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Effect of watermelon extract on cardiovascular function of zebrafish model

Watermelon (Citrullus vulgaris Schrad) is a very rich source of vitamins and a good source of phytochemicals. It is rich in lycopene, a nonprovitamin A carotenoid with twice the antioxidant capacity of β-carotene in vitro. It is also reported that lycopene may have cancer protective activities and beneficial to cardiovascular disease. Watermelon rinds are also rich in citrulline which has antioxidant effects that can help to protect cells from free-radical damage. Also, citrulline can be converted to arginine amino acid which is vital for normal function of heart, circulatory system and immune system. The L-citrulline and L-arginine in watermelon may provide a dietary supply for nitric oxide (NO), a vasodilator, as direct beneficial effect on vascular health. NO produced by the vascular endothelium is an important protective molecule, which is generated by the enzyme endothelial NO synthase (eNOS). Increased NO production may improves vascular health by preventing endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) uncoupling, a significant source of free radical production in the endothelium of the vasculature. Therefore, compounds in watermelon might relax blood vessels which may play an essential role to fight cardiovascular diseases.

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