What is ellagic acid?
Ellagic acid is a polyphenol, or micronutrient, found in fruits and vegetables. Some foods contain a more complex version called ellagitannin. This is an acid that is converted into ellagic acid in the body.
Ellagic acid is known for its antioxidant properties. That means it removes toxins from your body and protects against harmful molecules known as free radicals. Plants also produce this antioxidant compound as a defense mechanism against infection and pests.
Where to find ellagic acid
Ellagic acid is more prevalent in berries, similar to other antioxidants. Though there are other foods rich in this compound.
Common foods high in ellagic acid are:
- beefsteak fungus, a mushroom grown on oak and chestnut trees
Raspberries have the most ellagic acid compared to other foods. You can also buy ellagic acid as a dietary supplement, a dissolvable powder, and a topical solution.
Research on benefits of ellagic
In addition to its antioxidant benefits, ellagic acid has been researched for its ability to fight cancer and other diseases.
In a 2014 study, research suggests that ellagic acid slows the growth of tumor cells, and binds with cancer molecules to make them inactive. There has been research in mice and rats on its effect in helping resist cancer. However, there is less research on this compound’s anticarcinogenic effects on humans.
Ellagic acid is also effective in treating wrinkles and inflammation. A 2010 study examined the protective effects of ellagic acid on collagen and inflammatory responses in UV-exposed mice and human skin cells.
In the study, researchers applied a topical ellagic acid solution to hairless mice. The mice were then exposed to UV light for eight weeks. Results showed ellagic acid prevented inflammation and collagen breakdown that causes wrinkles.
Research also shows ellagic acid as a powerful agent against diseases such as pancreatitis. In another animal study, rats were fed a diet influenced by ellagic acid to examine inflammation and fibrosis. Results showed that rats fed ellagic acid versus those treated with a different diet experienced reduced pancreatic inflammation.
Ellagic acid has been associated with weight loss and a reduction in obesity.
In a 2012 animal study, researchers observed that ellagic acid in pomegranate extract reduced the amount of resistin in mice. Resistin is a hormone linked between obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes. The study showed reducing resistin using ellagic acid could reduce the risk of obesity and inflammation.
The bottom line
Ellagic acid is a powerful antioxidant linked to a number of medical and health benefits. Due to little research on humans, there isn’t enough information to note any known side effects, safety concerns, or its effectiveness as a treatment.
Traditional treatments for cancer, infections, and other diseases are recommended. Discuss your options with a doctor before seeking treatment.