Citrus juices have a unique blend of components that research is indicating may have beneficial effects on bone health from childhood through old age. Among those that may play a role in bone health and metabolism are minerals and organic acids, vitamin C, folic acid, flavonoids such as hesperidin and naringin, and carotenoids such as beta-cryptoxanthin. The presence of ‘organic acids’ in citrus juices, such as citric and malic acids, combined with minerals such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium, helps the blood maintain a normal, properly balanced acid:base ratio (the ‘pH’) at a slightly basic or ‘alkaline’ value.
If our body’s balancing act results in blood remaining acidic over time, there is a greater risk that the body will sacrifice stored minerals to help restore the proper pH. Our bones store the great majority of these minerals. Losses of minerals like calcium from bones may lead to reduced bone ‘density’, reduced bone strength and greater brittleness.
The components of citrus, and particularly the class of components called polyphenols, are being reported by research to be involved in supportive roles in the mechanisms of bone health & from the building of bones in childhood, through the repair and maintenance of bone tissues through middle life, to the resistance to bone density loss associated with ageing. Citrus juices may contribute to bone health during our entire lives by limiting inflammation, the main cause of the various forms of arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease, mainly characterized by inflammation of the lining (synovium) of joints, which is supposed to protect and lubricate the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can lead to long-term joint damage, resulting in chronic pain, loss of function and disability.
There is a growing body of evidence that some dietary antioxidants, such as the carotenoids b-cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin, as well as vitamin C, may help provide protection against the development of rheumatoid arthritis. Methotrexate, one of the most widely used anti-rheumatic drugs, may lead to folate deficiency and there are other medications used in the treatment of arthritis that reduce potassium levels while retaining sodium. Florida citrus juices are good sources of vitamin C, potassium and folate. Orange juice is also a source of b-cryptoxanthin.