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Amaranth is the common name used to refer to plants in the amaranthus genus (of the Amaranthaceae family).
While the grain of these plants is used nutritively, the leaves are also sometimes used as dietary supplements.
Amaranth tends to contain:
Betacyanins, the pigments that gives amaranth a red colouration. The overall levels varying depending on growing conditions such as soil quality and light levels. Concentrations have been noted to be in the range of 7-30mg/100g fresh weight of sprouts
One study using the leaves of amaranthus tricolor (9 grams over three months) in postmenopausal women found that supplementation was associated with a 10.4% reduction in fasting glucose compared to control. This change was attributed to the antioxidant properties of the leaves, as benefit was also found in this study with Moringa oleifera which acts via its antioxidant content.
When tested in RAW 264.7 macrophages, amaranth seeds and sprouts from amaranthus cruentus (10 μg/mL) appeared to exert an antiinflammatory effect by inhibiting NF-kB translocation and limiting the amount of IL-6 secreted after stimulation from LPS.
In postmenopausal women given supplemental amaranth (9 grams of the leaf powder) over the course of three months, supplementation appeared to have a small benefit to the amount of the antioxidant enzyme known as superoxide dismutase (SOD; increase of 10.8%) and concomitant decrease in lipid peroxidation (9.6% assessed by MDA).
- Kushwaha S, Chawla P, Kochhar A. Effect of supplementation of drumstick (Moringa oleifera) and amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor) leaves powder on antioxidant profile and oxidative status among postmenopausal women. J Food Sci Technol. (2014)
- Tyszka-Czochara M et al.. Selenium Supplementation of Amaranth Sprouts Influences Betacyanin Content and Improves Anti-Inflammatory Properties via NFκB in Murine RAW 264.7 Macrophages. Biol Trace Elem Res. (2016)
- Khandaker L, Ali MB, Oba S. Total Polyphenol and Antioxidant Activity of Red Amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor L.) as Affected by Different Sunlight Level. J Japan Soc Hortic Sci. (2008)
- Subramanian D, Gupta S. Pharmacokinetic study of amaranth extract in healthy humans: A randomized trial. Nutrition. (2016)