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What are mesonutrients?

Some trends are nothing more than gimmicks. Here today and gone tomorrow (and should be).

​Others appear as trends but turn out to be age-old truths with a new name. That’s the case with mesonutrients. It’s one of the 3 categories of nutrients that recently received an official name.

Here’s a breakdown of the different types:

Macronutrients - These are the nutrients that make up the majority of your diet and supply your body with energy. They include protein, carbs, and fats.

Micronutrients - These are the nutrients needed in smaller amounts to produce enzymes and other substances necessary for proper growth and function. They include vitamins and minerals.

Mesonutrients - These nutrients are the active compounds within foods that are responsible for the food’s benefits. They include antioxidants and other compounds that put the “super” in superfoods.

To better understand why they deserve the spotlight they’re finally getting, let’s look at a few examples…​


4 Incredible Examples of Mesonutrients

1. Curcumin

Curcumin is one of the compounds that make up turmeric and is what gives it its rich color. Just one of the many beneficial compounds in turmeric, curcumin has been highlighted in over 2000 studies and even some clinical trials.

One reason is because of its antioxidant action, but interestingly enough, it also seems to boost the effect of other antioxidants as well. To date, it has been explored as a means of fighting cancer, relieving pain, soothing inflammatory bowel disease, preventing Alzheimer’s, and more.


Short for epigallocatechin gallate, EGCG is one of the compounds in green tea that make it so remarkable. Out of the 10 polyphenol compounds in green tea studied, it proved to be the most effective in killing cancer cells.

One reason for its anti-cancer effects is that it is a powerful antioxidant that protects against free radical damage. This type of damage is what causes healthy cells to go haywire. It is also incredibly anti-inflammatory, suppressing the expression of inflammatory cytokines.

EGCG is also found in small amounts in strawberries, kiwi, and avocados.

3. Anthocyanin

Like EGCG, anthocyanin is another potent antioxidant that can help prevent cancer cell development and oxidative damage. Until recently, they were only known to be responsible for the color in foods like blueberries, blackcurrants, cherries, and pomegranates.

Today, however, they’ve been shown to protect against liver injuries, fight viral infections, promote cardiovascular health, and more.

4. Berberine

Berberine is unique in that it actually binds itself to cells and enhances their function. This “tying together” with cellular components is what makes berberine’s benefits so pronounced. One of its most effective mechanisms of action is that it activates an enzyme known as AMPK.

AMPK is referred to by some as the “master switch” for metabolism and plays a critical role in regulating it. Besides that, berberine has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels, reduce risk of fatty liver disease, aid in weight loss, and more.

Berberine is found in plants and herbs like goldenseal, Oregon grape, and barberry.


So why all the fuss about this newly named nutrient group?

Because supplementing with them offers an opportunity to reap their benefits without consuming the calories associated with food.

You’d have to eat very large amounts of certain foods to get enough of these mesonutrients.

Supplementing gives you the benefit of larger doses without overdoing it on calories or messing up your macronutrient counts.

Let me know if you are interested in supplementing with mesonutrients, or just want recipe or meal ideas that include these superfoods.

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