Are Flavonoids the Future of Antifungal Treatments?
Updated: Apr 15
People often think of fungal infections as harmless, but that is not always the case. For individuals with compromised immune systems and other underlying health conditions, fungal infections can be severe and sometimes fatal.
One of the main issues in treating the growing number of fungal infections is the resistance of microbes against exiting antifungal drugs. Specifically, pathogenic fungi, viruses, bacteria, and protozoa are more difficult to treat with currently available drugs because they have developed a resistance (Kannaiyan et al., 2018). According to this review, identifying and studying flavonoids with potential antifungal effects is important because it might lead to a solution to this problem.
Flavonoids are a diverse group of phytonutrients found in almost all fruits and vegetables and can be divided into the following subclasses: flavonols, flavanones, isoflavones, flavones, flavan, and anthocyanins. One of these flavonoid subclasses, anthocyanins, is a compound found abundantly in purple corn.
The review cites numerous in-vivo and clinical studies reporting that flavonoids show various pharmacological functions, such as anti-oxidant, antidiabetic, anti-obesity, antihyperlipidemic, anti-inflammatory, antiosteoporotic effect, antiallergic and antithrombotic, hepatoprotective, neuroprotective, reno-protective, chemo-preventive and anticancer, anti-bacterial, antifungal, and anti-viral activities (Aboody et al., 2020).
The review also cites that flavonoids have been “extensively used for many centuries in the treatment of the range of human diseases. Flavonoids often inhibit fungal growth with various underlying mechanisms, including plasma membrane disruption, the induction of mitochondrial dysfunction, and inhibiting the following: cell wall formation, cell division, RNA and protein synthesis, and the efflux mediated pumping system” (Aboody et al., 2020).
The review concludes that flavonoids, perhaps in combinations with currently available drugs, could help to overcome the difficult treatment of some fungal infections, especially those resistant to conventional antifungal drugs.
Read the full study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7168129/
Aboody MSA, Mickymaray S. Anti-Fungal Efficacy and Mechanisms of Flavonoids. Antibiotics (Basel). 2020;9(2):45. Published 2020 Jan 26. doi:10.3390/antibiotics9020045
Kannaiyan M, Meseret A, Kanimozhi C, Thambidurai P, Ashokapuram S, Vinodhini R, Suresh, M. Prevalence of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase producing enterobacteriaceae members isolated from clinically suspected patients. Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research. Pharma. Clin. Res. 2018;11(5):364-369.