What is Chrysin?
Chrysin is a flavonoid that is abundant in mint (Radix scutellariae), bee glue (propolis), blue passion flower, and honey. Flavonoids are natural substances found in a variety of edible plants. These substances have always been of great interest because of their wide range of benefits [1, 2].
Chrysin limits fat molecule damage (lipid peroxidation), and thus prevents cellular membrane damage, protein damage, and the imbalance of cellular functions, an example being mitochondria’s release of calcium .
Mitochondria are the energy source for a cell, and it relies heavily on calcium levels for it to work. Lipid peroxidation can cause high levels of calcium to accumulate, which triggers the mitochondria to fail and cause cell death .
Chrysin Reduces Inflammation
Chrysin exhibits interaction with the COX-2 binding site and acts as a competitive inhibitor. COX-2 has a key role in inducing inflammation and decreasing levels of prostaglandin E2.
Health Benefits of Chrysin
1) Chrysin May Prevent Cancer
Chrysin inhibits tumor growth by activating the Notch1 signaling pathway in both cell and mice studies .
It also decreases the cellular activity of the NF-KB molecule, which plays a critical role in controlling inflammation, immunity, cell division, and cell survival. By doing so, chrysin is able to limit cancer cell division, communication, and survival [5, 2].
A review showed that chrysin was able to kill the following types of cancer cells :
- Glioblastoma (brain)
- Hematological (blood)
Combining chrysin with chemotherapy drugs (doxorubicin, cisplatin, and ciglitazone) also increased cancer cell death (apoptosis) and prevented tumor cell survival .
In a pilot trial of 20 colorectal cancer patients, 350 mg doses of chrysin combined with CPT-11 (a colorectal cancer medication) over 3 weeks helped reduce drug-induced diarrhea. However, there is no evidence that chrysin had any anti-cancer effects in the patients .
2) Chrysin Might Prevent Brain Damage
Chrysin prevents microglia from releasing nitric oxide and inflammatory cytokines. This reduces nerve cell damage and helps prevent the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s .
In a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease, chrysin acted as an anti-aging agent and worked to decrease memory impairment .
3) Chrysin May Help Treat Depression and Anxiety
Chrysin is also able to create a sedative effect, which is linked to its effects on GABA. GABA helps to calm the body down as it promotes relaxation, and balances out the increased activity of glutamate, which is increased during anxiety attacks .
4) Chrysin May Help Improve Male Fertility
In male rats, oral administration of chrysin significantly increased testosterone production, sperm movement, and sperm concentration.
It also reduced abnormal sperm rate, indicating its potential benefits in treating male infertility .
It activates the testicular StAR gene, which contributes to testosterone production. In mice with rheumatoid arthritis, chrysin reduced inflammatory cytokine activity, which helped prevent testicular injury and increased testosterone levels [2, 4].
5) Chrysin Might Help with Treating Diabetes
In other studies of diabetic rats, aside from improving blood glucose levels, chrysin supplementation protected against diabetes-associated complications.
Chrysin can treat diabetes because it limits the excessive buildup of AGE. High levels of AGE may contribute to the onset of diabetes. Chrysin inhibits the activity of reactive oxygen species, which helps inhibit the production of AGE [2, 16].
6) Chrysin May Help Protect the Heart
In a mouse model of drug-induced heart toxicity, chrysin inhibited heart cell death .
A review of mice and cell studies showed that chrysin can reduce heart damage in various ways. It activates PPAR-gamma, which reduces inflammation.
Chrysin also suppressed oxidative stress and other inflammatory pathways (MAPK and NF-kB). Excessive inflammation can cause swelling of the arteries or heart, plaque-buildup (atherosclerosis), or cell damage [2, 18].
7) Chrysin May Prevent Liver Damage
Chrysin also reduced liver scarring (fibrosis) in another mouse study .
8) Chrysin May Help Protect the Kidneys
Reactive oxygen species can cause the kidney cells to undergo DNA damage. Chrysin helps both protect DNA from further damage and is able to increase the rate of repair .
In a mouse study, chrysin eliminated proteinuria (a condition where more than 300 mg of protein is found in expelled urine), an indicator of kidney disease. It also increased the filtration rate, indicating a better functioning kidney [22, 2].
It increased the filtration rate of plasma (a component of blood), indicating a better functioning kidney .
In another mouse study, chrysin suppressed the TNF-α pathway and inflammation and prevented further kidney damage .
9) Chrysin May Help Treat Asthma
Chrysin reduced allergic inflammation in mouse airways by reducing inflammation.
In a pilot study of 20 colorectal cancer patients, 350 mg doses of chrysin combined with CPT-11 (a colorectal cancer medication) over 3 weeks did not cause any adverse effects .
Another human study where 7 participants were given a single 400 mg oral dose resulted in no adverse effects .
Limitations and Caveats
Chrysin has poor intestinal absorption, which is beneficial, as this allows for low risk of toxicity, but also brings in the question of how effective it is when used for treatment in the various inflammatory diseases mentioned above .
Extensive human trials have yet to be conducted on chrysin. The results of animal and cell studies may not be replicated in human studies.
Natural sources of chrysin include :
- Mint plant (Radix scutellariae)
- Bee glue (propolis)
- Passionflower (P. caerulea L)
- Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus)
Forms of Supplementation
Chrysin is mostly sold in capsule form. There are also creams and serums that contain chrysin .
Users said that chrysin is very effective at increasing testosterone levels. People have supplemented chrysin while bodybuilding and one user said he felt stronger. However, others said that it increased aggression levels.
Some users did not notice any effects, and one user complained of acidity.