Phenolic compounds of lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea)

Lingonberry is a small woody plant found on the shores of Golf St-Laurent (60). Lingonberry produces red berries very rich in antioxidant compounds, mainly phenolic compounds such as flavonols, anthocyanidins, catechins, conemic acids and ferulic acids (62). The fruits of lingonberry have very interesting pharmacological properties. The antioxidant activity of fruits has been reported by several research groups (62-67) suggesting that the juice of this fruit could protect against several serious diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative diseases. Among other things, red berry extract inhibits protein and lipid oxidation in vitro suggesting that the antioxidant compounds present in this extract may have a protective effect against cardiovascular disease. (65). On the other hand, Ho et al. propose that certain antioxidant tannins present in fruits could be effective in treating periodontal disease (gingivitis) responsible for tooth loss. (67). These compounds strongly inhibit the growth of Porphyromonas gingivalis andPrevotella intermedia,two bacteria involved in gingivitis (68).

Interestingly, recent studies seem to show that periodontal disease is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease. (69). The antibiotic activity of fruit extract has also been highlighted by a Finnish research group (70). This demonstrated that the extracts inhibited the growth of several pathogenic human bacteria and yeasts such as Helicobacter pylori, Bacillus cereus, Campylobacter jejuni, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella enterica, Escherichia coli and Candida albicans. The authors suggest that ellagitanins may be partly responsible for antibiotic activity(71). Traditional Swedish medicine uses the fruits of lingonberry to treat fever, pain and inflammation. Indeed, fruits appear to be effective since Tunon et al. (72) have shown that red berry extract inhibits certain processes related to inflammation.

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