Monday, 2 December 2013

Mangosteen And Xanthones

You might have heard that mangosteen is chalk full of these things called xanthones, but have you ever wonder just what xanthones are? What follows is an explanation of just what makes xanthones so amazing. I've tried to make this article a little more technical than others I've written, while at the same time providing simple explanations for those with little to no science background. For those of you who find this article a little daunting, just skip over the more complicated explanations to the plain-language ones provided and you have my assurance that you'll follow everything just fine.

First off, some basic chemistry: a xanthone is an organic compound with the molecular formula C13H8O. This means that it's made up of the elements carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. These three elements (CHO) make up most of the organic compounds on earth.

In mangosteen, all the xanthones are found in the outer layer or rind of the fruit (also known as the pericarp). Depending on the company and manufacturing process that they employ the general steps to harvesting the mangosteen include collecting the pericarp, grinding and drying it, and then packaging it up for consumption. Some companies sell their mangosteen in a juice format, but since all the xanthones are found in the outer layer of the fruit (which doesn't taste very good) there is no need to go through the extra expense of juicing the pericarp and adding extra flavours/juices to make it taste half decent. A good solid form mangosteen supplement can be found by searching for the Natural Home Cures brand, they offer a supplement that's 100% pure pericarp at a decent price.

So far, there have been over 200 different types on xanthones identified, but we refer to them collectively as xanthones. What makes xanthones so special are their antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

An antimicrobial is a substance that kills or inhibits the growth of microbes such as bacteria, fungi, or viruses. Antimicrobials either kill microbes, in which case they are microbicidal, or prevent the growth of microbes, in which case they are microbistatic. Some common antimicrobial agents you might be familiar with include penicillin and tetracycline. While the mechanisms that xanthones use to inhibit, prevent and kill microbes aren't exactly the same as those in pharmaceutical drugs, they are similar enough to get the job done. Often times, as is the case with mangosteen, they are tolerated by the body better than traditional drugs.

Antioxidants are all the rage these days, it seems you can't walk into a supermarket without hearing about the benefits of these compounds. But what are they? Simply put, antioxidants are substances that stop, inhibit or impede oxidation. This is good for us because oxidation causes tissue and cellular damage in our bodies. A more complex explanation of the relationship between oxidation and our bodies: oxidation is a chemical reaction that transfers electrons from a substance to an oxidizing agent (an oxidizing agent gains electrons). Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals which are atoms, molecules or ions with unpaired electrons on an otherwise open 'shell configuration'. These unpaired electrons are usually highly reactive, so radicals are likely to take part in chemical reactions which in turn damage cells. Antioxidants terminate these chain reactions by removing free radical intermediates (which are required to continue the deleterious chain reaction), and inhibit other oxidation reactions by being oxidized themselves. As a result, antioxidants are often reducing agents which means that they lose electrons.

The last of the xanthone's unique qualities comes from it's anti-inflammatory properties. An anti-inflammatory is anything that combats inflammation; it really is that straight forward. Your body has many inflammation 'procedures' in place and for good reason. It is one of your body's first weapons against infections and disease. Inflammation also helps to heal wounds and triggers the the proper chemical messengers to deal with trauma or injury. Think about getting a cut, your body starts an 'inflammation procedure' that tells certain chemicals to inflame the tissue around the cut and to start repairing the damage. Without this mechanism, and the help of several teams of cellular 'repair men' any nick or scratch would cause us to bleed to death. But inflammation can also be harmful. Too much inflammation, like that found in anaphylaxis, can cause severe discomfort and even death. Chronic low-level inflammation isn't any better, it has been linked to many chronic diseases ranging from arthritis to cancer.

So now you know why xanthones are so important to us and why taking a good quality mangosteen supplement can do so much to improve your health. As I mentioned before, a good brand to check out is Natural Home Cures mangosteen. They offer a fantastic quality product for a very reasonable price. After reading this article, you are now equipped to make the right choice in supplementation and to give yourself the best health you can imagine.


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