Naringenin: A Versatile Polyphenol with Many Health Benefits

Discover the benefits of naringenin, a polyphenol found in citrus fruits, nuts, and herbs, including its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Learn about its bioavailability and potential uses in pharmaceuticals, food, and cosmetics.

Naringenin: A Versatile Polyphenol with Many Health Benefits
Naringenin is a polyphenol with multiple benefits. Image by Benjamin Davies from Pixabay

Phenolics, also known as polyphenols, are a family of plant compounds that contain at least one aromatic group in their chemical structure. Flavonoids, which are the most diverse group of polyphenols, have two benzene rings connected by a five-carbon ring and can be found in various fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices.

Naringenin is a flavanone-type flavonoid with three hydroxyl groups in position 4', 5, and 7. It is commonly found in the peel and juice of citrus fruits such as orange, grapefruit, tangerine, satsuma orange, and lemon, as well as in other fruits such as grape, melon, nuts, and tomato. Naringenin is also present in green tea, moringa, rosemary, and oregano.

Naringenin is typically extracted using organic solvents such as methanol and ethanol. However, emerging technologies such as supercritical CO2 extraction, ultrasound-assisted extraction, and microwave-assisted extraction can provide better extraction yields.

Naringenin has numerous health benefits, including:

  • Antioxidant: In vivo studies have shown that naringenin can stimulate the activity of the body's antioxidant enzymes, which are the first line of defense against free radicals. Concentrations ranging from 5-100 mg/kg body weight have been studied in rats, where it was found to stimulate the activity of enzymes such as superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Animal studies have shown that naringenin can inhibit proinflammatory mediators such as NF-kB and the cytokine IL-6. This makes it a promising agent against chronic inflammation-related conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and to prevent inflammation-related complications in people living with metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes.

To be bioactive, compounds such as naringenin must reach the bloodstream to be distributed to different tissues and organs where it can exert its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. However, during consumption and subsequent metabolism, these compounds are mostly excreted by the body through urine.

Recent studies have focused on optimizing encapsulation strategies to increase the bioavailability of naringenin for its potential use in the pharmaceutical, food, and cosmeceutical industries. Lipid nanocarriers, zein-pectin polymers, and polylactic acid and polyvinyl alcohol are some of the encapsulating agents that have been studied the most.

For more information on the distribution, bioavailability, and bioactive potential of naringenin as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, we invite you to review the publication "Naringenin as a natural agent against oxidative stress and inflammation, and its bioavailability" at the following link:

Full Citation: Prensa y Colaboradores, Oficina de. “Naringenina, Un Polifenol Con Múltiples Beneficios - Centro De Investigación En Alimentación Y Desarrollo (CIAD).” Centro De Investigación En Alimentación Y Desarrollo (CIAD), 16 Feb. 2023,