Cyanidin 3-glucoside (c3g) is a natural pigment found in a variety of dark-colored fruits, plants, and vegetables. It’s gaining popularity due to the potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Scientists are investigating the effects of c3g on diabetes, cancer, and other conditions, but the clinical evidence is lacking. Read on to learn its potential benefits, dosage, and sources.
What is Cyanidin 3-Glucoside?
Also known as chrysanthemin – not to be confused with the chrysanthemum flower – cyanidin 3-glucoside is a member of the anthocyanin family of pigments. Anthocyanins are odorless and can appear blue, red, or black, depending on the acidity of the plant tissues. These are the same pigments that cause leaves to change color in the fall .
Cyanidin 3-glucoside occurs naturally in blueberries, acai, and black soybean among many other plants. Animal and cell studies suggest strong antioxidant and potential anti-diabetic and heart-protecting properties, but there’s no clinical evidence to back them up.
- Lowers oxidative stress
- May help with diabetes
- May protect the liver and heart
- May combat H. Pylori
- No clinical trials available
- Unknown long-term safety
- May have poor absorption
- May interact with certain drugs
How It Works
The mechanism of action of cyanidin 3-glucoside is still an active area of research. Preliminary experiments show that the molecule acts as a powerful antioxidant. Cyanidin 3-glucoside may protect the heart and blood vessels by reducing oxidative stress [2, 3, 4, 5].
Anthocyanin extracts increase the activity of proteins in fat tissues that are involved in burning fat. One of these proteins (UCP-2) is currently being researched as a potential genetic marker and treatment target for type-II diabetes [6, 7].
People who are Th2 dominant experience hyperactive immune symptoms in the form of excessive allergic reactions. Cyanidin 3-glucoside may decrease Th2 response by suppressing its related immune signals (IL-4 transcription) .
The most common anthocyanin in many plants, such as black raspberries, is cyanidin 3-rutinoside. It needs to be activated by specific enzymes to cyanidin 3-glucoside in order to be used in the body .
Cyanidin 3-glucoside enters the bloodstream from the gut, but it’s uncertain to what extent. Some studies suggest that less than 1% can be used by the body. It might, in fact, be broken down into other active compounds, which are yet to be discovered [10, 11].
C3g digestion was enhanced in one study in the presence of human gut bacteria in rats, compared to rats without gut bacteria. This suggests that our natural intestinal environment provides an advantage for digesting c3g .
Potential Benefits of Cyanidin 3-Glucoside
Animal and Cellular Research (Lacking Evidence)
No clinical evidence supports the use of cyanidin 3-glucoside for any of the conditions listed in this section. Below is a summary of the existing animal and cell-based studies; they should guide further investigational efforts but should not be interpreted as supportive of any health benefit.
In animal studies, scientists observed the following effects of cyanidin 3-glucoside:
- Reduced fat tissue and cells in diabetic mice with high blood fat levels. C3g increased fat cell differentiation, which is otherwise deficient in diabetes .
- Decreased fasting blood glucose in diabetic mice. It also reduced diabetic complications in mice, such as damage to the kidneys, liver, and pancreas .
- Decreased insulin resistance, increased insulin secretion, and decreased blood glucose levels after meals in treated groups, according to an analysis of rodent studies .
These results point to c3g as a promising option for improving blood sugar control, but the clinical evidence is lacking.
2) Heart Disease
According to preclinical research, C3g can lower cholesterol and thus potentially improve heart health .
Berry extracts containing cyanidin 3-glucoside reduced cholesterol levels in rats fed a high-cholesterol diet and also increased HDL cholesterol, which may be beneficial .
A study on diabetic rats showed less heart damage in the group treated with cyanidin 3-glucoside compared to controls .
C3g blocked the clogging process when applied to human blood platelets from healthy men and women .
3) Metabolic Syndrome
People with metabolic syndrome usually have belly fat, and higher glucose levels and blood pressure, putting them at high risk for numerous diseases. A study on rats showed that c3g reversed symptoms of metabolic syndrome [19, 20].
4) Liver Protection
Dietary cyanidin 3-glucoside reversed signs of liver damage in mice with liver injury over eight weeks by reducing inflammation and cell death .
5) H. Pylori Infection
Helicobacter Pylori is a bacteria that can lead to a host of digestive problems, including ulcers and stomach cancer. One study found that cyanidin 3-glucoside reduced cell death in human stomach cells affected by H. Pylori by blocking the release of toxins [22, 23].
Limitations and Caveats
There is an absence of clinical trials on cyanidin 3-glucoside. Findings from animal and cell studies may not translate into the same health benefits in humans.
Additionally, it’s impossible to establish a safe and effective dosage because of the lack of clinical data .
Cyanidin 3-Glucoside Side Effects & Precautions
Keep in mind that the safety profile of cyanidin 3-glucoside is relatively unknown, given the lack of well-designed clinical studies. The list of side effects below is not a definite one, and you should consult your doctor about other potential side effects, based on your health condition and possible drug or supplement interactions.
Anthocyanins are present in many commonly consumed fruits. They are safe and no health risks are known from the amounts present in food. Extracts with cyanidin 3-glucoside were well tolerated in a study of 12 human subjects .
Supplement-drug interactions can be dangerous and, in rare cases, even life-threatening. Always consult your doctor before supplementing and let them know about all drugs and supplements you are using or considering.
C3g and other anthocyanins may interfere with chemotherapy drugs by either increasing or decreasing their activity .
Low doses of statins and c3g might potentially be combined for enhanced treatment of atherosclerosis .
When combined with immune cancer therapy, trastuzumab, c3g enhanced antitumor activity in animals and cells .
Cyanidin 3-Glucoside Supplementation
C3g supplements have not been approved by the FDA for medical use. In general, regulatory bodies aren’t assuring the quality, safety, and efficacy of supplements. Speak with your doctor before supplementing.
Although cyanidin 3-glucoside occurs naturally in many berries, it is also available as a supplement in the form of capsules and soft gels. Black bean extract is a common source for many commercially available supplements.
Because C3g is not approved by the FDA for any condition, there is no official dose. Users and supplement manufacturers have established unofficial doses based on trial and error. Discuss with your doctor if C3g may be useful as a complementary approach in your case and which dose you should take.
Animal studies administered high daily doses of cyanidin 3-glucoside, which would be equivalent to 700-2000 mg daily for a person weighing about 150 lbs. In commercially available products, C3g doses range from 30-600 mg. None of these have been confirmed in human studies [18, 21].
It’s unlikely to receive such high doses of cyanidin 3-glucoside from natural sources like acai or raspberries, although other health benefits of including fruits and berries into your diet are worth considering.
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Reviews for the product are mixed without reports of negative side effects. Many supplement users seek out Cyanidin 3-glucoside to increase muscle mass, endurance and boost weight loss. Some users express positive results, while others are not convinced that c3g made any observable difference.