phytochemicals Phytochemicals

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MW: 286
Formula: C15H10O6

What is Cyanidin?

Cyanidin belongs to the group of anthocyanins and has the typical C6-C3-C6 structure. Cyanidin is a water-soluble pigment. The colour of cyanidin will depend on the pH of the solution. Cyanidin is red when pH is below 3, blue at pH higher than 11 and violet at neutral pH. In plants the cyanidin is bound to a sugar molecule to form cyanidin 3-O-beta-Glucoside.


Cyanidin is present in most red coloured berries such as bilberry, blackberry, blueberry, cherry, cranberry, elderberry, hawthorn, loganberry and raspeberry, but also in other fruits including apples, pears, peaches and plums. The highest concentrations of cyanidin are found in the skin of the fruit.

Health Benefits of Cyanidin

Cyanidin and its glycosides may have pharmacological properties. These phytochemicals are responsible for the deep colour (mainly red, orange and blue) of many plants and fruits. They have many health promoting properties including anticarcinogenic activity, vasoprotective, anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity and anti-diabetes effects. Similar to other anthocyanins, cyanidin has antioxidant and radical-scavenging actions. These actions will protect our cells against oxidative damage and reduce the risk of cancer and hearth disease. Cyanidin glycosides are easily absorbed into the plasma.


Cyanidin and its glycosides are very strong antioxidants and are active at pharmacological concentrations. The antioxidant activity is stronger than that of vitamin E, vitamin C and resveratrol and similar to other commercial antioxidants. Cyanidin quickly neutralizes reactive oxygen species such as hydrogen peroxide, reactive oxygen and hydroxyl radical.


A study in Japan by Takanori Tsua et al indicated that cyanidin may have benefits for the prevention of obesity and diabetes. Cyanidin rich extracts significantly reduced the boy weight gain of mice fed with a high fat diet. Cyanidin reduces blood glucose level and improves insulin sensitivity due to the reduction of retinol binding protein 4 expression in type 2 diabetic mice.


Many studies have demonstrated the anti-toxic effect of cyanidin, mainly against mycotoxins. Cyandin reduces DNA fragmentation and oxidative damage by aflatoxin B1 and ochratoxin A.


The consumption of anti-inflammatory foods, mainly plants rich in anthocyanins, may help to control inflammation. Cyanidin from cherries alleviates arthritis in an animal model and reduces the serum level of malonaldehyde, which is a biomarker to measure the level of oxidative stress. Cyanidin suppress the inflammatory effect of zymosan in rats.) It can have important implications for the prevention of nitric oxide mediated inflammatory diseases.


There are numerous studies demonstrating the anti-cancer activities of cyandin. The anti-cancer and anti-mutagenic properties of this anthocyanin is directly linked to its antioxidant properties. In-vivo and in-vitro studies are linking cyanidin to a reduced risk of leukemia, lung cancer, colon cancer, skin cancer and prostate cancer. Cyanidin induces cancer cell apoptosis, reduces oxidative damage to DNA, inhibits cell growth and decrease cancer cell proliferation.

Heart health

Endothelial dysfunction causes the development of atherosclerosis, which can result in heart health problems, including stroke and heart attacks. Cyanidin increases the levels of endothelial nitric oxide synthase and heme oxygenase in a dose-dependent manner and inhibits the formation of reactive oxygen species induced by platelet-derived growth factor, a protein which has been linked to the development of atherosclerosis.

Skin protection

Studies suggest that cyanidin might successfully be employed for skin protection. Ultraviolet radiation of the skin tissue causes production of reactive oxygen species, resulting in oxidative stress, cell damage and eventual cell death or skin cancer. Cyanidin neutralizes free radicals and decreases the number of tumors induced by ultraviolet B radiation in rats. Treatment of cultured skin cells with cyanidin attenuated unfavorable biological changes caused by the radiation.

Ischemia-reperfusion protection

The strong antioxidant capacity of cyanidin can be beneficial in conditions of increased oxidative stress, such as during a myocardial ischemia, cerebral ischemia or liver ischemia. Myocardial ischemia is a disease characterized by reduced blood supply to the heart muscle, usually due to atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries. Its risk increases with age, smoking, high cholesterol levels, diabetes and high blood pressure. When blood supply restores after a period of ischemia reperfusion injury to tissue can occur. Cyanidin reduces oxidative damage to organ cells during reperfusion.



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