Monday, September 12, 2011

Phytochemicals: 12 health Benefits of Saponins

Saponins are a group of phytochemical compounds presented in various plant species, including Phytosterols found abundantly in almonds, cashews, peanuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds,etc.

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1. Obesity
According to the study of "Lipid metabolic effect of Korean red ginseng extract in mice fed on a high-fat diet." by Song YB, An YR, Kim SJ, Park HW, Jung JW, Kyung JS, Hwang SY, Kim YS. (Source from Korea Ginseng Corporation Ginseng Research Institute, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, Korea., Copyright © 2011 Society of Chemical Industry.) posted in PubMed, researchers found that KRGE (Ginseng saponin and ginsenosides exert) reduces the levels of cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), serum triglycerides, and atherogenic indices. Levels of leptin, adiponectin and insulin, which regulate glucose and lipid metabolism, were impaired profoundly by HFD. However, KRGE treatment brought these levels back to normal. KRGE was found to down-regulate genes associated with lipid metabolism or cholesterol metabolism all of which were up-regulated by HFD and suggested that KRGE regulated the expression of genes associated with abnormal physiology via HFD. Leptin, insulin, and adiponectin, which carry out critical functions in energy and lipid metabolism, were shown to be modulated by KRGE. These results show that KRGE is effective in preventing obesity.

2. Colon cancer
In a study of " Effect of soy saponin on the growth of human colon cancer cells." by Tsai CY, Chen YH, Chien YW, Huang WH, Lin SH. (Source from School of Nutrition and Health Sciences, Taipei Medical University, Taipei 110, Taiwan, China.) posted in PubMed, human colon cancer cells were treated with 150, 300, 600 or 1200 ppm of soy saponin to determine the effect on cell growth, cell morphology, alkaline phosphatase (AP) and protein kinase C (PKC) activities, and P53 protein, c-Fos and c-Jun gene expression, researchers found that Soy saponin may be effective in preventing colon cancer by affecting cell morphology, cell proliferation enzymes, and cell growth.

3. Cancers
According to the study of "Saponins as anticarcinogens" by Rao AV, Sung MK. (Source from Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.), posted in PubMed, researchers found that showed that soybean saponins at the concentration of 150-600 ppm had a dose-dependent growth inhibitory effect on human carcinoma cells (HCT-15). Viability was also significantly reduced. Soybean saponins did not increase cell membrane permeability in a dose-dependent fashion, whereas gypsophilla saponin, a nondietary saponin, increased permeability with increasing concentrations. Electron microscopy indicated that soybean and gysophilla saponins alter cell morphology and interact with the cell membrane in different ways.

4. Antioxidants
According to the study of "Protective effect of soybean saponins and major antioxidants against aflatoxin B1-induced mutagenicity and DNA-adduct formation." by Jun HS, Kim SE, Sung MK. (Source from Department of Food and Nutrition, Sookmyung Womens' University, Seoul, Korea.), posted in PubMed, researchers found that Soybean saponins inhibited AFB(1)-DNA adduct formation by 50.1% at a concentration of 30 microg/ml, whereas L-ascorbic acid and BHT reduced adduct formation by 38.4% and 32.6%, respectively, at the same concentrations. These results indicate that soybean saponins possess not only a significant antimutagenic activity but a strong inhibitory action against carcinogen-induced DNA damages. Soybean saponins possibly block the initiation stage of carcinogenesis, and further studies are required to elucidate the mechanisms of action.

5. Prostate Cancer
In a study of " Antiproliferation Effect and Apoptosis Mechanism of Prostate Cancer Cell PC-3 by Flavonoids and Saponins Prepared from Gynostemma pentaphyllum" by Cheng TC, Lu JF, Wang JS, Lin LJ, Kuo HI, Chen BH., posted in PubMed, researchers found that Both flavonoid and saponin fractions were isolated by a column chromatographic method with cosmosil 75C¬18-OPN as adsorbent and elution solvents of ethanol-water (30:70, v/v) for the former and 100% ethanol for the latter, followed by HPLC-MS-MS analysis. Based on MTT assay, the saponin and flavonoid fraction were comparably effective in inhibiting growth of PC-3 cells, with the IC50 being 39.3 and 33.3 g/mL, respectively.

6. Hepatoma cells
According to the "Preparative chromatography of flavonoids and saponins in Gynostemma pentaphyllum and their antiproliferation effect on hepatoma cell." from Tsai YC, Lin CL, Chen BH. (Source from Department of Food Science, Fu Jen University, Taipei, Taiwan.Copyright © 2010 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.), posted in PubMed, researchers found that both (isolate flavonoids and saponins from Gynostemma pentaphyllum) fractions were more effective against Hep3B cells than the standards rutin and ginsenoside Rb(3), with the cell cycle being arrested at G0/G1 phase for all the treatments.

7. Antifungal activity
In a study of "Two antifungal active triterpenoid saponins from the seeds of Lathyrus plants." by
Khan NA. (Source from a Department of Postgraduate and Research in Chemistry , R. D. University of Jabalpur , Jabalpur - 482001 , M.P. , India.), posted in PubMed, researchers found that the isolated saponins were tested for their antifungal activity. Compound 1 showed maximum inhibition against Colletotrichum dematium (77.8%), whereas compound 2 showed maximum inhibition against Alternaria alternata (53.9%).

8. Anti-inflammatory property
According to the study of " Anti-inflammatory Triterpenoid Saponins from the Stem Bark of Kalopanax pictus" by Quang TH, Ngan NT, Minh CV, Kiem PV, Nhiem NX, Tai BH, Thao NP, Tung NH, Song SB, Kim YH. (Source from College of Pharmacy, Chungnam National University , Daejeon 305-764, Korea) posted in PubMed, researchers found that 10 known compounds (6-15), were isolated from the stem bark of Kalopanax pictus. Compounds 1-5 and 7-14 inhibited TNFα-induced NF-κB transcriptional activity in HepG2 cells in a dose-dependent manner, with IC(50) values ranging from 0.6to 16.4 μM. Furthermore, the transcriptional inhibitory function of these compounds was confirmed on the basis of decreases in COX-2 and iNOS gene expression in HepG2 cells. The structure-activity relationship of the compounds with respect to anti-inflammatory activity is also discussed.

9. Gastric adenocarcinoma cells.
In a study of "Astragalus saponins modulate cell invasiveness and angiogenesis in human gastric adenocarcinoma cells" by Auyeung KK, Woo PK, Law PC, Ko JK. (Source from Center for Cancer and Inflammation Research, School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, China, Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.), posted in PubMed, researchers found that AST (Astragalus saponins) derived from the medicinal plant Astragalus membranaceus could modulate the invasiveness and angiogenesis of AGS cells besides its pro-apoptotic and anti-proliferative activities. These findings also suggest that AST has the potential to be further developed into an effective chemotherapeutic agent in treating advanced and metastatic gastric cancers.

10. Type II diabetes
According to the study of " Platyconic acid, a saponin from Platycodi radix, improves glucose homeostasis by enhancing insulin sensitivity in vitro and in vivo" by Kwon DY, Kim YS, Ryu SY, Choi YH, Cha MR, Yang HJ, Park S. (Source from Food Functional Research Division, Korean Food Research Institutes, Sungnam, Korea), posted in PubMed, researchers found that PA increased glycogen accumulation and decreased triacylglycerol storage in liver, which was associated with enhanced hepatic insulin signaling, while PA potentiated the expression of adiponectin and PPAR-γ in adipose tissue, and improved insulin signaling and increased GLUT4 translocation into the membranes and suggested that PA improves glucose homeostasis in type 2 diabetic mice, partly by enhancing hepatic and adipocyte insulin sensitivity, possibly by activating PPAR-γ.

11. Immune responses
In a study of "Enhancement of humoral immune responses to inactivated Newcastle disease and avian influenza vaccines by oral administration of ginseng stem-and-leaf saponins in chickens" by Zhai L, Li Y, Wang W, Hu S. (Source from Department of Veterinary Medicine, College of Animal Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310058, China), posted in PubMed, researchers found that GSLS significantly increased the antibody level against ND in the serum of chickens. In experiment 2, the same regimen of GSLS was administered to chickens inoculated with inactivated AI vaccines, and an enhanced serum antibody response to AI vaccination was also observed. Considering the safety of GSLS, because no adverse effect was found throughout the experiments, GSLS may be a promising oral adjuvant to improve immunization in poultry.

12. Testosterone 5α-reductase
According to the study of "Inhibitory activities of Puerariae Flos against testosterone 5α-reductase and its hair growth promotion activities" by Murata K, Noguchi K, Kondo M, Onishi M, Watanabe N, Okamura K, Matsuda H. (Source from Faculty of Pharmacy, Kinki University, 3-4-1 Kowakae, Higashiosaka, Osaka, 577-8502, Japan), posted in PubMed, researchers found that The 50% ethanolic extract of Puerariae Flos (PF-ext) showed inhibitory activity of 60.2% at 500 μg/ml against testosterone 5α-reductase. Interestingly, it was more potent than that of Puerariae Radix (roots of Pueraria lobata). PF-ext also showed in vivo anti-androgenic activity using a hair growth assay in testosterone-sensitive male C57Black/6NCrSlc strain mice and saponins, including soyasaponin I and kaikasaponin III, to be active components in PF-ext. In addition, hair growth promotion activity in C3H/He mice at 2 mg/mouse/day of the topical administration of PF-ext was demonstrated.

13. Etc.

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