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During the process of menopause, the ovaries produce less estrogen, leading to several physiological changes that include the end of reproductive life. Lower estrogen levels in post-menopausal females may decrease the body’s antioxidant enzymes because estrogen has known antioxidant properties. In a recent report, a group of researchers tested the effects of drumstick (Moringa oleifera) and amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor) leaf supplements on antioxidant capacity in post-menopausal females.

Much of the bodily damage that comes with aging is caused by oxygen radicals, but many foods and supplements contain antioxidant compounds that protect the body. Drumstick leaves contain a number of antioxidant compounds including the isothiocyanate called moringin, which is similar to sulforaphane found in some cruciferous vegetables. Amaranth leaves contain a number of antioxidant compounds as well as other beneficial nutrients, such as magnesium, folic acid, and dietary fiber.

The investigators enrolled 90 post-menopausal females and allocated them to one of three groups. One group received 7 grams of drumstick leaf powder for three months, another received 9 grams of amaranth leaf powder for three months, and the third group received no intervention. The investigators measured antioxidant enzymes, glucose, and malondialdehyde, a marker of oxidative stress, in the participants’s blood.

The authors found that the drumstick leaf and amaranth leaf powders increased retinol by 9 percent and 5 percent (respectively) and increased vitamin C by 44 percent and 6 percent (respectively). The drumstick leaf and amaranth leaf powders decreased malondialdehyde by 16 percent and 10 percent (respectively) and decreased fasting glucose levels by 14 percent and 10 percent (respectively).

These results suggest that drumstick and amaranth leaf supplements improve antioxidant capacity and reduce oxidative stress in postmenopausal females while also improving metabolic health.

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