Hesperidin is a flavonoid found in the rinds of citrus fruits. Flavonoids are a type of polyphenol, which are antioxidants found in plants and are essential to human health. Hesperidin is one of the flavonoids that give citrus fruits their color and taste. It is also sold as a health supplement to repair and prevent damage from cardiovascular degeneration and disease.
Hesperidin is also referred to by names like bioflavonoid, citrus bioflavonoid, and hesperin methyl-chalcone. It is often present in multi-vitamins, though it can also be found as a pure extract. It is so abundant in citrus fruits that it is an inexpensive by-product of citrus production, and adequate amounts of the flavonoid can usually be obtained by eating citrus fruits and drinking citrus juices with pulp.
Flavonoids like hesperidin used to be called “vitamin P.” This term is now obsolete, but flavonoids and vitamins are essential to each other. Hesperidin is most commonly found in foods that are high in vitamin C, and it is an essential component in vitamin C absorption. Vitamin C actually consists of a chain of molecules, so flavonoids complete the chain and make the vitamin more soluble for easy absorption into the body. People with vitamin absorption disorders, such as those with elevated levels of copper in the blood, often benefit from taking hesperidin supplements along with extra Vitamin C.
In addition to its antioxidant properties, hesperidin can also be used as an anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic compound. It seems to reduce the symptoms of allergies and hay fever by inhibiting histamine production in the blood, and early clinical trials with female mice showed that this antioxidant decreased the bone loss associated with aging.
In clinical tests, hesperidin taken as a supplement has shown promising results in increasing the strength and elasticity of vascular walls. It can also reduce or slow vascular degeneration associated with liver disease, aging, and lack of exercise. Hesperidin increases blood flow and helps reduce problems associated with vascular swelling such as hemorrhoids and varicose veins. Like other polyphenols, such as the compounds found in olive oil, hesperidin can be used to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.
It is safe for most people to take hesperidin supplements. Some people, especially those who are allergic to citrus fruits, might have a reaction to the compound. Pregnant women, nursing mothers, and people taking blood thinners should not use hesperidin supplements without professional guidance.