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Haskap

Haskap & Mitochondria

The Haskap Berry (Lonicera caerulea L.) is a unique berry that is new to most Americans and is virtually an unknown functional foods. It has, however, a centuries long history of providing health benefit to Northern countries with cold climates such as Japan. Haskap Berries have grown wild in various regions in Hokkaido, Japan – as well as in Canada. The attractive blue honeysuckle berries were valued by northern communities in ancient times for their nutritional and therapeutic benefits. In the ancient Japanese dialect the name ‘Haskap’ is understood to mean “berry of long life and good vision”.

Testing in Canada has shown that the Haskap Berry has exceptional antioxidant properties. Well-established scientific studies have shown that antioxidants are effective in counteracting the harmful effects of free radicals. Free radicals are reactive, potentially damaging substances that are formed as a by-product of normal physiological processes and can cause oxidative damage. The berry has been proven to significantly exceed kiwi fruit, red currants and strawberries in terms of Vitamin C content. Testing suggests up to three times more of this valuable vitamin is found in Haskap Berry than is detected in Orange (C. sinesus (L) Osbeck).

The high Vitamin C content is only the start of the antioxidant offerings from this functional fruit. The most remarkable benefit of Nutraceuticals Haskap Berry Powder is it’s phenomenal polyphenol capacity.  Haskap Berries are brimming with Anthocyanins, which are a subclass of flavonoids and give the berries their distinctive purple, blue color and also their significant biological activity. These dynamic Anthocyanins make up 60-80% of the total polyphenol content in NGE’s Haskap Berry Powder. There is a growing body of evidence from epidemiological studies that suggests that regular anthocyanin consumption is associated with antioxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective and cardio-protective effects Powder.

Anthocyanins are water-soluble pigments providing certain color for various plant parts, especially in edible berries. … However, it is generally overlooked that instead of acting exclusively as antioxidants certain anthocyanins affect the activity of mitochondria that are the main source of energy in cells. Hello Sweet Prairie Haskap!

The major bioactive Anthocyanin in the Haskap Berry Powder offered by Nutraceuticals is Cyanidin-3-glucoside (C3G). This key flavonoid is present in the product in quantities unrivaled by other Anthocyanin rich fruits. Whilst human studies are still in progress, testing on mice has given evidence that Cyanidin-3-glucoside has the potential to enhance exercise performance by activating lactate metabolism and mitochondrial biogenesis through skeletal muscle PGC-1α up-regulation.

What are mitochondria?

Mitochondria are important parts of our cells because they take food and make energy that the rest of the cell can use.

Organelle

Animals and plants are made up of many complex cells called eukaryotic cells. Inside these cells are structures that perform special functions for the cell called organelles. The organelle that is responsible for producing energy for the cell is the mitochondria.

How many mitochondria are in a cell?

Different types of cells have different numbers of mitochondria. Some simple cells contain only one or two mitochondria. However, complex animal cells that need a lot of energy, like muscle cells, can have thousands of mitochondria.

Energy Factory

The main function of mitochondria is to produce energy for the cell. Cells use a special molecule for energy called ATP. ATP stands for adenosine triphosphate. The ATP for the cell is made within the mitochondria. You can think of the mitochondria as the energy factory or power plant of the cell.

Respiration

Mitochondria produce energy through the process of cellular respiration. Respiration is another word for breathing. The mitochondria take food molecules in the form of carbohydrates and combine them with oxygen to produce the ATP. They use proteins called enzymes to produce the correct chemical reaction.

Mitochondrion Structure

Mitochondria have a distinct structure that helps them to generate energy.
Outer membrane – The outside is protected by an outer membrane that is smooth and varies in shape from a round blob to a long rod.
Inner membrane – Unlike other organelles in the cell, mitochondria also have an inner membrane. The inner membrane is wrinkled with lots of folds and performs a number of functions to help make energy.
Cristae – The folds on the inner membrane are called cristae. Having all these folds helps to increase the surface area of the inner membrane.
Matrix – The matrix is the space inside the inner membrane. Most of the proteins of the mitochondria are in the matrix. The matrix also holds ribosomes and DNA that is unique to the mitochondria.

Other Functions

In addition to producing energy, mitochondria perform some other functions for the cell including cellular metabolism, the citric acid cycle, producing heat, controlling the concentration of calcium, and producing certain steroids.

Interesting Facts about Mitochondria

  • They can quickly change shape and move around the cell when needed.
  • When the cell needs more energy, the mitochondria can reproduce by growing larger and then dividing. If the cell needs less energy, some mitochondria will die or become inactive.
  • Mitochondria are very similar to some bacteria. For this reason, some scientists think that they originally were bacteria that were absorbed by more complex cells.
  • Different mitochondria produce different proteins. Some mitochondria can produce hundreds of different proteins used for various functions.
  • In addition to energy in the form of ATP, they also produce small amounts of carbon dioxide.

As cellular power plants and executors of programmed cell death, mitochondria are in a unique position to affect physiological and pathophysiological processes. Polyphenols were found to interfere with mitochondrial proteins and strongly modulate mitochondrial function. Mitochondrial manipulations cause a huge variety of effects, ranging from cytoprotection to cytotoxicity. Consequently, polyphenolic compounds are promising drugs in the treatment of neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases as well as cancer. In a rapidly aging society, it is of major importance to understand the underlying mechanisms of effective compounds in order to develop new treatment options.

We absolutely encourage you to learn more about polyphenols, mitochondria and the benefits of Haskap.

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