Asparagus health benefits,  asparagus side effects
In the past, asparagus racemosus (Shatavari) was popularly used to prevent and treat
inflammation, dyspepsia nervous disorders, gastric ulcers, liver diseases and certain infectious
conditions. Recently, beneficial effects of alcoholic and water extracts of the root of asparagus
racemosus have been demonstrated in some clinical trials. There are more than 300 species of
Asparagus and Asparagus officinalis is the most popular species in vegetable consumption.
Asparagus contains steroidal saponins and sapogenins. [1]

Asparagus side effects
Asparagus side effects are seldom reported and mostly its side effect is related to allergy.A
55-year-old German cook presented with seasonal (always in May) recurrent dyshidrosiform hand.
May is the month in which asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is most commonly served in the
meals. After consuming asparagus, this cook also developed dyspnea and dysphagia. Diagnostic
allergy testing revealed positive reactions against asparagus in prick-to-prick and epicutaneous
patch tests. [2] In another case, a 53-year-old farm worker presented with a 3-year history of an
occupational allergic contact dermatitis to asparagus. Systemic corticosteroids were found to be
effective to clear the dermatitis. The allergen was believed to be a plant growth inhibitor,
1,2,3-Trithiane-5-carboxylic acid, which is present in young shoots. [4]

Asparagus nutrition
Asparagus officinalis fruit contains rich carotenoid pigments. And, they are capsanthin,
capsorubin, capsanthin 5,6-epoxide, antheraxanthin, violaxanthin, neoxanthin, mutatoxanthin
epimers, zeaxanthin, lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin, beta-carotene, and some cis isomers were found.
[6] While, researchers found glucomannan at cell-wall of its seeds [10].
Glucomannan is believed
to help prevent cholesterol absorption.

A Fresh asparagus contains various elements such as calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), sodium
(Na) potassium (K) and phosphorus (P). [9] Asparagus also contains chromium and nickel. The
chromium content showed a variable distribution throughout the white asparagus portions. While
the nickel content decreases as the spear portions are further and further away from the apical
area or tip of the white asparagus. [8]

Aasparagus health benefits

asparagus health benefits- anti-oxidative activities
Boiling asparagus spears for 60 min caused overall flavonol losses of 43.9%. While, chopping of
tissues did not considerably influence the antioxidant capacity, but boiling did provoke notable
changes. [3]

Asparagus health benefits - Asparagus and Cancer
Sulforaphane of asparagus is a lead compoundin in preclinical or clinical trials for cancer
chemoprevention. [Semin Oncol. 2010 Jun;37(3):258-81.]

Two oligofurostanosides were found from the seeds of Asparagus officinalis L to be able to inhibit
the growth of human
leukemia HL-60 cells in culture and macromolecular synthesis in a
dose-dependent manner. The inhibitory effect on DNA synthesis was found to be irreversible. [7]

Asparanin A, a steroidal saponin extracted from Asparagus officinalis L.,induces G(2)/M phase
arrest and apoptosis in human hepatocellular carcinoma HepG2 cells. [Biochem Biophys Res
Commun. 2009 Apr 17;381(4):700-5]

In another study, the hepatic tissues of Wistar rats were treated with diethylnitrosamine and then
DDT (a tumor promoter) to induce malignancy. Pretreatment of Wistar rats with the aqueous
extract of the roots of Asparagus racemosus prevented the incidence of hepatocarcinogenesis.
[Phytother Res. 2008 Sep;22(9):1175-82.]

Asparagus health benefits - Diabetes and Lipid Profiles
The inedible bottom part of asparagus spears, around one-third to one-half of the total length, is
always discarded as by-product. In a study, the hypoglycaemic effect of an aqueous extract of this
portion was evaluated in a streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rat model. Continuous
administration of this asparagus extract for 21 days significantly decreased fasting serum glucose
and triglyceride levels but markedly increased body weight and hepatic glycogen level in diabetic
rats. [J Sci Food Agric. 2011 Aug 30;91(11):2095-9.]

A similar study also shows an n-butanol extract of bottom half of Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis
L.) has a strong hypolipidemic function. [Phytother Res. 2011 Aug;25(8):1119-24.]

Asparagus health benefits - Diuretic Effects
Asparagus racemosus Willd has been used as diuretic in Ayurveda. A study was carried out with
an aqueous extract of the roots of Asparagus racemosus utilizing three doses viz 800 mg/kg, 1600
mg/kg and 3200 mg/kg for its diuretic activity. Acute toxicity study showed no fatality even with the
highest dose and the diuretic study revealed significant diuretic activity (p < 0.05) in the dose of
3200 mg/kg. [West Indian Med J. 2010 Jan;59(1):3-6.]

REFERENCES [1] Oketch-Rabah HA. Phytochemical Constituents of the Genus Asparagus and their biological
activities. Hamdard 1998;41:33-43. [2] Rieker J et al, Type I and type IV sensitization to Asparagus officinalis
Hautarzt. 2004 Apr;55(4):397-8.  [3] Makris DP et al, Domestic processing of onion bulbs (Allium cepa) and
asparagus spears (Asparagus officinalis): effect on flavonol content and antioxidant status. J Agric Food Chem.
2001 Jul;49(7):3216-22. [4] Rademaker M et al, Contact dermatitis to Asparagus officinalis. Australas J Dermatol.
2000 Nov;41(4):262-3. [6] Deli J et al, Carotenoid composition in the fruits of Asparagus officinalis. J Agric Food
Chem. 2000 Jul;48(7):2793-6. [7] Shao Y et al, Steroidal saponins from Asparagus officinalis and their cytotoxic
activity. Planta Med. 1997 Jun;63(3):258-62. [8] Amaro-Lopez MA et al, Study of chromium and nickel content in
white asparagus (Asparagus officinalis, L.). Nahrung. 1997 Apr;41(2):114-7. [9] Lopez MA et al, Mineral content
modifications during ripening of asparagus (Asparagus officinalis, L.). Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 1996
Jan;49(1):13-26. [10]. Goldberg R Structural features of the cell-wall polysaccharides of Asparagus officinalis
seeds. Carbohydr Res. 1991 Mar 20;210:263-76.
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