If you haven’t yet heard much about the polyphenol nutrient called ellagic acid (also called EA), that may soon change. Some promising new studies are showing that it may benefit not only your overall cell health through its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, but it may also have implications for fat loss, weight maintenance and the overall metabolism and regulation of fat accumulation.
How ellagic acid tempers fat storage and fat cell formation
Studies in mice have shown that when fed the equivalent of about one and a half cups of muscadine grapes, which are high in ellagic acid (other grape varieties are much lower or even devoid of the nutrient), they exhibited some interesting characteristics. Both groups of mice in the study were fed a high fat diet. However, the mice who consumed the ellagic acid rich diet in conjunction with a high fat diet, showed not only less fat cell formation and a marked decrease in liver storage, but also showed much better blood sugar control since it seemed to help control the release and metabolism of simple sugars.
So, ellagic acid seemed to have not only an effect on how the mice stored and metabolized fat, but also on another important component of health and weight maintenance, which is the efficient control of glucose levels. Another study, based on human biological models translated from the findings in mice, provided evidence that ellagic acid tempers the formation and growth of fat cells.
This is all promising evidence that ellagic acid may provide some important support to those wanting to maintain a healthy weight and healthy body fat ratio, since it seems to support the efficient metabolism of fat and carbohydrates. While those that released the study were careful to stay away from calling EA a weight loss support mechanism, they did acknowledge that it may help support healthy blood sugar levels, metabolize fat, and prevent it from storing in the liver, as well as provide important antioxidant support to healthy cells.
Protects skin from UV damage
Ellagic acid also has shown some very promising anti-aging qualities. One study showed daily intake of EA helped protect against one of the biggest skin-aging factors, which is UV light damage. It works by blocking the production of enzymes that break down collagen in damaged skin cells.
EA also reduced the effect of inflammation on skin cells by suppressing the effects of a molecule that is involved in inflammatory reactions, called ICAM. The anti-inflammatory effects of EA could have a very positive effect on preventing sun damage since the skin breaks down over time due to constant exposure to free radicals, whether it be from environmental and UV causes, diet or chemicals.
This protective quality has also shown promise in the prevention of numerous types of cancer. EA has demonstrated cancer cell thwarting qualities for cancers of the prostate, breast, esophagus, skin, colon and pancreas.
Foods highest in EA
So, what are the foods richest in ellagic acid? The top choice is strawberries. Fresh, wild strawberries have the highest levels, followed by raspberries and blackberries. Pomegranates also contain EA, but not in as high of available levels as the aforementioned berries. Walnuts contain some EA (as if we need even more reasons to consume this superfood). Also, red wine made with muscadine grapes contains high levels of EA. Oak aging of this wine further increases the concentration of EA.
Danna Norek founded AuraSensory.com Natural Skin Care and Hair Care
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