Betanin as a multipath oxidative stress and inflammation modulator: a beetroot pigment with protective effects on cardiovascular disease pathogenesis

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2022;62(2):539-554. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2020.1822277. Epub 2020 Sep 30.


Oxidative stress is a common physiopathological condition enrolled in risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Individuals in such a redox imbalance status present endothelial dysfunctions and inflammation, reaching the onset of heart disease. Phytochemicals are able to attenuate the main mechanisms of oxidative stress and inflammation and should be considered as supportive therapies to manage risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Beetroot (Beta vulgaris L.) is a rich source of bioactive compounds, including betanin (betanidin-5-O-β-glucoside), a pigment displaying the potential to alleviate oxidative stress and inflammantion, as previously demonstrated in preclinical trials. Betanin resists gastrointestinal digestion, is absorbed by the epithelial cells of intestinal mucosa and reaches the plasma in its active form. Betanin displays free-radical scavenger ability through hydrogen or electron donation, preserving lipid structures and LDL particles while inducing the transcription of antioxidant genes through the nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2 and, simultaneously, suppressing the pro-inflammatory nuclear factor kappa-B pathways. This review discusses the anti-radical and gene regulatory cardioprotective activities of betanin in the pathophysiology of endothelial damage and atherogenesis, the main conditions for cardiovascular disease. In addition, betanin influences on these multipath cellular signals and aiding in reducing cardiovascular disorders is proposed.

Keywords: Free-radical scavanger; LDL protection; atherogenesis prevention; gene-modulator; inflammatory supressor.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants
  • Betacyanins*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / prevention & control
  • Oxidative Stress


  • Antioxidants
  • Betacyanins