Pectin, a type of fiber in the cell walls of plants, helps give plants their structure (
Apple pectin is extracted from apples, which are some of the richest sources of fiber. Roughly 15–20% of the pulp of this fruit is made of pectin.
Here are 10 promising benefits and uses of apple pectin.
Your gut microbiome needs both prebiotics and probiotics to stay healthy (
As it stimulates the growth and activity of helpful bacteria, apple pectin is considered a prebiotic. What’s more, it may help inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, such as Clostridium and Bacteroides, in the digestive tract (
Apple pectin is a prebiotic, promoting gut health by feeding the beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract.
Apple pectin may aid weight loss by delaying stomach emptying.
However, a 3-week study in 11 adults noted that supplementing with 27 grams of citrus-peel pectin daily did not affect fullness or weight loss (
This is why more research is needed.
Pectin may help you feel full for longer, which could aid weight loss. However, results are mixed, and further studies are necessary.
In a small, 4-week study, 12 people with type 2 diabetes took 20 grams of apple pectin daily and experienced improved blood sugar responses (
As such, further studies are necessary.
Apple pectin may aid blood sugar control, but more studies are needed.
Apple pectin may boost heart health by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
This substance binds to bile acids in your small intestine, which may help improve cholesterol levels (
An analysis of 67 studies in 2,990 adults determined that pectin reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol without affecting HDL (good) cholesterol. Overall, pectin tended to lower total cholesterol by 5–16% (
This is important, as elevated levels of total and LDL (bad) cholesterol are a major risk factor for heart disease (
What’s more, apple pectin may affect blood pressure, which is another risk factor for heart disease (
A review of 43 studies showed that 9 grams of pectin per day for 7 weeks lowered both systolic and diastolic blood pressure — the top and bottom numbers in a reading, respectively. This effect was especially pronounced in people with high blood pressure (
However, more specific research on apple pectin and blood pressure is necessary.
Apple pectin may reduce risk factors for heart disease, including blood pressure and total and LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Constipation and diarrhea are common complaints. In fact, around 14% of people worldwide deal with chronic constipation (
Apple pectin may alleviate both diarrhea and constipation (
Apple pectin is a gel-forming fiber that easily absorbs water, helping relieve both constipation and diarrhea.
There is some research showing that apple pectin may improve iron uptake.
This could be especially important for people with anemia, a condition linked to weakness and fatigue that’s often caused by iron deficiency. Notably, the World Health Organization (WHO) asserts that over 30% of women globally who are of childbearing age are anemic (
People who are menstruating and anyone following a vegan or vegetarian diet are at a particularly high risk of iron deficiency. Menstruation can trigger iron loss, while iron found in plant-based diets isn’t absorbed as well as iron from animal foods (
Yet, research on apple pectin provides mixed results.
Therefore, research that includes humans is needed.
Apple pectin may improve iron absorption, but results are mixed. Thus, more studies are necessary.
Pectin may improve acid reflux symptoms.
Around 20% of adults in the United States have acid reflux, a condition in which stomach acid rises into your esophagus. It may lead to heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) when it occurs too often (
Yet, because of the limited nature of this study, more research is necessary.
Apple pectin may improve acid reflux, but further research is necessary.
Hair loss affects millions of people and is considered difficult to treat (
Anecdotal evidence associates apple pectin with stronger hair and skin. It has even been added to cosmetic products, such as shampoos, with the promise of fuller hair (
However, no scientific evidence links pectin to hair or skin health.
Many people believe that apple pectin boosts hair and skin health, but studies don’t currently back this claim.
Although these studies are promising, further research is needed.
A few animal or test tube studies indicate that pectin may have anticancer effects, but more research including humans is necessary.
Apple pectin is likewise available as a supplement.
It’s simple to add apple pectin to your diet as a supplement, though whole apples — particularly the Granny Smith variety — also offer high amounts.
Apple pectin is a type of soluble fiber with several potential health benefits.
It may improve cholesterol, blood pressure, gut health, and bowel stability, though results are mixed and more research is necessary.
You can consume it as a supplement, via jams and jellies, or by eating whole apples with the skin to get the max amount of pectin.