Cyanidin 3- O-galactoside: A Natural Compound with Multiple Health Benefits

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Feb 24;22(5):2261. doi: 10.3390/ijms22052261.


Cyanidin 3-O-galactoside (Cy3Gal) is one of the most widespread anthocyanins that positively impacts the health of animals and humans. Since it is available from a wide range of natural sources, such as fruits (apples and berries in particular), substantial studies were performed to investigate its biosynthesis, chemical stability, natural occurrences and content, extraction methods, physiological functions, as well as potential applications. In this review, we focus on presenting the previous studies on the abovementioned aspects of Cy3Gal. As a conclusion, Cy3Gal shares a common biosynthesis pathway and analogous stability with other anthocyanins. Galactosyltransferase utilizing uridine diphosphate galactose (UDP-galactose) and cyanidin as substrates is unique for Cy3Gal biosynthesis. Extraction employing different methods reveals chokeberry as the most practical natural source for mass-production of this compound. The antioxidant properties and other health effects, including anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antidiabetic, anti-toxicity, cardiovascular, and nervous protective capacities, are highlighted in purified Cy3Gal and in its combination with other polyphenols. These unique properties of Cy3Gal are discussed and compared with other anthocyanins with related structure for an in-depth evaluation of its potential value as food additives or health supplement. Emphasis is laid on the description of its physiological functions confirmed via various approaches.

Keywords: anthocyanin biosynthesis; galactosyltransferase; physiological functions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anthocyanins / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Biological Products / pharmacology*
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Galactosides / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Phytochemicals / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*


  • Anthocyanins
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biological Products
  • Galactosides
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Phytochemicals
  • Plant Extracts
  • cyanidin 3-galactoside