| Food & Diet

The Top Four Benefits Of Schisandra

By Tyler Woodward

Schisandra chinensis, also known as the five-flavor fruit, is a fruit-bearing vine originating from Asia. The fruit of schisandra has been used for centuries as part of traditional Chinese medicine. In the seeds of the schisandra fruit exist a few types of lignins that may exert extremely beneficial effects in the body. There are currently three types of lignins within the schisandra seed that are known as Schisandra A, B, and C. 


Potential Benefits Of Schisandra:

Potential Benefits Of Schisanda

  • May Combat Alzheimer’s Disease - One study found that Schisandran B was able to help prevent the formation of the Beta-amyloid plaque that is believed to be the major constituent of alzheimer’s disease. 
  • May Help Protect The Liver - One study performed on mice found that Schisandrin C had liver protective or hepatoprotective effects. The authors hypothesized that this is likely due to schisandra’s anti-inflammatory/free-radical scavenging effects.
  • May Decrease Symptoms Of Menopause - A study performed on 41 women found that schisandra pollen extract was a safe and efficacious alternative or complement to menopause medication, particularly for hot flashes, sweating, and heart palpitations. 
  • May Have Antidepressant-like Effects - Two studies performed on mice (1,2) found that it had antidepressant-like effects, but the scientists were unaware of the mechanisms behind the effects.

Read More: Hesperidin, The Chemical That Might Make Make You Save The Peel?

How Schisandra Extract Works:

How. Does Schisandra Work

Upon analysis schisandra extract was found to contain a number of compounds that likely contribute to its effects. This includes:

  • Essential Oils - Including as sesquiterpenes
  • Triterpenes - Including schisandra A, B, C, and D
  • Polyphenols - Including chlorogenic and salicylic acid
  • Flavonoids - Including quercetin, isoquercetin, and rutin
  • Organic Acids - Including citric and malic acid

Additionally, in the schisandra fruit itself resides a number of mono and polysaccharides like glucose, fructose, vitamins C and E, among a number of essential trace minerals and electrolytes. 

No one is exactly sure what compounds are responsible for the biological effects derived from the schisandra fruit and extract, but it’s likely to be from any one or the combination of multiple of these compounds. The majority of schisandra’s effects seem to be from its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and insulin-sensitizing effects. 

A number of studies have found that schisandra extract resulted in an elevation in the amount of antioxidant enzymes and vitamins in the cell. This suggests that the schisandra extract either had antioxidant-sparing effect by being utilized as a free radical itself and sparing the vitamin/enzyme or the extract signals to the body to increase its antioxidant production. Additionally, its been shown that schisandra lignin is able to prevent the production of nitric oxide and the inflammatory prostaglandins, further increasing its anti-inflammatory effects.

Secondly, schisandra extract has been found to exert antibacterial effects against a number of both gram-positive and gram-negative effects. The fruit extract was able to change the permeability of the bacterial membrane and severely damage it, often resulting in the death of the bacterial cell. 

Lastly, schisandra extract appears to be able to improve carbohydrate metabolism, resulting in increases in insulin sensitivity. A few studies performed on animals found that schisandra chinensis extract was able to increase insulin sensitivity by promoting the uptake of glucose in addition to preventing insulin resistance and the accumulation of fatty liver. 

Read More: The Importance Of Micronutrients

How To Supplement With Schisandra:

How To Supplement With Schisandra

When choosing a schisandra supplement it's important as always to make sure it’s from a reputable company that performs rigorous purity testing to make sure you’re getting exactly what you paid for. Additionally, you want to make sure that the supplement is extracted directly from the schisandra plant and is not made from a synthetically isolated version of the extract. Although the synthetically produced version may be equally as effective this is yet to be shown in the research, additionally it could come with other unwanted side effects.

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