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Inflammation & Oxidative Stress

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Inflammation, Oxidative Stress and Florida Orange Juice

What is Oxidative Stress and Inflammation?

Oxidative stress refers to the imbalance of the body’s defense systems from damage, like free radicals in our environment. Inflammation often occurs from oxidative stress, a response of the immune system that sometimes results in redness and swelling. Food allergies or an infection, like the cold or flu, are among the causes of short-term inflammation. Long-term chronic inflammation and oxidative stress are thought to play a significant role in the onset and progression of several diseases including cardiovascular disease.

The FDOC recently partnered with Dr. Taylor Wallace at the 2022 Today’s Dietitian Spring Symposium where he discussed the benefits of 100% Orange Juice and its role in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. Click here to view Dr. Taylor Wallace’s presentation.

The Florida Department of Citrus has provided a research grant for this study and has compensated Dr. Taylor Wallace as the speaker for this presentation. The comments and opinions within the presentation are solely those of the speaker.

Reducing Inflammation and Oxidative Stress

Nutrients in 100% orange juice have been associated with reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.1-5,29

Vitamin C: Vitamin C supports antioxidant activities in the body which in turn may help lessen oxidative stress and inflammation.6 For example, vitamin C deactivates free radicals in the skin providing photo protection against sunburn and premature aging.7

Orange juice is an excellent source of vitamin C providing more than 100% of the Daily Value in one 8 ounce glass.*

Flavonoids: Plant compounds called flavonoids,such as hesperidin and naringenin found in oranges and grapefruit, may help maintain cell health. Some research indicates these flavonoids may be able to reduce inflammation and support health of blood vessel cells.2,8 Orange juice and hesperidin have been shown to have some positive effects on cognition9-11 and cardiovascular health.8,12,13,26,27 The flavonoid hesperidin is found in high amounts in citrus and is rarely found in other foods.14

Hesperidin is concentrated in the peel of the orange, and commercial orange juice can have higher amounts of absorbable flavonoids compared to fresh-squeezed orange juice,15,16 likely due to increased pressure during processing.

Carotenoids: Carotenoids are colorful plant pigments that affect inflammatory and oxidative stress pathways, thus can inhibit the production of inflammation in our cells.17 Ultraviolet sunlight is a source of oxidative stress which can contribute to age-related eye diseases including cataracts and Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). Several studies have observed reduced risk of AMD with increased intake of carotenoids.18 Carotenoids have also been shown to protect against sunburn19,20 and premature aging.21 Since carotenoids are stored under the skin, regular consumption of orange juice can increase carotenoid levels in the skin.22 100% orange juice has many carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin and may be an option for managing inflammation through diet.

Florida Orange Juice’s high concentration of the antioxidant vitamin C may mitigate inflammation and help to fight off oxidative stress.

Detailed Nutrition Information

Several studies have shown the effects of 100% orange juice or its nutrients on inflammatory markers:

  • A scoping review, systematic review and meta-analysis on the effects of 100% OJ on markers of inflammation and oxidative stress found, in general, that OJ either had beneficial or null (no adverse) effects. A meta-analysis (10 studies) revealed that OJ significantly reduced interleukin-6, a marker of inflammation, in both healthy and high-risk adults. OJ also reduced two additional markers (hs-CRP and malondialdehyde (MDA)), although the results did not reach statistical significance.30
  • A narrative systematic review revealed that compared to lower intakes, higher intakes of hesperidin delivered by 100% orange juice may be associated with beneficial effects on oxidative stress and inflammatory markers.28
  • Consuming 750 mL of orange juice for eight weeks as part of the usual diet was associated with improvements in several anti-inflammatory and oxidative stress markers in adults.1
  • A study in healthy adults reported that daily consumption of 500mL of orange juice for two weeks resulted in a significant reduction in 8-epiPGF2α, a marker for oxidative stress.23
  • Postprandial benefits of orange juice and hesperidin on endothelial function was observed in overweight older men consuming 500ml of orange juice or a drink with hesperidin.8
  • Upregulation of genes associated with anti-inflammatory and anti-atherogenic activities were observed in overweight middle-aged men with four week daily consumption of either 500 mL of orange juice or a drink with hesperidin.4
  • Two clinical studies demonstrated that the consumption of orange juice helped attenuate the inflammatory response caused by the consumption of a high carbohydrate and/or high fat meals.2,3
  • Daily consumption of 500 ml of 100% orange juice for 8 weeks decreased markers of lipid peroxidation (TBARS) in HCV-infected patients on antiviral therapy; improvement of liver enzymes in patients with elevated baseline levels was also observed.24
  • A systematic review supports 100% fruit juice and 100% orange juice to have positive impacts on antioxidant status and lipid profiles in adults.25

*Values based on a 2000 calorie diet. FDA rounding rules applied when calculating percent DV based upon 2018 rules. Information is not intended for labeling food in packaged form. Nutrient values may vary based on brand or product types.

  1. Dourado et al. Food Nutr Res. 2015;59:28147.
  2. Cerletti et al. Thromb Res. 2015;135:255-259.
  3. Ghanim et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91:940-949.
  4. Milenkovic et al. PLoS One. 2011;6:e26669.
  5. Constans et al. Clin Nutr. 2015;34(6):1093-1100.
  6. Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Vitamin C. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press; 2000:95-185.
  7. Burke. Dermatologic Therapy. 2007;20:314-321.
  8. Morand et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;93:73–80.
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  11. Kean et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;101(3):506-514.
  12. Rendeiro et al.Br J Nutr. 2017;116(12):1999-2010.
  13. Napoleone et al. Thrombosis Research. 2013;132(2):288-292.
  14. Bhagwat S, Haytowitz D. USDA Database for the Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods Release 3.2. In. Beltsville, MD: Unites States Department of Agriculture; 2015.
  15. Aschoff et al. J Agric Food Chem. 2015;63(2):578-587.
  16. Bai et al. J Sci Food Agric. 2013;93(11):2771-2781.
  17. Carotenoids, In: Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids. Institute of Medicine. The National Academies Press, Washington, DC. 2000.
  18. Johnson. Nutr Clin Care. 2005;5(2)56-65.
  19. Lee et al. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 2000;223:170-174.
  20. Stahl et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;96:1179S-1184S.
  21. Terao et al. J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2011;48(1):57-62.
  22. Massenti et al. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2015;66(6):718-721.
  23. Sanchez-Moreno et al. J Nutr. 2003;133:2204-2209.
  24. Goncalves et al. Food Nutr Res. 2017;61(1):1296675.
  25. Crowe-White et al. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2017;57(1):152-162.
  26. Valls et al. Eur J Nutr. 2021;60(3):1277-1288.
  27. Valls et al. J Func Foods. 2021;85:104646.
  28. Tadros et al. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2021 May 20:1-20.
  29. Miles et al. Front Immunol. 2021;12:712608.
  30. Cara et al. Adv Nutr. 2021;11 Oct.