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Natural Antioxidants Protect Cardiomyocytes against Oxidative Stress

December 11, 2012

Heart health

Increased production of reactive oxygen species has been implicated in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease. We have seen that natural antioxidants have been proposed for regulating the redox balance. 

Cardiac muscle (heart muscle) is a type of involuntary muscle found in the walls of the heart. The cells that comprise cardiac muscle, called cardiomyocytes or myocardiocytes.


Nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2) is a cellular biochemical that controls antioxidant enzymes, and activation of Nrf2 has been suggested to be an important step in modulating oxidative stress associated with cardiovascular disease.

Jhotan and his "fat controlling" Herbs & Spices

Five widely studied medicinal plants derived from botanical sources [Bacopa monniera, Silybum marianum (milk thistle), Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha), Camellia sinensis (Green Tea), and Curcuma longa (turmeric)] have been shown to activate Nrf2 and induce phase II enzymes through the antioxidant response element. 

In a study by Reuland et al determined the antioxidant treatments of the above natural herbal plants on cardiomyocytes.

These phytochemical treatments were associated with nuclear accumulation of Nrf2, significant induction of phase II enzymes, and concomitant protection against hydrogen peroxide-induced apoptosis.

The protection against oxidant stress was abolished when Nrf2 was silenced by shRNA, suggesting that the natural antioxidants work through the Nrf2 pathway.

They conclude that natural antioxidants like Green Tea are a potential treatment to increase antioxidant defenses and protect heart cells against an oxidative challenge.

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