Secondary plant compounds Polyphenols Flavonoids Resveratrol Quercetin
Secondary plant compounds such as resveratrol, quercetin or berberine have many health-promoting properties.

Secondary plant substances - nature is the best pharmacy

Plants use certain substances to protect themselves from environmental influences such as pests or ultraviolet radiation. These bioactive molecules are known for their many health-promoting properties for us humans and are commonly referred to as secondary plant compounds.

Are there also primary plant substances? Yes, these include carbohydrates, proteins and fats - unlike secondary plant substances, they are directly involved in the metabolic activity or growth of plants. Secondary plant substances, on the other hand, perform the protective functions mentioned above. The "wilder" plants are grown, the higher the concentration of secondary plant compounds.

You are what you eat - or are you?

Plants signal their many healthy ingredients to us with their bright colors. The shimmering blue of blueberries, caused by anthocyanins, a subgroup of flavonoids, promises strong antioxidant effects. Other flavonoids are found in the crisp skin of apples, or in the richly colored varieties of bell peppers. Red grapes contain the ingredient resveratrol, and glucosinolates are found in broccoli.

All these substances can be summarized in the super-group "secondary plant substances". They are responsible for a large part of the health-promoting effect of fruits and vegetables.

Quercesome flavonoid quercetin capsules pear apple

Nature as inspiration for medicines

Scientists have always used nature as a source of inspiration for possible medicines. ASA originally comes from the bark of willow trees, painkillers come from the dried milky sap of the opium poppy, and the certain cancer drug is derived from the Pacific yew tree.

Many other drugs are further developments of molecules found in nature. For example, the oldest naturally occurring antibiotic has always been further developed by attaching molecular structures, thus generating new antibiotics.

What are the types of phytochemicals?


Polyphenols are one of the largest groups. They are found in almost all plants, from berries and spinach to oatmeal and walnuts.

Green tea contains a special subgroup of polyphenols, the catechins. These include the complicated-sounding molecule epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG for short. EGCG has been shown in animal studies to be effective in treating high blood sugar, preventing neurodegenerative diseases, and lowering cholesterol levels.

Another polyphenol is the resveratrolwhich is found in abundance in red grapes. You may have heard of the French paradox. Despite a - high fat diet with high nicotine consumption - French people seemed to live longer. This is attributed in part to the high polyphenol content of some wine varieties, such as Pinot Noir. One of the best-known researchers on resveratrol research is Harvard professor Dr. David Sinclair.

Resveratrol Grape secondary plant compounds Polyphenol
Grapes in particular are especially rich in resveratrol - probably the best-known polyphenol.
Parsley Apigenin Rainad Flavonoids
The flavonoid apigenin is hidden in parsley in comparably large quantities. According to studies, it can support NAD levels.


Strictly speaking, flavonoids also belong to the polyphenols.

Apigenin occurs naturally in some herbs, such as parsley or coriander. However, chamomile and celery also contain apigenin. In higher concentrations, this molecule can keep NAD levels high by inhibiting the enzyme CD38. Higher NAD levels are associated with a prolonged health span. Here you can learn more about this topic.

Besides apigenin, also luteolin also intervenes in the NAD metabolism. Luteolin, which is mainly found in olive oil, rosemary, thyme or carrots, also has a positive effect on the longevity genes, the so-called sirtuins, have a positive effect.

Quercetin, as the third representative in the round, supports the immune system and can have a positive effect on allergies. In addition, the flavonoid can promote the breakdown of old cells that no longer divide. The process is also called senolysis.

More on the subject: What is quercetin?
What is regeNAD (with luteolin and apigenin)?


Alkaloids are characterized by at least one nitrogen atom in a ring structure. There are many different alkaloids, which have different properties depending on their molecular structure. You will certainly know some of them. Caffeine belongs to this group, as does the painkiller morphine.

Another representative is Berberinewhich is found in various plants such as barberries. In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties and long use in Chinese medicine, the effect of berberine on blood sugar is currently being studied. Some studies have found comparable positive effects on blood sugar and insulin sensitivity to prescription diabetes medications.

More on the subject: What is berberine?

Barberry Barberry alkaloids secondary plant compounds
The alkaloid berberine accumulates in the well-known barberry plants. It is a great natural hope for blood sugar research.
Glucosinolates Sulforaphane Secondary plant compounds Broccoli
Broccoli (especially the sprouts) is particularly rich in glucoraphanin - the direct precursor of sulforaphane.


Green vegetables, especially broccoli and spinach contain another group of phytochemicals: glucosinolates. To be more precise, they contain the substance glucoraphanin. This is converted with the help of an enzyme into sulforaphane which contributes to the slightly bitter taste of these vegetables.

Sulforaphane, like almost all phytochemicals, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The other effects in the body are interesting. According to studies, sulphoraphane can lower blood pressure and help the liver detoxify via the Nrf2 pathway.

More on the topic: What is sulforaphane?


Polyamines occupy a special position. Depending on the definition, they belong to the extended circle of secondary plant substances. One of the best-known representatives is the molecule spermidine, which is responsible for cell division and stress tolerance in plants.

It is found in large quantities in soy and wheat germ, for example. In humans, it is currently being further researched due to its ability to increase autophagy. Based on the latest research results, it is suspected that spermidine has positive effects on the body similar to those of fasting. In addition, spermidine appears to provide protection against neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases through enhanced autophagy.

More on the topic: What is spermidine?

Soybeans Spermidine Polyamines Isoflavones
The polyamine with the special name is hidden in soybeans and wheat germ. We are talking about spermidine.

Highly purified, concentrated secondary plant compounds from MoleQlar

"An apple a day, keeps the doctor away" - what's behind the metaphor?

Is the old saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" still true in this day and age? According to the studies, this may be doubted. Industrial agriculture allows us to produce large quantities of food, but this is often at the expense of nutrients.

Not the macronutrients - carbohydrates, fats and protein - these remain unchanged, it is mainly about micronutrients. In some studies it has been shown that the vitamin C content of an apple from conventional farming is up to 50% less compared to organic farming. In addition, other, secondary plant substances, such as flavonoids are significantly reduced.

Secondary plant compounds - the crux of bioavailability

The magnitude of health effects is fundamentally dependent on the amount that is ingested. A common problem with the consumption of plant foods is the bioavailability of the ingredients. This applies not only to secondary plant compounds, but also to iron or proteins, for example. The latter are much easier for our bodies to absorb in animal products.

Resveratrol intake with a spoonful of oil
The bioavailability of resveratrol powder can be significantly increased by mixing the powder with a spoonful of oil.

For polyphenols, for example, bioavailability appears to be enhanced by physiological amounts, heat exposure, and particle reduction (e.g., milling) during processing. In addition, the presence or absence of certain nutrients can affect the bioavailability of polyphenols. For example, a higher fat content and the presence of other polyphenols can increase bioavailability.

In the case of resveratrol, for example, David Sinclair recommends taking it along with a fatty meal - such as a spoonful of yogurt or oil.

Here you can learn more about David Sinclair's longevity routine.

What exactly are secondary plant compounds?

Secondary plant compounds are chemical compounds that occur in plants and mainly perform protective functions there. They do not play a fundamental role in the metabolism of plants - this task is performed by "primary" plant substances such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats. While primary substances can be counted on one hand, secondary plant substances are incredibly diverse.

A total of about 100,000 different ones are known to date. Of these, around 5,000 to 10,000 occur in human food. The various secondary plant compounds can be divided into different groups on the basis of their chemical structure and functional properties. These groups include polyphenols, flavonoids, alkaloids, glucosinolates, polyamines and many others. Depending on the chemical structure, the effects of the particular molecules in the human body differ.

Chlorophyll and phytic acid also belong to the secondary plant compounds, but cannot be assigned to any definitive group.

In recent decades, knowledge about the importance of phytochemicals for human health has increased by leaps and bounds. After many smaller studies, large prospective observational studies (cohort studies) and intervention studies with isolated phytochemicals have been conducted. A few years ago, it was still unclear whether the effects were due to the interaction of different molecules, or whether individual substances were responsible. Here in particular, research has shed light on the subject. What is certain is that a diet rich in secondary plant compounds improves many health indicators.

Importance of phytochemicals for plant life and their effects on human health.

Before we look at the effects in the body, let's take a look at the functions in the plant world. The main function of phytochemicals is to protect plants from harmful influences. They serve as natural defense mechanisms against plant-eating insects, fungi, bacteria and other pathogens.

They can also help protect flora from UV radiation, heat, cold and other environmental stressors.

Based on these remarkable properties, researchers have asked themselves whether some of the effects can also be transferred to humans, especially since many of the plants are in our diet. Thousands of studies later, we know the gratifying answer.

Many phytochemicals have been shown to have antioxidant properties, which means they can fight free radicals and reduce oxidative damage in the body.

Free radicals are unstable molecules that are created in our body by various factors such as pollution, stress, smoking and unhealthy diet. A certain minimum level of "oxidative stress" is actually essential for survival (for our immune system, among other things). However, an excess of free radicals causes cellular damage and is therefore associated with chronic problems such as heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases.

Learn more about antioxidants here.

In addition, certain phytochemicals can curb inflammation and strengthen the immune system. They also improve blood circulation and support bone health.

Bioavailability of secondary plant compounds

By definition, bioavailability refers to the extent and speed with which an active ingredient is absorbed by the body and reaches the site of its action. This rate is often low for plant foods and thus also for phytochemicals. However, various factors can improve absorption.

For polyphenols, for example, bioavailability appears to be enhanced by physiological amounts, heat exposure, and particle reduction (e.g., milling) during processing. In addition, the presence or absence of certain nutrients can affect the bioavailability of polyphenols. For example, higher fat content and the presence of other polyphenols may increase polyphenol bioavailability, while the presence of proteins and antioxidants (vitamins C and E) appears to decrease gastrointestinal degradation. As far as vitamins are concerned, however, the research results are mixed.

These fundamental findings were also the basis for the development of food supplements. The extraction or isolation of the substances from the plants allows not only a higher concentration, but also a greater purity. If the pure substances are then also paired with phospholipids, the result is a significantly increased availability for our body.

Learn more about phospholipids here.

Possible side effects in case of overdose of phytochemicals

Secondary plant compounds, including the well-known flavonoids, have numerous health benefits - but there are some things to consider when it comes to dosage. An overdose can have various consequences.

  1. Alteration of hormone activity: Some secondary plant compounds, such as isoflavones, can influence the activity of hormones in the body. Isoflavones from soy and red clover are similar in structure to estrogens and can therefore interact with the corresponding receptors in the organism. At very high intake, they can upset the hormonal balance.
  2. Drug interactions: Secondary plant compounds can interact with certain drugs via the CYP450 system of the liver and alter their efficacy. For example, flavonoids can affect blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding in people taking blood-thinning medications.
  3. Toxicity: Although very rare, some secondary plant compounds can be toxic in high doses. For example, high doses of capsaicin, the phytochemical that gives chili peppers their pungency, can cause gastrointestinal distress.
  4. Allergic reactions: In some people, phytochemicals can cause allergic reactions, especially when consumed in high amounts.

It is basically the case that the amount of phytochemicals consumed in a normal diet is usually safe. Problems usually arise from the improper or excessive use of supplements. Therefore, follow the dosage recommendations on the packaging and talk to your trusted health care provider beforehand if you are taking any medications.

Brief introduction to various secondary plant compounds


What are polyphenols and where do they occur?

Polyphenols are secondary plant compounds that have become known for their antioxidant properties. There are over 500 different types of polyphenols, which are further divided into four main classes: Flavonoids, phenolic acids, lignans and stilbenes.

Polyphenols are found in many foods, especially fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, spices, legumes and whole grain products. They are also found in beverages such as tea, coffee and wine.

Probably the best-known polyphenol is called resveratrol. The vital substance from red wine is partly responsible for the French paradox and was intensively researched by the well-known aging researcher David Sinclair. You want to learn more about resveratrol? Here this way.

Functions of polyphenols in plants and their importance for human health.

In plants, polyphenols serve as defense substances against pathogens and pests and contribute to the coloration of leaves, flowers and fruits. They also intervene in the regulation of plant growth.

For us humans, polyphenols such as resveratrol promise direct and indirect antioxidant effects in particular. In the context of aging, inflammaging plays a major role. According to studies, polyphenols could be effective in preventing this.

Foods rich in polyphenols

The following foods are rich in polyphenols:

  1. Spices and herbs: Spices such as cloves, star anise and peppermint as well as dried herbs are particularly rich in polyphenols.
  2. Dark chocolate and cocoa: Dark chocolate and pure cocoa powder are excellent sources of polyphenols.
  3. Berries: Blueberries, blackberries and other berry varieties contain high amounts of polyphenols.
  4. Fruits and vegetables: apples, pears, grapes, onions, beets and kale are some of the fruits and vegetables rich in polyphenols.
  5. Nuts: Nuts, especially walnuts and hazelnuts, are good sources of polyphenols.
  6. Whole grain products: Whole grains and breads can also provide significant amounts of polyphenols.
  7. Legumes: Legumes such as beans and lentils are also rich in these beneficial compounds.
  8. Tea, coffee and red wine: These beverages are known for their high content of polyphenols. Green tea is particularly rich in catechins.
  9. Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil is an excellent source of polyphenols.

Polyphenols like resveratrol and EGCG are important nutrients that are of great importance for our health. If you decide to buy supplements, it is essential to pay attention to high quality.

Resveratrol in particular is often extracted from Japanese knotweed using questionable drying techniques. This produces harmful PAHs in large quantities, which also remain in the finished capsule or powder product. Alternative manufacturing methods from innovative yeast fermentation bypass this problem completely and ensure stable resveratrol with consistently high purity.


Definition and properties of flavonoids

Flavonoids belong to the group of polyphenols because they are characterized by a common chemical structure. There are several subgroups of flavonoids, including anthocyanins, flavones, flavanones, flavan-3-ols, isoflavones and flavonols.

Occurrence in different plant species and their functions

Due to their bright yellow color, they serve as pigments that give flowers and fruits their bright colors and thus also play a role in attracting pollinators. In addition, they act as antioxidants and protect plant cells from free radical damage. Some flavonoids also have antimicrobial properties and thus protect the plant from pathogens.

Foods with a high flavonoid content

  1. Berries: Blueberries, black currants and blackberries are rich in a type of flavonoids called anthocyanins.
  2. Onions and cabbage: These vegetables are good sources of flavanols, a subclass of flavonoids.
  3. Grapes and red wine: both contain high amounts of flavonoids, especially when the grape skin is involved.
  4. Tea: Both green and black tea are rich in several types of flavonoids.
  5. Apples and pears: These fruits are good sources of various types of flavonoids.
  6. Soy products: Soy contains isoflavones, a special type of flavonoids.
  7. Peaches, tomatoes and lettuce
  8. Citrus fruits: grapefruits, lemons and oranges are rich in flavonoids.
  9. Many herbs and spices: These include, for example, parsley, thyme and celery.

The amount and type of flavonoids in foods can vary, depending on factors such as ripeness, storage and preparation. Again, look for high purity and independent manufacturer certifications when searching for appropriate supplements.


What are alkaloids and what role do they play in plants?

Alkaloids are a group of naturally occurring chemical compounds that mostly contain nitrogen atoms. This type of secondary plant compounds includes some of the best-known drugs and poisons, but also medicines.

In plants, alkaloids often serve as natural defenses against insects, pests and herbivores, as they taste bitter and can be toxic. Some alkaloids also have antimicrobial properties and can protect the plant from bacteria or viruses.

Known alkaloids and their use

The best known alkaloids include:

  • Morphine: It is the main alkaloid of the opium poppy and is used as a strong painkiller.
  • Caffeine: This alkaloid, found in coffee, tea and some other plants, is a central nervous system stimulant.
  • Nicotine: It is the additive in tobacco and e-cigarettes and has strong stimulating and relaxing effects - but also an enormously high addictive potential.
  • Quinine: This alkaloid, extracted from the bark of the cinchona tree, has traditionally been used to treat malaria.

Berberine, the main alkaloid in Berbersome, has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat digestive problems and infections. It also plays a role in sugar metabolism, making it a hopeful candidate for diabetes research.

Learn more about the molecule here.


Definition and characteristics of glucosinolates

Glucosinolates are a group of phytochemicals found mainly in cruciferous vegetables. They are known for their potential cell-strengthening properties.

The chemical structure of glucosinolates consists of a sugar (glucose) and a sulfur- and nitrogen-containing part. When plant cells are damaged - for example, by chewing, cutting or cooking - enzymes are released that break down glucosinolates into various degradation products, including isothiocyanates and indoles, which are responsible for the characteristic pungent taste and smell of cruciferous vegetables.

Occurrence in various cruciferous vegetables.

Glucosinolates are found in many types of cruciferous vegetables, including:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Radish
  • Arugula
  • Garden cress
  • Mustard
  • Horseradish

Each of these vegetables contains a unique blend of glucosinolates, resulting in differences in taste and potential health benefits. Broccoli, in particular, for example, is rich in Glucoraphanin.

Did you know? How many grams of phytochemicals do you eat a day? This is not so easy to calculate, because many factors influence the content. Broccoli is rich in glucosinolates, especially glucoraphanin. 100 grams of broccoli can contain between 10 and 100mg of glucoraphanin. This variation is due in part to the different growing methods, but overcooking can also lead to leaching of the nutrients. At best, about 10% of glucoraphanin is converted in our intestines into sulforaphane in our intestines. It is this molecule that is responsible for the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. You would have to eat between 2 and 20 kilograms of the green vegetable per day to absorb significant amounts of sulforaphane.

Especially in light of these enormous amounts of vegetables that we would need to eat, higher concentrated supplements such as. Sulforapro are an alternative.


What are polyamines and where do they occur?

Polyamines are a group of organic compounds produced by almost all living organisms and play an important role in many different biological processes. They are characterized by two or more amino groups. The most common polyamines are putrescine, spermidine and spermine.

Polyamines are abundant in foods such as meat, fish, certain cheeses, soybeans and some fermented foods.

Functions of polyamines in plants and their importance for human health.

In plants, polyamines help regulate growth and development and help manage stress responses. They are also involved in the regulation of gene expression.

For humans, polyamines play an important role in numerous biological processes, including cell growth, cell differentiation and apoptosis (programmed cell death). They are essential for the normal function of cells and tissues.

Potential health benefits and effects on the body

Studies have shown that polyamines can, for example, help to strengthen the immune system, improve digestion and slow down the aging process. Here, too, it is important to follow appropriate dosage recommendations to avoid any undesirable effects.

Foods rich in polyamines

Foods that are particularly rich in polyamines include:

  • Meat and fish
  • Certain cheeses, such as cheddar and gouda
  • Soybeans & Chlorella Algae (see Spermidine)
  • Fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi
  • Yeast and yeast extracts
Fastebundle Spermidine Glucosamine Berbersome Capsules