iron and prevents its binding to hydrogen peroxide, a reaction that would otherwise result in the formation of free radicals that have the potential to damage the cells. In this way, it protects the cells from the oxidative stress by acting as an anti-oxidant.
Another action of Rutin is to inhibit the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in concentrations that are non-toxic. VEGF is responsible for the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis). Rutin, therefore, acts as an inhibitor of angiogenesis. This is the basic mechanism underlying its action as an anti-tumor agent.
Health benefits of rutin
There are numerous health benefits of rutin, some of which are listed below
Rutin is known to prevent the formation of clots in the blood by inhibiting the aggregation of platelets in blood. This is mainly because of its property to inhibit the action of platelet activating factor (PAF). In this way, it prevents the clotting of blood and helps in diluting it (Chen, W. M., M. Jin, and W. Wu; 2002).
This action makes it an ideal candidate for the treatment of thrombotic states. The easy bruising of skin that accompanies the use of aspirin and other anticoagulants can also be controlled by using Rutin as an alternative form of therapy.
Free radicals alter the LDL cholesterol which is the “bad cholesterol”, causing it to deposit as plaques in the vessel walls and thereby clogging them. Rutin prevents the formation of these reactive oxygen species and prevents the formation of cholesterol plaques and thereby, it helps in preventing atherosclerosis which is the forerunner of stroke and cardiovascular disorders. (Hsia, Simon Houn, and David Fan; 2001).
Rutin, on account of its antioxidant action, prevents the formation of toxic oxygen free radicals in the body. Thus it protects the cells from oxidative stress. This is the precise mechanism behind its ability to prolong the action of epinephrine in the intestine by preventing its oxidation induced destruction (Kishore, Garima, et al; 2010).
Vascular wall strength
Rutin has been found to increase the strength and pliability of the vessel walls. It acts as a tonic for the blood vessels by maintaining the tone of the vessel wall. It helps in keeping them flexible. It is, therefore, effectively used in the treatment of vascular conditions like hemorrhoids in which the flexibility of the vessels is affected.
Also, it can help with the treatment of hypertension in the elderly in whom the most probable cause of high blood pressure is decrease in the elasticity of the blood vessels with age. The formation of aneurysms, which are the outpouchings of the vessel walls that develop as a result of weakening of the vascular walls, is also prevented. (Kishore, Garima, et al; 2010). It is also used in the treatment of varicose veins. This is also why Rutin plays an advantageous role in chronic venous insufficiency that arises as a result of compromised function of the veins to return blood to the heart.
By inhibiting the mechanism of action of several mediators of inflammation, Rutin helps in preventing inflammation. It is known to prevent the recruitment of neutrophils (chemotaxis) to the site of injury and prevents their degranulation which is the primary reaction that sets off the chain of events in inflammation (Selloum, Laid, et al.; 2003). It also modulates the action of Arachidonic acid metabolic enzymes including phospholipase A2 and cyclooxygenase (García-Lafuente, Ana, et al.; 2009). It can reduce edema by decreasing the permeability of the capillary membrane and thus preventing the oozing out of the fluid from the blood capillaries into the interstitial tissue.
It has been successfully used as an adjuvant in the treatment of various chronic inflammatory disorders like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), arthritis etc. The anti-inflammatory effects of the flavonoid Rutin can have a big implication in preventing cancers. These anti-inflammatory actions of Rutin have been utilized in the traditional Chinese medicine for ages.
Meniere’s disease is characterized by a sense of fullness in the ear, dizziness, ringing in the ears and intermittent type of hearing loss which develop as a result of increase in the amount of endolymph in the inner ear. Rutin is known to decrease the severity of symptoms associated with the Meniere’s disease and to provide better relief. These effects are mainly believed to be due to Rutin’s ability to prevent the excessive production and accumulation of endolymph in the cochlea.
Rutin’s ability to prevent oxidation induced damage and to prevent angiogenesis make it an ideal agent for the treatment of various sorts of cancers. Various clinical trials have demonstrated its ability to control the development of breast cancer, in particular.
The advantages of Rutin are too many to be enumerated. Rutin has been declared to be completely safe for use during pregnancy and has been safely used in pregnant women to treat pregnancy induced hemorrhoids, venous insufficiency and varicose veins. It is long since being made into oral supplements owing to its health benefits. It is used all over the globe as a vaso-protective agent. All of its effects have
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