The health benefits of Beet Extracts
Article 1: What are the potential health benefits of beet extracts and betanin?
Beets used to be only found in salad bars in canned form, and on European menus, but with
the culinary winds changing, this root is now commonly seen in stateside grocery stores
everywhere. This root vegetable like its turnip cousin has two parts — the edible root and the
edible green leave. The serving size of cooked beets is 1/2 cup (85 g) contains 35 calories,
8 g of carbohydrate, 2 g of dietary fiber, 7 g of sugars, 1 g of protein, and trace amounts of
vitamin C, calcium and iron.
Researchers from Israel found a class of dietary cationized antioxidants (betalains) in red
beets (Beta vulgaris L.) This class of antioxidants consists mainly of betanin (betanidin 5-O-
beta-glucoside). Betanin may have health benefits on lipid metabolism, as betainin was
found to inhibit lipid peroxidation and heme decomposition. The researchers believe that red
beet products used regularly in the diet may provide benefits against certain oxidative stress-
related disorders. 
Researchers from Research Institute of Nutrition, Slovak Republic, found that red beet fiber
diet reduced serum cholesterol and triacylglycerol levels (by 30 and 40%, respectively) and
increased in the fraction of cholesterol carried in HDL in a study of male Wistar rats suffered
from hypercholesterolemia. It also reduced incidence of precancerous lesions--aberrant
crypt foci--in the colon.  This study also shows that red beet may have benefits on lipid
Agarwal M, et al at VMMC and Safdarjung Hospital, India, administrated ethanolic beta
vulgaris roots extracts orally to rats with hepatoxicity at doses of 1000, 2000 and 4000
mg/kg. They found the significant dose-dependent hepatoprotective activity against
carbontetrachloride (CCl(4))-induced hepatotoxicity in the animals.  Thus, beef may have
benefits of liver protection.
Kapadia GJ and co-workers at Howard University identified betanin, the extract of Beta
vulgaris (beet root), as a potent cancer chemopreventive agent from Epstein-Barr early
antigen activation assay and in an in vivo two-stage mouse lung and skin carcinogenesis.
They further confirmed their finding in a study of mice.  Thus, beef root may have anti-
Article 2: How does beet fiber benefit people suffered from diabetes?
It has been observed that a diet high in fiber is useful in the management of the plasma
glucose concentration in individuals with diabetes. While, national diabetes associations
have recommended that diabetic individuals ingest a diet high in fiber- containing foods.
Studies have shown that addition of water-soluble, gel-forming fiber such as guar gum to an
ingested glucose solution or to a mixed meal will reduce the expected rise in glucose
concentration. But, a few long-term, well-controlled trials indicate guar gum, pectin, beet
fiber, or cereal bran fiber ingested with meals has been of little or no value in controlling the
plasma glucose concentration in individuals with diabetes. The effect of reducing rise in
glucose concentration is only observed when large amounts of fiber are added.  Thus,
ingestion of red beef may potentially have benefits on people at risk of diabetes.
Cholesterol lowering effect is one of the common health benefits of water-soluble
In a randomized cross-over study, researchers supplied 16 g of beet fiber to diabetic
patients in their diets. They found that intake of the beet fiber could result in a 10% reduction
of serum cholesterol in sulphonylurea-treated patients. However, patients experienced also
mild gastrointestinal discomfort.  In another study, researchers from Sweden found that
intake of 27 g of beet-fiber could decrease systolic blood pressure, triglyceride and LDL/HDL
ratio and increase the HDL cholesterol.  Thus, intake of red beet may have benefits for
people at risk of high cholesterol,
How does water soluble fiber help diabetes (in general)?
Researchers from Finland supplied 22 middle-aged subjects with abnormal glucose
metabolism with a drink of sugar beet pectin for 12 weeks. They found a rise in HDL but no
change in fasting (no food, empty stomach) plasma glucose concentration in these subjects.
 In another study, intake of beet fiber was associated with increased somatostatin
concentration, decreased insulin and C-peptide levels. And also, it didn't alter the plasma
glucose responses.  On the other hand, researchers found that addition of 10.8 g of beet-
fiber into breakfasts was associated with a reduction of the extent and rate of glucose
absorption and a rise of somatostatin response in diabetic patients.  Addition of water-
soluble, gel-forming fiber such as beet-fiber to an ingested glucose solution or to a mixed
meal will reduce glucose absorption and thus the expected rise in glucose concentration. In
sum, beet-fiber is not for lowering glucose level but for retarding its absorption, during food
ingestion. Thus, we should take beet-fiber right before meal or with meal to get its benefit
effect on glucose absorption.
These articles for reference only. If you have any question, please, consult with your doctor. @Zhion.
Reference for Article I  Bobek P, Galbavy S, Mariassyova M. The effect of red beet (Beta vulgaris var. rubra)
fiber on alimentary hypercholesterolemia and chemically induced colon carcinogenesis in rats. Nahrung.
2000 Jun;44(3):184-7.  Kanner J et al, Betalains--a new class of dietary cationized antioxidants. J Agric
Food Chem. 2001 Nov;49(11):5178-85  Agarwal M, et al Hepatoprotective activity of Beta vulgaris against
CCl4-induced hepatic injury in rats. Fitoterapia. 2006 Feb;77(2):91-3. Epub 2005 Dec 20.  Kapadia GJ, et
al, Chemoprevention of DMBA-induced UV-B promoted, NOR-1-induced TPA promoted skin
carcinogenesis, and DEN-induced phenobarbital promoted liver tumors in mice by extract of beetroot.
Pharmacol Res. 2003 Feb;47(2):141-8.
Reference for Article II  Nuttall FQ. Dietary fiber in the management of diabetes. Diabetes 1993 Apr;42(4):
503-8.  Karlander S. et al, Metabolic effects and clinical value of beet fiber treatment in NIDDM patients..
Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 1991 Feb;11(2):65-71.  Hagander B. et al, Dietary fibre
enrichment, blood pressure, lipoprotein profile and gut hormones in NIDDM patients. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1989
Jan;43(1):35-44.  Hagander B. Fibre and the diabetic diet. An evaluation of the metabolic response to
standardized meals. Acta Med Scand Suppl. 1987;716:1-55.  Hagander B<> et al, Reduced
glycemic response to beet-fibre meal in non-insulin-dependent diabetics and its relation to plasma levels
of pancreatic and gastrointestinal hormones. Diabetes Res. 1986 Feb;3(2):91-6.  Schwab U, et al, Impact
of sugar beet pectin and polydextrose on fasting and postprandial glycemia and fasting concentrations of
serum total and lipoprotein lipids in middle-aged subjects with abnormal glucose metabolism. Eur J Clin
Nutr. 2006 Sep;60(9):1073-80. Epub 2006 Mar 8.