Organic lemonade contains 10 times more of a certain antioxidant than a glass of its conventional counterpart, according to a new study by Washington State University and supported by The Organic Center. The study is the first-ever assessment of the bioavailability of three chiral flavonoids: hesperetin, naringenin and eriocitrin — all important antioxidants in citrus fruits and juices.
Led by Neal Davies, the research team at WSU, measured the levels of the three flavonoids and their enantiomers (non-superimposable mirror images ) in conventional and organic fruit and tomato juices, and for the first time ever, quantified both the glycoside (molecule with attached sugars) and agylcone (molecule stripped of sugars) forms of the enantiomers of these three flavonoids.
The study showed that the total eriocitrin (a glycoside form of eriodictyol) in organic lemonade had levels 10 times higher compared to conventional lemonade, and the agylcone form had over three-times the level in conventional juice.
Organic lime juice also had three-times the level of eriocitrin, compared to conventional lime juice. Organic apple juice had over three times the total hesperidin (glycoside), and almost twice the hesperetin (agylcone form).
And, organic grapefruit juice had about 20 percent less total hesperidin (glycoside), but 77 percent more hesperetin (agylcone).
“The importance of measuring both the glycoside and agylcone form of flavonoids, and other nutrients, is clear in the grapefruit juice findings,” The Organic Center said in a statement. “Based on the data for just the glycoside form of hesperidin, it would appear that conventional grapefruit juice contains more of this flavonoid than the organic juice that was tested. But by focusing on the more bioavailable agylcone form, the opposite conclusion would be reached.”