Medical Properties of Xanthones

Research on Xanthones is ongoing. There are many results people report about health benefits from xanthones that cannot be explained by the science yet. This is likely due to the fact that only about 15% of known xanthones have been studied to any degree.

Some of the known benefits of xanthones based on recent research are:

ü Anti-Fatigue - Helps boost energy

ü Anti-Inflammatory - Helps prevent and reduce inflammation

ü Anti-Aging

ü Helps prevent cancer. According to a preliminary study, six xanthones have been found to be capable of killing cancer cells

ü Helps lower blood pressure

ü Helps lower blood sugar. Many people with type II diabetes have reported that it helps them to regulate their blood sugar levels.

ü Helps prevent infections - Bacteria, Microbes, Viruses, Fungus

ü Anti-Diarrheal - In folk medicine, the pericarp of the mangosteen (most potent source of xanthones) has been used for centuries to effectively treat dysentery

ü Anti-Parkinson Anti-Alzheimer Helps prevent dementia

ü Anti-allergenic - Helps with allergies

ü Eye Care - Helps prevents cataracts and glaucoma

ü Helps protect the heart and cardiovascular system

ü Anti-Obesity

A recent study has confirmed that gamma mangostin, a xanthones derivative found in the mangosteen, is a potent COX (Cyclooxgenase) 2 inhibitor. The COX 2 enzyme is a chemical in the body that causes inflammation. This enzyme is commonly found in people suffering from joint pain and arthritis. However, it is also being found with other diseases as well, that are not as obvious, such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, cancer, and Diabetes. In three separate studies, a xanthones derivative of the mangosteen slowed down the body's production of the COX 2 enzyme.

What is Xanthones?

Xanthones are biologically active plant phenols found in a few select tropical plants.

In 1855, a German scientist, Schmidt isolated a crystalline compound from the pericarp rind of the mangosteen fruit. Due to the compound's yellow color, he named it after the Greek word "Xanthos" for yellow. Thus, the term "Xanthone" has been in use ever since.

Xanthones are biologically active group of molecules and possess a six-carbon conjugated ring structure with multiple double carbon bonds that make the xanthone molecule very stable.

Current research on xanthones suggests they are beneficial in helping with many conditions including: allergies, infections (microbial, fungus, viral), cholesterol levels, inflammation, skin disorders, gastro-intestinal disorders, and fatigue.

One study indicated the following pharmacological properties of xanthones: anti-depressant, anti-tuberculotic, antimicrobial (bacteria and fungus), antiviral, anti-leukemic, antitumor, antiulcer and anti-diabetic. A few of the most-studied mangosteen xanthones are Alpha-Mangostin, Gamma-Mangostin and Garcinone E.

Xanthones have been found to support and enhance the body's immune system. Xanthones also exhibit strong antioxidant activity which is beneficial for neutralizing free radicals in the body.

The most plentiful natural source of xanthones is the mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana), which contains over 40 xanthones. The mangosteen has by far the most xanthones of any plant. The pericarp of the mangosteen fruit contains the vast majority of the xanthones.

Xanthones are some of the most potent antioxidants known. It is thought to be more potent than both Vitamin C and Vitamin E. In fact, many doctors refer to xanthones as "Super Antioxidants."

Xanthones are heat stable molecules. Unlike proteins, they won't denature or lose their structure when heated.

Xanthone Measurement

As awareness and consumption of the mangosteen has increased worldwide, so has the need to better understand the fruit’s most prominent phytonutrient, xanthones. After all, the mangosteen fruit has nature’s most concentrated source of xanthones, a family of vigorous antioxidants.

To establish a rapid, dependable approach for identifying xanthones in their naturally occurring state, researchers were asked to develop a credible, easily duplicable analytical method for testing and measuring xanthones in the rind of the mangosteen fruit, Garcinia mangostana. The whole mangosteen fruit rind was chosen as the standard because its response factor is similar to many of the naturally occurring xanthones.

The peer-reviewed, single lab validated High Performance Liquid Chromatography (or HPLC) analysis of selected xanthones in mangosteen fruit study was published in the June 2007 issue of the Journal of Separation Science. The study utilized AOAC protocols. AOAC International is a not-for-profit scientific association that sets standard methods, allowing consumers to have confidence in analytical results obtained from scientific analysis.

An 80:20 acetone/water mixture was used to extract the xanthones from dried, ground whole mangosteen fruit rind. A total of six xanthones were purified by preparative HPLC, utilizing the same solvent system and UV detection as for the analytical method. Each compound has unique UV absorption spectra that allows for easy identification of the xanthone found naturally in the mangosteen fruit.

The study establishes a credible scientific method for testing and measuring xanthones. Six specific xanthones have been identified, and their relative response factors determined. Although additional xanthones are in the process of being identified and measured, this research ensures a more consistent and reliable marketing of mangosteen products to consumers relative to xanthone content claims.