The Benefits of Apples & Apple Pectin

  1. The Benefits of Apples & Apple Pectin

    Apple trees are cultivated throughout the Northern Hemisphere, occasionally growing wild. The saying, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away," has some basis in fact, as apple pectin holds preventive activity in cancer and cardiovascular disease. Preliminary evidence suggests a positive relationship between lung function and consumption of five or more apples per week (Butland, et al., 2000). An inverse association may exist between lung cancer risk and foods containing quercetin, found in high concentrations in apples (Le Marchand, et al., 2000).

    Apple pectin is the soluble fiber fraction of the apple fruit. Pectin comes in liquid or dried form and the source is the solid fruit residue with 10-20% pectin in the dried mass (Fleming, 2000). The pectin is extracted from the dried residue at pH 1.5-3 and at temperatures ranging from 60-100[degrees]C.

    Known Medicinal Constituents

    The most well-recognized and evaluated medicinal constituents found in apples include:

    * Quercetin and other flavonoids

    * Pectins

    * Tannins

    * Vitamins, especially ascorbic acid (3-30 mg/100 g)

    * Fruit acids, chiefly malic acid

    Indications for Use

    Apples and apple pectin are indicated for use in the following health challenges:

    * Impaired lung function

    * Lung cancer

    * Colon cancer

    * Diarrhea and constipation

    * Toxic accumulation and toxicity syndromes

    Mechanisms of Action

    It is unknown by what mechanism apples may affect lung function or lower the risk of lung cancer. It has been proposed that the antioxidant flavonoid quercetin may play a major role (Le Marchand, et al., 2000; Butland, et al., 2000). Pectins and pectin-like rhamnogalacturonans found in apples have pronounced antimutagenic effects against 1-nitropyrene induced mutagenicity in vitro (Hensel, A. and Meier, K., 1999). In vitro, pectin polysaccharides most likely interact directly with cells (Salmonella typhimurium) to sterically protect them from mutagenic attack.

    As well, apple pectin decreases the incidence and number of dimethylhydrazine- and azoxymethane-induced colon tumors in rats (Ohkami, H. et al., 1995; Tazawn, K. et al., 1997; Tazawa, K. et al. 1999). It is also believed that pectin lowers [beta]-glucuronidase activity, a key enzymatic step in carcinogen activation and tumor initiation in the colon.

    In the intestine, apple pectin is a bulk-forming agent similar to psyllium and prevents diarrhea and constipation by a similar mechanism. Pectin also may modify intestinal bacterial enzyme activity in favor of a reduction of toxic breakdown products in the gut (Mallett, A. K. et al., 1987). This may contribute to a chemoprotective effect in colon carcinogenesis.


    Apples in lung function and lung cancer

    Researchers (Le Marchand, et al., 2000) found a statistically significant inverse relationship between lung cancer risk and food sources high in the isoflavone quercetin (anions and apples) after controlling for smoking and intakes of saturated fat and [beta]-carotene in a population-based, case-controlled study conducted in Hawaii (Table 1).

    A long-term cross-sectional analysis of a cohort of 2512 Welshmen aged 45-59 living in Caerphilly, Wales between 1979 and 1983 found that lung function was linearly associated with dietary apple intake (Table 2) (Butland, et al., 2000).

    This study additionally found that the age-related decline in lung function over five years in these men was offset by consuming five or more apples per week during the study period (Butland, et al., 2000).


    These clinical results coupled with the results of earlier trials strongly suggest that apples:

    * Protect against cancer, primarily lung cancer

    * Improve lung function


    * None known

    Side Effects

    * No adverse reactions are known to occur with consumption of apple fruit or isolated pectin. However, apple seeds contain potentially toxic levels of hydrogen cyanide that, if used incorrectly, can be dangerous.

    Possible Interactions with Drugs

    * None known

    Possible Interactions with Herbs and other Dietary Supplements

    * Insufficient reliable information available

    Possible Interactions with Diseases or Conditions

    * None known

    Typical Dosage

    * Oral: 500 mg apple pectin in capsules taken daily or "an apple a day."

    Excerpts reprinted with permission from the book Clinical Purification: A Complete Treatment and Reference Manual by Dr. Gina L. Nick.

    Table 1

    Odds ratio for lung cancer in the highest vs. the lowest quartiles for
    apple intake in a Hawaiian population. An odds ratio of 1.0 indicates no
    difference (Q1). Parentheses indicate 95% CI. Other foods high in
    isoflavones are shown for comparison. Of these, only apples and onions
    are high in quercetin. Adapted from Le Marchand et al (2000).

    Q1 (lowest) Q2 Q3

    Apple 1.0 0.9 (0.6-1.4) 1.0 (0.6-1.6)
    Onion 1.0 1.4 (0.9-2.3) 0.9 (0.5-1.4)
    Red wine (tertiles) 1.0 0.8 (0.4-1.8) 0.7 (0.4-1.2)
    Soy products 1.0 1.6 (1.0-2.7) 1.2 (0.7-2.2)

    Q4 (highest) Two-sided P for trend

    Apple 0.6 (0.4-1.0) 0.03
    Onion 0.5 (0.3-0.9) 0.001
    Red wine (tertiles) - 0.20
    Soy products 1.0 (0.5-1.8) 0.28

    Table 2

    Cross-sectional analysis: Differences in forced expiratory volume in one
    second ([FEV.sub.1]) in mL associated with increases in the frequency of
    apple intake from baseline Adapted from Butland et al (2000).

    Frequency (1) Adjusted for (2) Adjusted for (1)
    of apple N age, height, age (2), body mass index,
    consumption and height (2) and smoking

    None 645 0 (baseline) 0 (baseline)
    1 270 97.1 (3.2-191.0) 75.7 (-15.7-167.1)
    2-4 753 159.9 (90.2-229.5) 102.9 (34.6-171.1)
    5 433 291.8 (211.2-372.4) 185.7 (104.9-266.5)
    Test for trend P<0.001 P<0.001

    (3) Adjusted for (2)
    Frequency social class, work (4) Adjusted for
    of apple exercise, and leisure (3) and total
    consumption exercise energy intake

    None 0 (baseline) 0 (baseline)
    1 49.3 (-40.9-139.5) 44.5
    2-4 84.7 (17.2-152.1) 88.0
    5 146.6 (66.5-226.8) 138.1
    Test for trend P<0.001 P<0.001

    Butland, B. K. et al. 2000. Diet, lung function, and lung function decline in a cohort of 2512 middle-aged men. Thorax 55(2): 102-108.

    Fleming, T. (Ed.). 2000. PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd ed. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company. 656-657.

    Hensel, A. and K. Meier. 1999. Pectins and xyloglucans exhibit antimutagenic activities against nitroaromatic compounds. Planta Med 65(5): 395-399.

    Le Marchand, L. et al. 2000. Intake of flavonoids and lung cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst 92(2): 154-160.

    Mallett, A. K. et al. 1987. Dietary modification of intestinal bacterial enzyme activities - potential formation of toxic agents in the gut. Scand J Gastroenterol Suppl 129: 25 1-257.

    Ohkami, H. et al. 1995. Effects of apple pectin on fecal bacterial enzymes in azoxymethane-induced rat colon carcinogenesis. Jpn J Cancer Res 86(6): 523-529.

    Tazawa, K. et al. 1997. 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 16(1): 33-38.

    Tazawa, K. et al. 1999. Dietary fiber inhibits the incidence of hepatic metastasis with the antioxidant activity and portal scavenging functions. Hum Cell 12(4): 189-196.

    COPYRIGHT 2003 The Townsend Letter Group

    I believe there were studies done on apple pectin and it's ability to take heavy metals out of the body as well. If I can find the studies I'll post em.

  2. Cool, I eat so many apples I've been called a "horse" by my colleages.

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