While thinking about the flavonoid pigments, I was reminded of an interesting tidbit about the a role of pelargonidin in human health.
Tsuda T. Mechanism for the peroxynitrite scavenging activity by anthocyanins. FEBS Lett 2000 Nov 10;484(3):207-10.
Pel can protect tyrosine from undergoing nitration through the formation of p-hydroxybenzoic acid and 4-hydroxy-3-nitrobenzoic acid.
I know precious little about brain chemistry, but the above passage suggests that nitration of tyrosine is not a good thing, considering one of the several roles of tyrosine.
According to Wikipedia:
In dopaminergic cells in the brain, tyrosine is converted to L-DOPA by the enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase (TH). TH is the rate-limiting enzyme involved in the synthesis of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine can then be converted into other catecholamines, such as norepinephrine (noradrenaline) and epinephrine (adrenaline).
So, picking just one thread, the pelargonidin in the strawberries we eat (for example) helps protect tyrosine from nitration, possibly allowing for a greater supply of dopamine. That sounds like a good thing.
A more obscurely written paper from Bertuglia et al. concluded that the anthocyanosides from the Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus
) improved blood flow in mice overall, and particularly in the smaller vessels. That's pretty much how Ginkgo biloba
supplements are supposed to work.
There's more, of course.
http://bulbnrose.x10.mx/KKing/RosePigme ... iblio.html