Apple pectin may be just one more reason why the phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” has endured. What exactly is pectin? It’s a complex carbohydrate, a soluble fibre found in the walls of plant cells. The actual amount of pectin found in the cells varies by each plant. Overall, pectin content is typically higher in legumes and certain fruits. For instance, apple, grapefruit, orange and apricot are known to have high levels of pectin. There are many health benefits associated with pectin including:
- regulating the digestive system
- lowering blood pressure
- lowering glucose levels
- lowering bad cholesterol levels
While pectin alone certainly has a number of health benefits, apple pectin in particular has some other medicinal advantages. Its primary use is as a natural remedy for digestive disorders. Since apple pectin is high in fiber, it is used to help regulate bowel movements and once it arrives in the colon it starts creates butyrate (HDAC Inhibitor) via fermentation with the colonic flora which has been shown to induce apoptosis in colonocytes in vitro in a p53-independent manner .
It can help firm stools and reduce inflammation associated with diarrhoea, as well as help with constipation. It is also used to help treat colitis, irritable bowel disease, and other related digestive disorders, apple pectin has also been found to have the following properties.
- HDAC Inhibitor
- Protects Cells
- Prevents Carcinogenesis
- Lowers Colonic Inflammation
- Activates Natural Killer T and B Cells
In 1825, a French chemist and pharmacist, Henri Braconnot, who was an expert in the extraction of active components from plants, was the first to discover a heteropolysaccharide with gelling properties which he named “pectic acid” (in ancient Greek πηκτ ικóς meaning coagulant).
Pectin is a family of complex polysaccharides, which are found in high amounts in plant primary wall. The main role of the plant wall components is to give mechanical strength to plants, to maintain an extracellular water phase by imbibition and to provide a barrier from external environment.
The exact chemical structure of pectin is still under debate. Pectins are a family of covalently linked galacturonic acid-rich polymers. Until now, three main pectic polysaccharides have been isolated from plant wall whose structure has been identified. They are homogalacturonan (HG), rhamnogalacturonan-I (RG-I) and substituted galacturonans (GS).
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Anti-cancer activities of pH- or heat-modified pectin
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