If there is a single natural compound with the most impressive health promoting abilities (especially in regards to antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects), it is apigenin.
Apigenin is a naturally occurring plant flavone, which is abundant in everyday fruits, vegetables and herbs. It is recognized as a bioactive flavonoid with impressive and well-documented anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer properties, amongst other abilities.
Various epidemiologic studies provide strong evidence that a diet rich in this particular flavonoid is associated with increased health and lower rates of various diseases and cancers. With a powerful ability to neutralize oxidative stress – a primary culprit for aging and disease – apigenin is a protective substance against cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders, and biological aging.
APIGENIN AND YOUR HEALTH
Apigenin is gaining popularity and interest thanks to the work of Ray Peat, amongst other studies that demonstrate its remarkable effects in treating cancer. Additionally, apigenin has shown to have no negative effects on the metabolic system, making it both a safe and effective tool in promoting health.
When consumed as a regular part of the diet is has been reported to lead to a decrease in markers of oxidative stress and lymphocyte DNA damage, both which are commonly associated with increased risk for disease and early aging.
Below are a few scientifically-backed examples of how apigenin promotes health while inhibiting various, common diseases:
- Antioxidant & Anti-Inflammatory: Apigenin significantly reduces the amount of inflammatory cells in the body. It works by inhibiting NF-κB pathways and suppressing pro inflammatory cytokines. Additionally, apigenin decreases total oxidative stress in organ tissues. 1
- Liver Protectant: Alcohol is one of the many substances that is toxic to the liver. Apigenin has been shown in study to protect the liver, not just with its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities, but specifically by reducing the expression of hepatic cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1) and nuclear factor kappa B proteins as well as contents of hepatic malondialdehyde and tumor necrosis factor-alpha, while simultaneously increasing the levels of hepatic reduced glutathione, glutathione reductase, glutathione peroxidase, and glutathione S-transferase (master antioxidants). In simpler terms, these findings provide evidence that apigenin has a protective effect on alcohol-induced liver injury. 2
- Anti-Diabetic: Apigenin is capable of lowering plasma levels of pro-inflammatory mediators and fasting blood glucose, having a strong anti-hyperglycemic effect, improving insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia and hepatic gluconeogenic enzymes activities. 3
- Decrease Estrogen: Increased levels of estrogen (estrogen dominance) contributes to a wide array of diseases and disorders including, hypothyroidism, hair loss (pattern baldness), infertility, PCOS, obesity, and various metabolic disorders. Apigenin is an aromatase inhibitor, meaning it inhibits the enzymatic conversion of androgen hormones like testosterone into estrogen. 4
- Anti-Cancerous: Many of the beneficial biological effects of apigenin are due to its antioxidant effects and ability to neutralize free radicals. However, it is also a powerful anti-mutagenic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and detoxifier. Apigenin inhibits excessive cell growth, neutralizes oxidative stress, improves the effectiveness of detoxification enzymes, which includes apoptosis (cell death) and also improves immune function. These properties categorize apigenin in a special class of beneficial compounds, which possess health-promoting and cancer-preventing effects. In study, apigenin showed promising effects on treating breast cancer, cervical cancer, colon cancer, hematological cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, thyroid cancer, gastric cancer, liver cancer, endometrial cancer, and adrenal cortical cancer. 5
BEST SOURCES OF APIGENIN
I wouldn’t recommend supplementing with apigenin as most supplements are allergenic. However, there are plenty foods and herbs that contain appropriate levels of apigenin without allergenic effects. The best food-sources of apigenin include:
- Herbs: rosemary, oregano, thyme, basil and coriander
- Lemon Balm
- Licorice root
- Red wine
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