Study Finds Flavonoids Reduce Bone-Damaging Inflammation - Save Our Bones

A study published in the Journal of Food Science has confirmed that a class of plant polyphenols called flavonoids have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. This is great news for Savers, who know that reducing inflammation protects bone quality and density.

This study shows the power of a non-pharmaceutical treatment for reducing inflammation to prevent and reverse chronic conditions and bone loss. We'll look at the study, including which flavonoids reduced inflammation most effectively, and the foods that contain them.

Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Effects Of Flavonoids

Researchers conducted a thorough evaluation of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of flavonoids. To do so, they exposed several enzymes to a variety of flavonoids, then measured the change in the enzymes’ rates of reaction.1

The researchers performed the tests on enzymes that cause inflammatory reactions in rheumatoid arthritis. They included hyaluronidase (which catalyzes the degradation of hyaluronic acid), collagenase (which breaks down the bonds of collagen), 15-lipoxygenase (LOX, which metabolizes polyunsaturated fatty acids), and cyclooxygenase-1 and 2 (COX-1 and COX-2, which form prostanoids that mediate inflammation, anaphylactic reactions, and vasoconstriction).

Below is a breakdown of the flavonoids that reduced specific inflammatory reactions:

  • Hyaluronidase: Kaempferol, quercetin, myricetin, rutin
  • Collagenase: Apigenin, luteolin, baicalin, baicalein
  • Nitric Oxide (NO) production: Kaempferol, quercetin, myricetin, rutin apigenin, luteolin, baicalein, hesperetin, laringin
  • LOX: Quercetin, luteolin
  • COX-1: Quercetin
  • COX-2: Kaempferol, quercetin, myricetin, rutin, apigenin, luteolin, baicalein, hesperetin, catechin, baicalin, laringin

Notably, the study authors found that all tested flavonoids inhibited COX-2 reaction, although luteolin, kaempferol, hesperetin, and naringin inhibited the reaction most potently. Quercetin showed relatively potent inhibition of COX-1 reaction.

All the flavonoids except baicalin and catechin inhibited nitrite production in a dose-dependent manner, likely due to the suppression of inducible nitric oxide (NO) synthase.1 Nitrite can combine with protein compounds in the body to form nitrosamines- confirmed carcinogens and potent acidifiers. When it becomes nitric oxide, the compound is a free radical that does oxidative damage to other molecules.

The study further proves the anti-inflammatory effects of flavonoids and establishes that they accomplish this through the inhibition of enzymes, antioxidant action, and the inhibition of NO production.

We can extrapolate this information to bone health because:

  • Flavonoids are found in plant foods brimming with bone-building nutrients.
  • Reducing inflammation reduces and prevents bone damage, including reducing hip fracture incidence
  • Flavonoids provide a natural alternative to acidifying anti-inflammatory drugs.


The study on flavonoids found that the tested polyphenols inhibited the inflammatory enzyme reactions, reduced oxidative damage, and inhibited the production of nitric oxide.

Safe And Natural Alternatives To Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Inflammation damages bone. Studies have shown that people with high levels of inflammatory markers have a 73% higher risk of hip fracture than those with low levels of inflammatory markers.2

It should then come as no surprise that another major study found that less inflammatory diets are associated with less bone mineral density (BMD) loss in postmenopausal women, while a more inflammatory diet was associated with increased risk of hip fracture.3

Reducing inflammation is clearly critical to protecting your bones, and flavonoids are an excellent resource, especially considering that anti-inflammatory drugs are detrimental to bone health.

NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are a class of pain-killing drugs that include aspirin, celecoxib (Celebrex), and ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil). They all reduce pain by inhibiting COX reactions, thereby reducing the inflammation that causes the discomfort.

Most NSAIDs primarily inhibit COX-1, but selective COX-2 inhibitors like celecoxib were developed to be less damaging to the stomach’s lining. However, many COX-2 inhibitors were pulled from the market after disastrous results.

The Save Institute recommends avoiding all drugs whenever possible since they’re all acidifying and have undesirable side-effects. NSAIDs actually have a scientifically-proven negative impact on bone remodeling.

A study on fracture healing found that COX-2 inhibitors delayed healing time, especially when treatment lasted longer than 15 days. The researchers extrapolated the results to conclude that any type of NSAIDs should be avoided after a fracture.4

Flavonoids, however, engage in a complex set of interactions that allow them to reduce inflammatory reactions and support bone growth simultaneously. For example, kaempferol, one of the flavonoids that most frequently and potently inhibited inflammatory enzymes in the first study, was found to enhance the fracture healing process in another study.5


Inflammation damages bone, but anti-inflammatory drugs are acidifying and have been shown to slow fracture healing. Flavonoids like kaempferol offer a bone-healthy way to reduce inflammation while supporting the bone remodeling process.

Fantastic Flavonoids And Where To Find Them

The anti-inflammatory action of these flavonoids can help reduce pain, but they have many other positive outcomes for your bones and overall health. Here is a list of particularly potent flavonoids, how they improve your health, and the foods that contain them.


Quercetin is a nutritional antioxidant powerhouse. It’s health benefits include:

  • Balancing blood pressure6
  • Improved cardiovascular health7
  • Reduced respiratory irritation8
  • Reduction in bone-damaging cortisol9
  • Reduced oxidative damage

Find quercetin in these foods:

*Foundation Food


Luteolin is the most potent bone-protecting anti-inflammatory polyphenol. It has other incredible benefits such as:

  • Inhibits cytokine expression to reduce inflammation10
  • Protects brain tissue that promotes neurological regeneration after surgery <sup22
  • Improves spatial working memory12
  • Reduced oxidative damage

It’s most readily available in these foods:

*Foundation Food


Kaempferol is particularly notable for its ability to protect osteoblasts. Its benefits include:13

  • Protection from oxidative damage
  • Inhibits blood platelet formation
  • Inhibits cancer cells
  • Inhibits low-density lipoprotein (LDL), helping to balance cholesterol
  • Protects osteoblasts from toxins produced by bacteria14

You can get kaempferol from these foods:

*Foundation Food


Hesperetin is a flavonoid most famously found in citrus fruits like lemons and oranges. Here are its most important health benefits:

  • Reduces oxidative damage
  • Anti-carcinogenic
  • Protects heart tissue15
  • Helps control blood sugar16
  • Reduces cognitive problems by preventing nerve cell death17
  • Reduces depressive symptoms18
  • Increases bone cell formation19

Below are some delicious sources of hesperetin:

  • Oranges*
  • Tangerines*
  • Lemons*
  • Limes*
  • Citrus fruit hybrids
  • Sun-dried tangerine peels

*Foundation Food


Naringin is the polyphenol that gives grapefruit its bitter taste. Its benefits include:20

  • Anti-cancer effects
  • Improves metabolic health
  • Reduces oxidative stress
  • Protects DNA from damage
  • Beneficial for Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Beneficial for Parkinson’s disease

This polyphenol is found in:

  • Rosemary (fresh)
  • Grapefruit*
  • Pummelo
  • Wine (red and white)
  • Oranges*
  • Beer

*Foundation Food


The rewards of a diet rich in flavonoids include protection from high blood pressure and neurodegenerative diseases. They’re found in foods ranging from leafy greens to bitter citrus and many kinds of herbs.

Reduce Inflammation To Protect Bone

It's easy to consume these polyphenols as part of your regular bone-healthy diet. If you're dealing with pain from inflammation, the anti-inflammatory effects of these flavonoids will provide natural relief.

Even when you’re pain-free, making these foods part of your regular diet will protect your bones from the damage caused by inflammation. The best part about this natural strategy for building stronger bones is that it serves your total health, helping you to enjoy every day to its fullest.

Stop Worrying About Your Bone Loss

Join thousands of Savers from around the world who have reversed or prevented their bone loss naturally and scientifically with the Osteoporosis Reversal Program.

Learn More Now →






















The Top 14 Things You’re Doing That Are Damaging Your Bones... And More!

  • Stop The Bone Thieves! report
  • Email course on how to prevent and reverse bone loss
  • Free vital osteoporosis news and updates.
Get It Free Now
20 comments. Leave Yours Now →
  1. Theresa Pope

    The above article was just what I need for treating inflammation. Thank you.

  2. june

    Dr. Mercola recommends eating powdered egg shells to help prevent and cure osteoporosis. What is your take on this?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Eggshells contain calcium carbonate, along with a small amount of protein and other organic compounds, including strontium, fluoride, magnesium, and selenium. Studies have shown that eggshell calcium is well absorbed. However, it is an inorganic form of calcium that is also widely used as an industrial mineral. Not surprisingly, it has been shown to cause a variety of health ailments. You can search our blog to find many articles on this topic, June.

      • june

        Thank you. I really enjoy reading your reports. Keep up the good work.

  3. Linda Pecora

    This is a terrific article. I appreciate you sharing Thank you very much.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re very welcome, Linda!

  4. Kathy

    I didn’t realize that beer was a foundation “food”.
    Great article…I actually took more away from it than that fact. Lol

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Lol, Kathy! Thanks for letting us know about the typo.

  5. Nancy

    Thank you for your this article. I have found that ashwagandha and curcumin have been helpful in eliminating inflammatory pelvic and low back pain.

    Regards Nancy, Belwood Ontario

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re welcome, Nancy! And I’m glad you found a natural solution to your pain 🙂

  6. Kate

    This is a terrific article. I so appreciate your sharing! We are fortunate to receive the information you have gleaned from your research in this and all of your articles. Many thanks!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      My pleasure, Kate!

  7. Annabelle

    Thank you. Good to know. Glad I like most of those foods and they are included in your programme.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re welcome, Annabelle!

  8. Ita

    Thank you very much, Ita.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re very welcome, Ita 🙂

  9. geno

    Great material!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      So glad you’re enjoying today’s article, Geno!

  10. maureenstaines

    Flavonoids, thank you for a most interesting article. Lots of extra food items I will incorporate in my diet.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Yes, Maureen, that’s the idea. Isn’t it great to know that there are so many foods that help our bones, and that we can base ourselves on science to make the right choices?

Leave a Comment

The purpose of this comment section is to encourage you to interact with the other Savers. Thank you so much for joining the conversation!

Get Started With Your FREE
Natural Bone Building Kit.

Get a free copy of our ‘Stop The Bone Thieves’ eBook, exclusive content that you can’t find anywhere else, plus vital osteoporosis news and updates.

Get It Free

Get Your Free Bone-Building Kit


‘Stop The Bone Thieves’ guide, exclusive info, plus vital osteoporosis news and updates.