The Amazing Benefits of Ellagic Acid!
Due to the way we have ignored nature and consigned our health to technology, we have created a health care crisis in America. Every 45 seconds an American dies from cancer. Cancer now kills more children between the ages of 3 and 14 than any other illness. Lung cancer has become a leading killer of both men and women.
Whenever research shows that a natural nutritional product or ingredient could have a major influence on the health of the human body, I feel compelled, as a Nutritional Biophysiologist, to pass that information along to as many interested parties as possible. I try to do this in an educational manner so that people will have the information to make intelligent decisions about their own health.
With this in mind, I would like to talk to you about an amazing new nutraceutical compound extracted from red raspberries. In research and in vitro studies, extracts from red raspberry fruit and especially the seeds, have been shown to reduce or eliminate chronic diseases and to provide a preventative influence on cancerous conditions. This nutraceutical compound is called Ellagic Acid.
Before I delve into the health giving, restorative properties of Ellagic Acid, I would like to give your attention to the FACTS information to the right.
What is causing these pandemic illnesses? Why are people developing cancer at such an accelerated rate and often at an early age? Natural and technologically produced toxins surround us. These environmental poisons are present in the air we breathe, the foods we eat, and the water we drink. In today’s industrial world, we cannot escape them. We are exposed to more toxins in 15 minutes than our great-grandparents were exposed to during their entire lives. The majority of these toxins are considered to be cancer-causing carcinogens, and, as unbelievable as it sounds, the most toxic environment to which we are exposed daily is the environment in our own homes.
Each of us has contributed to the demise of our own health. In our headlong rush to make our lives easier, safer, faster, more fun, and more convenient, we have changed our lifestyles, and, both accidentally and on purpose, we have also changed our environment. We have created the toxic environment necessary for a variety of old and new disease microbes and degenerative disease conditions, such as cancer, to proliferate and devastate our society.
Paradoxically, we spend more than any other country on health care. The one trillion dollars we spend on medicine, research, and health technology each year is more than the gross national product of all but six countries in the world. Still, disease continues to accelerate, and our health continues to deteriorate.
Why is our health deteriorating? It’s because our body is rusting. When a piece of iron turns rusty, it is undergoing a degenerative process called oxidation. During the process of living, our bodies also undergo this natural oxidation, which promotes the aging process. However, environmental toxins and chemically induced elements that are being introduced or absorbed into our bodies everyday are accelerating this oxidation condition by a process referred to as biological free radical damage.
Free radicals are unstable atoms or molecules with at least one unpaired electron. These unpaired electrons want and need a partner. Consequently, the unstable free radicals, which have the ability to attract electrons from other atoms or molecules, go about swiping electrons from other stable atoms. This taking of an electron from another atom means that the free radical is now balanced and is no longer a free radical. But the atom or molecule from which the electron was taken is now damaged, and it additionally becomes a free radical. This sets off a chain reaction of damage within the body.
In their reckless search for electrons, free radicals do a lot of structural damage to healthy cells. Cumulative free radical damage contributes to many forms of organ and tissue-specific diseases. In fact, researchers and the medical community generally agree that most common ailments, including virtually all chronic degenerative diseases and pathological conditions such as aging, stroke, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and cancer are either caused directly by, or are closely associated with free radical damage and acid accumulation in the fluids and tissues of the body.
The plasma membrane, which surrounds each cell, is the structure that is the most vulnerable to free radical attack. This membrane is a sophisticated highly selective barrier whose all-important job is to guard access to the cell. It decides what gets in, what stays in, and what is removed.
Inside each cell are many sub cellular structures called organelles. Each organelle is wrapped in its own protective outer membrane and performs a highly specialized function.
Mitochondria, for example, transform oxygen and food into energy that the cell uses for metabolism. The cell’s nucleus is also an organelle. It houses DNA, the cell’s genetic blueprint. When the cell’s plasma membrane or the membrane of an organelle is damaged by free radicals, it loses its protective properties. This puts the health of the entire cell in great danger.
Because cell membranes are mostly made of oxygen rich fatty acids, they are extremely vulnerable to free radical attack. Like tiny but very powerful bullets, highly charged free radical particles rip into the cell’s plasma membrane, literally punching holes in it. When this happens, transportation of nutrients, oxygen, and water into the cell and removal of waste products and toxins from the cell become compromised. This causes the cell to either starve to death or die in a sea of accumulated toxic waste.
In much the same way, free radical damage to a cell’s organelle membrane sabotages that organelle’s function. For instance, when mitochondria organelles are injured, these power plants of the cell can’t produce the energy necessary to drive the cell’s machinery. If damage to the mitochondrial membrane is extensive the cell dies because of lack of energy production.
Each cell contains a blueprint, which enables it to create a new cell. This blueprint is located inside the nucleus in a complex mass of molecules called deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA. The molecules that make up DNA contain a huge number of electrons.
Free radicals can blast their way through the protective membrane surrounding the nucleus, thereby gaining access to the chromosome DNA molecules housed inside. If free radicals happen to break up the DNA molecules in order to steal electrons, the cell dies or loses its ability to reproduce. Even worse, it may undergo an unnatural reproduction process known as mutation. Mutation can cause the abnormal cells we know as cancer.
How can we combat these cell-destroying free radicals? To put it simply, oxidation by free radicals can be stopped by antioxidants. In other words, if oxidation is biologically damaging to the body, then anti-oxidation is the prevention of free radical damage. Antioxidants are agents that combat the biological damage caused by free radicals. Research has demonstrated that antioxidants neutralize the mutation and carcinogenic action of free radicals as well as stop them from creating the chain reaction that contributes to various diseases including premature aging and cancer. The key to neutralizing free radical damage is to alkalize, cleanse, nourish, and balance the body, thereby giving it the ability to heal itself naturally.
Now, let’s go back to Ellagic Acid. Ellagic Acid is a nutraceutical, naturally occurring phenolic compound that has very strong anti-oxidant properties. It is also a potent anti-carcinogen. Ellagic Acid has the ability to inhibit mutations within a cell’s DNA. It is also considered an anti-cancer inhibitor, which has the ability to cause apoptosis or normal death in cancer cells. In addition, research has found that it has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
I could tell you about the studies conducted on raspberries and Ellagic Acid. These studies refer to its physicochemical properties, saponification number, diene and peroxide value, carotenoid content, and its UV protectant potential. I could also go into tocopherol content, oxidation resistance, fatty acid ratio, polymorphic changes and its thermal properties. But all most people want to know is, ‘What is Ellagic Acid?’ ‘What does it do?’ and ‘Where can I get it?’ Now… here is a paragraph for the scientific minded…
What is Ellagic Acid? Well, scientifically speaking, Ellagic Acid is formed in raspberries when polymers of gallic acid and hexahydroxydipenoyl (HHDP) are linked to glucose molecules to form compounds of ellagitannins. When two gallic acid groups become linked side by side within a tannin molecule, a HHDP group is formed. When the HHDP group is then bioactively separated from the tannin molecule, it spontaneously rearranges itself into subunits we call Ellagic Acid.
Ellagic Acid is found in red raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, walnuts, pecans, pomegranates, and cranberries. However, red raspberries have been found to have up to six times the therapeutic amount of Ellagic Acid available compared to what is contained in other fruits and foods tested. Ellagic Acid is present in all parts of the raspberry, but it is most highly concentrated in the seed. It was also found that Ellagic Acid is not changed, nor its potency weakened, by freezing, drying, or processing into a powder.
Although some of the early published research on Ellagic Acid appeared in the 1970’s and 1980’s, we owe most of our current knowledge about Ellagic Acid and it’s use in cancer prevention to studies done at the University of Minnesota School of Nutrition Sciences and more recently to research conducted by Dr. Daniel Nixon. Dr. Nixon is the President of the American Health Foundation, a professor of Folk Medicine, and a Professor of Hematology and Oncology at the Medical University of South Carolina. He is currently using Ellagic Acid in his cancer research at the Medical University of South Carolina’s Hollings Cancer Institute.
Some of the data published by Dr. Nixon and his team at the Medical University of South Carolina show that by consuming the equivalent of 40 milligrams of Ellagic Acid from red raspberries the following takes place: Human cervical cancer cells, which are infected with the human papilloma virus (HPV) will die a normal cell death within several days. This is called apoptosis (cells living their normal life span and then dying); it prevents the destruction of the P53 cell regulatory gene present in cervical cells. This gene is responsible for making sure the cells of the cervix divide normally and guards them against the intrusion of cancer producing cells; The (G1) growth cycle of cancer cells is arrested. This means that it inhibits mitosis cell division and the rapid abnormal growth and tissue intrusion that is common to most cancer cells.
Dr. Nixon and other investigators and researchers, both in the United States and in Europe, found that daily consumption of Ellagic Acid from red raspberries: Activate powerful detoxifying enzymes in the liver; This promotes the cleansing of the liver and the protection and regeneration of injured liver cells; Prevents the binding of carcinogens to the DNA of cells; Serves as a powerful antioxidant, which inhibits or destroys oxygen free radicals; May cause already established cancer cells to undergo programmed normal cell death (apoptosis); Stimulates the immune system to destroy cancerous cells; May be useful in reducing the incidence of birth defects; May slow the spread of the HIV virus in the body; May prevent periodontal disease and diabetic retinopathy; Can slow the aging process; Promotes wound healing; May help prevent heart disease because of the presence of a natural form of aspirin called salicylate.
This data and research are backed up with a prolifery of publications, tests, clinical evidence, and double blind studies, both completed and ongoing in the United States, Canada, and Europe. In Dr. Nixon’s words, ‘It’s fair to say that raspberries contain a chemical that fights cancer cells.’ There are also numerous clinical reports and personal testimonies by people who have participated in the studies or taken Ellagic Acid on their own which back up Dr. Nixon’s statement. There are testimonies that tell of the reversal or elimination of colon, prostate, breast, cervical, skin, and pancreatic cancer conditions. Some testimonies talk about the way Ellagic Acid has saved or changed lives and also about how time has been added to lives because of the inhibiting or elimination of chronic or degenerative disease.
Technology cannot prevent degenerative diseases, restore health, or rejuvenate the human body. However, there is a proven approach to treat or prevent disease conditions, which is based on sound science and common sense. This approach is through nutrition. Poor diet, smoking, sun exposure, and excessive alcohol consumption, combined with lack of exercise, is a deadly cancer and disease-inducing combination. If the body is given the correct nutrients, such as Ellagic Acid, those nutrients will nourish, balance, protect, and provide the body with the building blocks necessary for growth, repair, vitality, and longevity.
Healthy cells have a normal life cycle. This process concludes with what is called apoptosis (normal cell death). The body replaces these dying cells with healthy ones; conversely, cancer cells do not die. They rapidly multiply by cell division (mitosis), making 2 cancer cells, then 4, 8, 16, 32 and so on. In laboratory and recent clinical studies, Ellagic Acid caused the cancer cells to go through a nontoxic, normal apoptosis process without damaging the healthy cells. Chemotherapy, radiation and most conventional treatments are known to cause the death of cancer cells, but they also cause the death of healthy cells indiscriminately, possibly destroying the immune system in the treatment process.