Ellagic acid is something you likely consumealready (or if you’re don’t, you’ll likely want to start).
What is it? It is a plant chemical shown by scientific research to possess impressive antioxidant, anti-mutagenic and anticancer properties.
Research to date suggests that the consumption of this acid may not only lower inflammation and fight off cancer, but also reduce obesity and improve complications related to obesity, including atherosclerosis, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
If you’re looking to start an ellagic acid diet plan, what kinds of foods should you eat? Foods high in ellagic acid include things like berries and nuts.
Are there beverages rich in this plant-based acid? Green tea is one option.
What Is Ellagic Acid?
Ellagic acid (EA) was first discovered by chemist Henri Braconnot in 1831.
It is a natural phenol antioxidant found in numerous fruits and vegetables. It can also be described as a type of plant-derived polyphenol (along with flavonoids, chalcones and resveratrol).
Plants produce the acid from hydrolysis of tannins.
How is ellagic acid related to gallic acid?
Ellagic acid is a dimeric derivative of gallic acid, which is often a part of tannins.
What foods contain beneficial polyphenols and ellagic acid? Fruit is a food group that commonly contains both.
There are many high ellagic acid foods you can add to your diet starting today. Let’s take a closer look at some of those now.
Ellagic Acid Foods and Sources
Wondering what an ellagic acid weight loss menu might look like? It would certainly include berries and certain nuts.
What foods are high in ellagic acid? Top ellagic acid sources include:
- darkly colored grapes (like muscadine)
- green tea
- pomegranate juice
- red wine aged in oak barrels
Do blueberries contain ellagic acid?
Yes, there is EA in blueberries, but other berries like raspberries are even higher sources.
Which red wine has the most ellagic acid?
The specific amount of ellagic acid in red wine varieties is not well-known.
However, according to Wine Spectator:
Muscadine, a native North American grape variety, has been found to be particularly high in polyphenols, including both ellagic acid and resveratrol, but you’re unlikely to find many Muscadines on the shelves of your local wine shop.
Obtaining this beneficial acid via whiskey consumption has made the news in recent years, but this has yet to be backed up by research (and the doctor promoting it was a known consultant to the drinks industry).
Potential Benefits and Uses
There are strong links between ellagic acid and cancer prevention.
According to a 2014 scientific article, this acid has “potent preventive and therapeutic effects against several types of cancers, including colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, esophageal cancer, and osteogenic sarcoma.”
According to a 2015 study, moderate consumption of red grapes, red grape juice or red wine may help boost the health status of overweight people by helping them to burn fat more efficiently and avoid obesity-related complications.
The researchers found that the ellagic acid found in grapes dramatically slowed down the growth of existing fat cells as well as the formation of fat cells. EA also improved the metabolism of fatty acids in liver cells.
In general, clinical studies have shown a link between a diet rich in polyphenols (EA is one of several) and beneficial effects on metabolic syndrome, which includes major health concerns like obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar.
A 2012 animal study also demonstrates how the EA-rich pomegranate fruit extract decreased resistin levels in mice subjects. Why is this significant?
Research reveals that human resistin may link insulin resistance to inflammatory diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis. Overall, the study results suggest that the EA in pomegranate is able to suppress the secretion of resistin.
3. DNA Damage
A research study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences finds that berries rich in ellagic acid were able to protect against oxidative stress and reduce DNA damage in the livers of animal subjects.
4. Wrinkles and Inflammation
A study published in 2010 in the journal Experimental Dermatology found that topical application of EA was able to prevent the breakdown of collagen in both human skin cells and hairless mice.
In the animal subjects, non-toxic EA also helped prevent wrinkles and skin thickening as a result of UV-B exposure.
Overall, the study results show how EA can prevent collagen destruction, inflammatory responses and signs of aging caused by UV exposure.
5. Viral Infections
Some people take EA for viral infections.
A research study published in 2018 in the journal Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy points toward the ability of EA to help fight viral infections like influenza.
A small study has also shown that the acid may be able to help fight the human papilloma virus (HPV) in women.
Supplements and Dosage Info
It’s not hard to consume ellagic acid food sources, but some people opt to take ellagic acid supplements. You can choose between options like ellagic acid powder or capsules.
The appropriate dose of an EA supplement depends on several factors, including the age and health of the user. Currently, there are no standard dosing recommendations for EA.
Before taking an ellagic acid supplement for weight loss or any other health concern, talk to your health care provider first.
Risks and Side Effects
Short-term use of EA is considered to be possibly safe when taken by mouth or used topically on the skin. The safety of long-term use is unclear.
There are no well-known potential ellagic acid side effects, but if you choose to supplement, always read product labels carefully and consult with your health care provider first.
Supplementing with EA is typically not recommended if you are pregnant or nursing.
There are currently no well-documented interactions, but check with your health care provider before taking an EA supplement
- What foods contain ellagic acid? Foods with ellagic acid include berries like raspberries and blackberries and nuts like walnut and chestnuts.
- It’s also in red wine, grape juice, pomegranate juice and green tea.
- Ellagic acid benefits for skin include a possible reduction in wrinkles and inflammation caused by UV exposure.
- Other ellagic acid health benefits and uses include the prevention and treatment of certain cancers, obesity, obesity-related metabolic problems, viral infections and DNA damage.
- Speak with your health care provider before taking ellagic acid for weight loss or any other health concern.