The Benefits of Apple Pectin

apple pectin
JamieB/RooM/Getty Images

Apple pectin is a type of soluble fiber sourced from apples. Available in dietary supplement form, it's used in alternative medicine for a number of health conditions. For example, some individuals use apple pectin to improve their digestive health and treat common digestive complaints.

Pectin is found in many other fruits, including citrus fruits. You can learn more about modified citrus pectin and its potential health benefits here.

Uses for Apple Pectin

In alternative medicine, apple pectin is typically used for the following health problems:

Apple pectin is also said to protect against some forms of cancer (such as colon cancer and prostate cancer). In addition, apple pectin is sometimes used to regulate bowel movements.

Benefits of Apple Pectin

Here's a look at several study findings on the health effects of apple pectin:

1)  Heart Health

Apple pectin may help lower a number of risk factors associated cardiovascular disease and diabetes, according to a preliminary study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in 2008. In tests on rats, researchers observed that animals treated with apple pectin experienced a decrease in triglycerides (high triglyceride levels have been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease), blood sugar, and total cholesterol.

In a more recent rat-based study (published in Nutrition Research and Practice in 2014), treatment with apple pectin was found to protect against ischemia (a condition marked by blockage of the coronary arteries and decreased blood flow to the heart).

2)  Digestive Health

A combination of apple pectin and chamomile extract may help relieve diarrhea in children, according to a study published in the German journal Drug Research in 2006.

For the study, 255 patients (ranging from six-months-old to six-years-old) were given either a placebo or a combination of apple pectin and chamomile in the treatment of acute diarrhea. Results revealed that children treated with apple pectin and chamomile experienced a significantly greater improvement in symptoms (compared to those given the placebo).

3)  Cancer

Some preliminary research suggests that apple pectin may possess anti-cancer properties. In a rat-based study published in the Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research in 1997, for example, researchers found that animals fed an apple-pectin-enriched diet had a significantly decreased incidence of colon tumors.

Caveats

Apple pectin may trigger a number of side effects, such as diarrhea and gas. It's also important to note that self-treating a chronic condition with apple pectin and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

Alternatives to Apple Pectin

Many other natural substances are rich in soluble fiber (the type of fiber found in apple pectin).

To increase your soluble fiber intake, make sure to get your fill of grains (such as oats and barley), legumes (including peas, beans, and lentils), and fiber-rich fruits like blueberries and pears.

Other sources of soluble fiber include:

Soluble fiber is a type of dietary fiber that dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance in your intestines. By loading up on soluble fiber, you can keep your cholesterol in check and cut your odds of developing heart disease as you age.

Where to Find Apple Pectin

Many drugstores and natural-foods stores sell dietary supplements containing apple pectin. You can also purchase apple pectin products online.

Sources

Becker B1, Kuhn U, Hardewig-Budny B. "Double-blind, randomized evaluation of clinical efficacy and tolerability of an apple pectin-chamomile extract in children with unspecific diarrhea." Arzneimittelforschung. 2006;56(6):387-93.

González M1, Rivas C, Caride B, Lamas MA, Taboada MC. "Effects of orange and apple pectin on cholesterol concentration in serum, liver and faeces." J Physiol Biochem. 1998 Jun;54(2):99-104.

Lim SH, Kim MY, Lee J. "Apple pectin, a dietary fiber, ameliorates myocardial injury by inhibiting apoptosis in a rat model of ischemia/reperfusion." Nutr Res Pract. 2014 Aug;8(4):391-7.

Ohkami H1, Tazawa K, Yamashita I, Shimizu T, Murai K, Kobashi K, Fujimaki M. "Effects of apple pectin on fecal bacterial enzymes in azoxymethane-induced rat colon carcinogenesis." Jpn J Cancer Res. 1995 Jun;86(6):523-9.

Sánchez D1, Muguerza B, Moulay L, Hernández R, Miguel M, Aleixandre A. "Highly methoxylated pectin improves insulin resistance and other cardiometabolic risk factors in Zucker fatty rats." J Agric Food Chem. 2008 May 28;56(10):3574-81.

Tazawa K1, Okami H, Yamashita I, Ohnishi Y, Kobashi K, Fujimaki M. "Anticarcinogenic action of apple pectin on fecal enzyme activities and mucosal or portal prostaglandin E2 levels in experimental rat colon carcinogenesis." J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 1997 Mar;16(1):33-8.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

Continue Reading