Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Herbal Alfalfa, A Potent and Natural Dietary Antioxidants

By Kyle J. Norton

Herbal alfalfa may have a profound and positive effect in enhancing the expression of antioxidant in the body, some scientists suggested.

Antioxidants are stable molecules which inhibit oxidation induced by free radicals.

A free radical is a highly reactive atom with a single electron in the outer ring.

Free radicals produced in our body is a natural process derived either from essential metabolism through the processes of food intake or from external sources through directly contacting the skin or the air we breathe including exposure to X-rays, ozone, cigarette smoking, air pollutants, and industrial chemicals.

Some foods are antioxidants producers such as fruits and vegetable and whole grain, while others such as processed meats, alcohol are radicals producers. Particularly, fats and oils can easily be oxidized if they are cooked in high heat.

In order to counter the overexpression of free radicals which add to the body's burden, our body produces enzymes antioxidants and metal carrier proteins to neutralize them before they can cause damage.

Depending on the degrees of free radical invasion, antioxidant enzymes can be categorized into first, second, third and even fourth line of defense.

Dr. O.M, in the examine the antioxidant defense wrote, "The role and effectiveness of the first line defense antioxidants which basically include superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GPX) is important and indispensable in the entire defense strategy of antioxidants, especially in reference to superoxide anion radical (*O2) which is perpetually generated in normal body metabolism, particularly through the mitochondrial energy production pathway (MEPP)".

The statement clearly suggested that in healthy individual antioxidant enzymes synthesized form our body is good enough to protect the body from bombardments of free radicals.

However, for people with a weakened immune system, chronic illness, dietary sources of antioxidants may be needed.

Oxidative stress is a result of the imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body. The syndrome is either caused by overexpression of free radicals or depressed levels of antioxidant or both.

Oxidative stress has been found to induce widespread damage due to a set of a chain reaction auto-catalytically by free radicals that attacks the lipid bilayers of the cell walls, induces lipid, protein damage and alternation of cell DNA, leading to the onset of chronic diseases, including cancers.

Alfalfa is a flowering plant in the genus Medicago, belongings to the family Fabaceae.

The herb has been cultivated all over the world as hay for cattle feeding. The leaves, sprouts, and seeds to make medicine has been used in traditional medicine over thousands of year for the treatment of high cholesterol, asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, enhance digestive system, bleeding disorder, kidney, and urinary tract infection, etc.

North America aboriginal has used Alfalfa seed as food, such as making bread and mush.

In the reaffirming the herbal alfalfa antioxidant activity especially scavenging activity for hydroxyl radical and DPPH radical, researchers launched a study to determine whether a lyophilized aqueous extract of alfalfa or Medicago sativa L. could exert antioxidant activity against carbon tetrachloride-induced oxidative stress and liver injury in rats.

Before injecting the lyophilized aqueous extract of alfalfa, rats treated by CCl (4) showed a significant increase of serum of oxidative stress markers observed by the levels of transaminase, ALP, bilirubin, lipid profile. and liver MDA accompanied by the decline of antioxidant status in liver non-protein sulfhydryl (NP-SH); and total protein (TP) contents.

Pretreatment with alfalfa and silymarin for three weeks prior to the administration of CCl (4) significantly prevented the increase of oxidative markers by reducing the oxidative stress indicated by elevated NP-SH and TP concentration of the antioxidant liver enzyme. 

Futhermore, the incidence of liver lesion induced by the injection of CCL(4) also reduced by the pretreatment of alfalfa extract.

Application of alfalfa extracts also exerted a potent scavenging activity against hydroxyl radical and DPPH radical.

These results indicated that alfalfa may be considered a novel natural antioxidant. Dr.Al-Dosari MS wrote in the final report, " alfalfa extract possesses hepatoprotective and antioxidative stress properties possibly through its antioxidant phytochemical constituents and substantiates its use in various liver disorders as a hepatoprotector".

Additionally, researchers at the University of Life Sciences in Lublin, in the testing antioxidant effect of a dietary protein-xanthophylls (PX) concentrate of alfalfa on raw meat launched an evaluation by adding the concentration in turkey diet.

The study included 120 turkeys assigned randomly assigned to 3 groups (group I-control group; group II--with 1.5% supplementation of the protein-xanthophylls (PX) concentrate; group III--with 3% supplementation of the protein-xanthophylls (PX) concentrate).

The addition of protein-xanthophylls (PX) concentration of alfalfa to a turkey diet protects the deterioration of breast and thigh meat quality.

Also, by examining the changes in color, oxymyoglobin content, TBARS, and oxidation-reduction potential values, researchers said " the inclusion of the concentration to turkey diets acts as an antioxidant in the raw meat.

Taken altogether, alfalfa may be considered a natural antioxidant which improves the antioxidant profile in the body against the overexpression of free radicals in the initiation of oxidative stress.

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Author Biography
Kyle J. Norton (Scholar, Master of Nutrition, All right reserved)

Health article writer and researcher; Over 10.000 articles and research papers have been written and published online, including worldwide health, ezine articles, article base, health blogs, self-growth, best before it's news, the karate GB daily, etc.,.
Named TOP 50 MEDICAL ESSAYS FOR ARTISTS & AUTHORS TO READ by Disilgold.com Named 50 of the best health Tweeters Canada - Huffington Post
Nominated for shorty award over last 4 years
Some articles have been used as references in medical research, such as international journal Pharma and Bioscience, ISSN 0975-6299.

(1). In vitro and in vivo antioxidant activity of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) on carbon tetrachloride intoxicated rats. by Al-Dosari MS (PubMed).
(2). Effect of protein-xanthophylls (PX) concentrate of alfalfa supplementation on physico-chemical properties of turkey breast and thigh muscles during ageing. by Karwowska M, Stadnik J, Dolatowski ZJ, Grela ER. (PubMed)
(3) First line defense antioxidants-superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GPX): Their fundamental role in the entire antioxidant defense grid by O.M.Ighodaroab, O.A.Akinloyeb. (Science Direct)

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