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What Are the Benefits of Vitamin P?

By M. Haskins
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Vitamin P is not actually a vitamin; instead the term refers to several substances more accurately called flavonoids or bioflavonoids that occur naturally in many types of plants. One scientifically proven benefit of taking bioflavonoids is that they make it easier for the body to absorb vitamin C. There are also many other claims made about the benefits of vitamin P, including that it can protect against inflammation and infection, alleviate pain, strengthen blood vessels, prevent cataracts, boost the immune system, and be used to treat and prevent allergies and cancer. Some of these claims are supported by preliminary scientific studies, but scientists do not yet know how vitamin P works or how effective it is, and there is no recommendation of a daily dosage. Good sources of bioflavonoids in the diet include dark chocolate, green tea, red wine, apples, citrus fruits, and many other fruits and vegetables.

Quercetin is one bioflavonoid commonly included under the label of vitamin P. Studies show it has some antioxidant properties, meaning it prevents the oxidation, or breakdown, of certain other molecules, such as vitamin C. It also has some anti-inflammatory properties, which could make it useful in the treatment of conditions like arthritis, which involves inflammation of the joints. There have been some claims that quercetin can be used to treat and prevent cancer, but these health benefits have not been proven.

Rutin is another flavonoid component of vitamin P that is being studied by medical researchers. Studies done in vitro, meaning in test tubes rather than on people or animals, have shown that, like quercetin, rutin has potential anti-inflammatory properties. It has also been shown to thin the blood and improve circulation. Other studies show that this bioflavonoid can strengthen the walls of the blood vessels in the body, which can have beneficial effects on the circulatory system. Some health practitioners recommend rutin as a treatment for various conditions such as hay fever, varicose veins and glaucoma, but most such treatments are still experimental.

It is often recommended to take vitamin P together with vitamin C supplements, because bioflavonoids inhibit the breakdown of vitamin C, making it easier for the body to absorb this vitamin. There is no recommended daily intake of vitamin P, though 500 mg is sometimes mentioned as an appropriate dosage. Eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables will provide enough vitamin P for the body to function properly.

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Discussion Comments
By wavy58 — On Feb 19, 2012

A few years ago, my immune system seemed very weak. I could not go for a whole month without getting sick, and I was tired of it.

I decided to start taking vitamin C. However, I knew that I also needed vitamin P to help me get the most out of it, so I came up with a plan.

I would make a cup of hot green tea in the morning instead of coffee. I would swallow my vitamin C supplement with the green tea, so I would be getting two vitamins at once.

Since the vitamin P carrier was liquid, I figured it would get into my system first. This meant it would be ready to help me absorb the vitamin C by the time it got there.

I believe that it worked, because I began to feel much better. I stopped getting sick so often, and I just felt stronger.

By Perdido — On Feb 19, 2012

@OeKc05 – I have heard of flavonoids, but I had never heard them called “vitamin P,” either. It makes me wonder if there is a vitamin for every letter of the alphabet!

I always get happy when I read an article like this that lists the food sources of certain vitamins and I see that I am already getting plenty of them from my diet. I eat an apple every day, and I love oranges, so I see that I am getting my vitamin P. I hardly ever get sick, and this may be why.

My husband has recently starting making this wonderful dessert from dark chocolate that tastes delicious with red wine. I didn't even know that I was getting vitamin P from both of these fun-to-consume things!

By cloudel — On Feb 18, 2012

My dad started drinking green tea every day for its flavonoid content. He had heard all the good press it was getting for being able to prevent infections, and he thought maybe it could help him.

He has chronic severe allergies, and though he takes antihistamines, he still gets sinus and upper respiratory infections a lot. Flavonoids are supposed to be able to guard against infections like these, so he figured that downing a couple of cups of green tea a day might be the solution.

His sinus health has improved since he started drinking the tea, but his allergies will probably never disappear entirely. However, if the tea can prevent him from having to go to the doctor for antibiotics several times a year, I know he will be happy.

By OeKc05 — On Feb 17, 2012

I had never heard of vitamin P before, but I did know that dark chocolate is now considered good for your heart. Believe me, I listened closely when a nutritional expert spoke on this topic, because chocolate is one of my favorite foods, and I wanted any excuse to eat more of it!

The expert said that it could prevent heart disease. It can keep platelets from clumping up, and it can even lower blood pressure!

She recommended eating at least half an ounce of it every day. She said that more would be better for you, and I totally agreed with her.

Seriously though, I had slightly elevated blood pressure before I started eating dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. Once I learned that it could help, I made the switch, and now my pressure is back to normal!

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