What is Apple Pectin?
Apple Pectin is historically used primarily as a gelling agent for the making of jams, jellies and preserves. It is also a well-liked ingredient in the manufacturing of food. It is known to have “a smooth, creamy texture and great flavor release”. Within recent years, the medicinal properties have been more openly explored, particularly among those wishing to find alternative treatments to a large range of conditions. Apple pectin, in particular, has piqued the curiosity among many seeking to find natural weight loss supplements. It was even featured on a prominent doctor’s show about health, as a five-minute miracle diet promoting weight loss, particularly belly fat.
Simply put, pectin is a fiber. It is found in the cell walls of many plants and is particularly abundant in apples. Standard sample measurements show that the content of pectin averages to 0.5 grams per 100 grams of edible weight. In addition to the abundance of pectin found in apples, its quality has been found to serve exceptionally well for all applications. Apples serve as a primary source for the majority of commercially produced pectin, as the gelling behavior of the product has proven to be the most satisfactory.
Primarily found in the peel of the fruit, other applications for apple pectin have been its use as an adhesive in cigars, a demulcent in throat lozenges, an ingredient in laxatives, as well as an additive in shampoos and other beauty products. More recently, it has been utilized as a fat and sugar replacement in low calorie food options, as well as the primary ingredient in edible foams, papers and plastics. Another function is the use of pectin (a biopolymer) as a carrier for oral drug administration.
Recently, the benefits of pectin have also made it a popular staple among practitioners of both traditional and modern medicine. Its also a favorite among producers and consumers as its easy to produce, package and market. This herb is a win-win for all involved.
Apple Pectin Health Benefits and Uses
The potential health benefits of the product have become more apparent to those wishing to avoid prescription drugs and seek alternative treatments.
Digestion, Detox & Intestinal Health
Apple pectin has a positive maintenance effect on the digestive track, specifically for diets constructed with the purpose of losing weight. This, paired with the fact that apple pectin is derived naturally rather than being chemically synthesized, makes it an ideal dietary supplement for the aspiring naturalist. It serves as a healthy detox and desirable alternative to synthetic dietary supplements.
Cholesterol & Heart Disease
Scientific research has shown that pectin may be an effective way to treat high cholesterol as test subjects dosed with the product showed a significant decrease in LDL (low-density lipoprotein) over the course of time. The potential benefits of apple pectin for treatment of cholesterol was reported in the May 2008 “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.” The issue states that a study found that test subjects, who were fed apple pectin, showed a reduction in blood sugar levels, total cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels and weight. The American Heart Association supports these findings by stating that the soluble fiber provided in apple pectin has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and reduce the levels of bad cholesterol, more than a low-fat diet alone. According to the National Institute of Health, soluble fiber reduces the amount of cholesterol absorbed in the intestines. The findings and reports of various health-focused publications and organizations have led many doctors and individuals to explore the potentially positive attributes garnered from the consumption of apple pectin.
Intestinal Health & Good Bacteria
The March 19, 2010, issue of “Anaerobe” suggests that regular intake of apple pectin may assist in the development of a healthy intestinal tract. The issue states that one’s increased intake of apples results in an optimal increase of good bacteria as opposed to bad bacteria. It is further surmised that it is the pectin content in particular that leads to this result.
Doses of apple pectin have been prescribed for the conduct of diarrhea in addition to standard medicines and hydration techniques. While the FDA has been unable to report conclusive evidence of the use of pectin for treatment of diarrhea, it has been suggested by those looking for alternatives for treatment in addition to the traditional procedures. Some herbalists emphasize that apple pectin is particularly for the treatment of diarrhea in young children aged five to twelve months. It appears that pectin treats each incident of diarrhea and vomiting by shortening the length of each occurrence while also lessening the need for replacement fluids. This might be an appealing attribute in developing nations, where medication and clean fluids are in short supply. It has been hypothesized that the implementation of apple pectin in developing nations would be beneficial to the health of young children who experience ongoing diarrhea.
More dramatically, treatment for serious ailments such as prostate and colon cancer has been suggested by organizations such as the Institute for Food Research. It has been emphasized that pectin has only been used in addition to traditional cancer treatments. Advocates of its use claim that it may lengthen the time between recurrences of cancer. The University of Georgia had a research group that found that pectin eliminated up to 40 percent of prostate cancer cells when exposed. Other studies have found that pectin can combat colon and lung cancers. However, the research is still preliminary and those hopeful to find alternative treatment to halt the growth of cancer cells, specifically in the prostate, suggest that citrus pectin may be better utilized. In addition to this, research into the use of pectin for treatment of detrimental cell growth is still early and there is limited evidence to support these claims. At this time, the evidence for the use of apple pectin for alleviation of cancer is considered insufficient.
Diabetes, Infection, Mouth Sores & Indigestion
The use of pectin has also been suggested for other afflictions such as diabetes, infection, damage from radiation, heartburn, throat and mouth sores, as well as other afflictions. Claims, such as these, have come from clinical nutritionists and some prominent natural doctors. However, the FDA reports insufficient data in regards to the use of pectin to treat all listed symptoms, injuries and diseases.
Apple Pectin Side Effects, Toxicity, Interactions and Safety
Since apple pectin is a natural by-product found naturally in apples, it is considered safe to consume for most people. The best way to consume pectin is by eating apples as they are, however, oral intake of apple pectin via capsule or powder poses little risk, as reported at this time. It has been determined to be potentially safe for children and women who are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Despite the lack of major toxicities reported with its use, unhindered intake of pectin is not without its risks. It has been found that the body can react negatively to the combination of guar gum and insoluble fiber in conjunction with the oral intake of pectin. The combination of apple pectin and guar gum or insoluble fiber has been used to lower cholesterol and other blood fats. Side effects have included diarrhea, gas and loose stools. When tested on rats, dosages of 50 to 100 mg/kg were found to increase incidences of mucosal legions produced by ethanol or aspiring, thus exacerbating the deleterious effects of products known for having a history of being rough on the stomach lining.
Despite these potential side effects, apple pectin is generally regarded as a safer alternative to some synthetically composed treatments used for similar afflictions. Regardless, its important to talk to your medical professional before taking apple pectin. You may even want to talk to an allergist as apple skins are a common allergen.
Apple Pectin Capsules, Powder or Tablets?
Apple pectin comes in a variety of forms. It is available commercially in powder, capsules, pressed tablets and, of course, by eating apples. It has been found that intake is better tolerated when consumed by eating apples, however some may find it hard to eat that many apples and a capsule or powder will suffice.
Apple Pectin Dosage
Intake of apple pectin in both capsules and powder form has been distributed in doses of ten to twenty grams by manufacturers. It is recommended that you read the label and follow the directions distributed by the manufacturers in regards to dosage. There are several trusted sellers of apple pectin in all commercially available forms. However; the the manufacturers fail to give dosages clinical studies suggest 15 grams of pectin for high cholesterol. That studied dosage suggest that pectin is tolerable even at high dosages. Always consult your doctor prior to taking any form of pectin.