Nutrient Focus – Anthocyanins

What’s in your food? Most people are aware of the macronutrient classes protein, fat, and carbs, as well as the essential micronutrients – vitamins and minerals. Additionally, water and fiber don’t fit into either category. But there’s long been much excitement over phytochemicals, the organic compounds produced by plants that are not considered vitamins because they are nonessential. These include polyphenols like resveratrol, which is toxic to cancer cells and augments metabolism and extends lifespan in mice. Frustratingly, observations of resveratrol’s beneficial effects repeatedly fail to replicate in humans. This conundrum is referred to as the ‘resveratrol paradox’, and reflects our as-yet incomplete understanding of how we could activate resveratrol’s mechanism in vivo with other chemical agents. But I’m not talking about resveratrol today; instead I’ll discuss one of the most abundant classes of phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables, namely, anthocyanins.

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