Blood orange extract may support healthy ageing: Human data

By Nicola Gordon-Seymour

- Last updated on GMT

© viennetta / Getty Images
© viennetta / Getty Images

Related tags Healthy ageing inflammaging Inflammation Oxidative stress Citrus sinensis Citrus blood orange

An extract from blood orange may reduce systematic oxidative stress and pro-inflammatory activity in older individuals and may ameliorate outcomes for age-related conditions.

A study investigating the efficacy of Citrus sinensis​ (L.) Osbeck on antioxidant serum levels revealed significant reductions in markers for oxidative stress together with improvements in the mental and physiological status of male and female subjects.

Findings underpin current trends for effective alternative strategies amid heightened awareness of the role of nutrition and specific dietary components “to prevent and mitigate the symptoms of aging​”, according to the authors.

“Eating well could be the best way to mitigate the age-related conditions. Another advantage of the naturally derived ingredients is their acceptance by consumers that see this category of ingredients as safe, non-toxic, and environmentally friendly.”

Natural approach

Blood (red) orange extract contains high concentrations of phenolic compounds anthocyanins, flavanones and hydroxycinnamic acids recognised for their antioxidant activity, such as anti-inflammatory and anti-aging activity and beneficial metabolic and neuroprotective properties.

The authors speculated that anti-aging activity may be useful in mitigating altered physiological conditions induced by reactive oxygen species (ROS) that lead to oxidative stress and a gradual loss of functionality.

“Aging is a complex process that may involve progressive oxidative damage of macro-molecules by oxygen radicals. It is well established that the impairment of antioxidant defences leads to a chronic inflammatory state characterised by an increase in circulating cytokines such as tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-x) and interleukin 6 (IL-6),”​ they wrioe.

Furthermore, lower oestrogen in post-menopausal women exacerbate symptoms associated with oxidative stress. Although hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is the intuitive choice to alleviate symptoms “it is not unusual that women often request a ‘natural’ approach”​, they said.


The randomized, double-blind study investigated the effect of supplementation on 60 male and female subjects aged between 45 and 60 years old.

Subjects were assigned to either the active or placebo group and consumed one capsule daily after breakfast. Product efficacy was measured before and after two and eight weeks.

The active supplement comprised 100mg standardised Blood Orange Complex extract (ROC, ​supplied by Bionap) containing three different pigmented, red, Sicilian orange varieties (Moro, Tarocco, and Sanguinello), 200mg maltodextrin, and 0.2mg titanium dioxide. The placebo was a blend of maltodextrin (300mg) and titanium dioxide.

Antioxidant activity was measured based on reduced glutathione hematic (GSH) and glutathione disulfide (GSSG) concentrations in erythrocytes and reactive oxygen metabolites (d-ROMs) hematic levels. Glutathione (GSH) is an important antioxidant and concentrations are known to decline with age; reductions in GSH/GSSG ratio are therefore a reliable marker of elevated oxidative stress, the authors explain.

Anti-inflammatory efficacy was measured through serum tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a) levels. Effects on wellbeing were determined with an SF-36 QoL questionnaire and menopause symptoms using the Menopause Rating Scale.

Positive effect

Data published in Nutrients​ indicated that daily supplementation increased GSH basal concentrations by 10.5% in the active group and reduced GSSG by 8.4% after two and eight weeks and compared with the placebo.

Equally, GSH/GSSG ratios improved by 22.4% and 89%, respectively, while d-ROMs fell by 11.1% over the same period.

Overall, results indicate positive effects on wellbeing, the authors said: “The extract demonstrated for the first time to have a positive effect on the wellbeing of both men and women.”

Reductions in basal TNF-a (-2.5%) following treatment were observed at eight weeks and deemed statistically significant.

Significant improvements

Male subjects demonstrated improvements in physical, emotional (energy/fatigue and emotional wellbeing) and general health factors. Significant benefits were noted for all MRS questionnaire items in both intragroup and intergroup analysis.

Improvements were significant compared to the baseline and placebo treatment, but in spite of positive results “more data are needed to confirm or to improve the robustness of the obtained results”.

Nevertheless, statistically significant improvements in basal scores of the Menopause Rating Scale (MRS) for nervousness, sexual problems, and vaginal dryness were observed, and should “be considered in supportive treatments for elderly females”​, the authors added.

Cited limitations concern the low number of subjects and limited effect of red orange extract in intergroup statistics on subjective parameters.

Source: Nutrients
Published online, October 11, 2022:
‘Antioxidant Efficacy of a Standardized Red Orange (Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck) Extract in Elderly Subjects: A Randomized, Double Blind, Controlled Study’
Authors : V. Nobile, et al.


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