1. What is it and where does it come from?
Apple pectin and pectin in general is classified as a soluble fiber. It has a gel-forming effect when mixed with water. Since it is a dietary fiber, Apple Pectin is helpful in maintaining good digestive health. Pectin is defined as any of a group of white, amorphous, complex carbohydrates that occurs in ripe fruits and certain vegetables. Peaches, apples, currants, and plums are all fruits rich in Pectin.
The amount of pectin in the fruit depends partly on how ripe the fruit is. If the fruit is unripe, it has what is called Protopectin, which is converted into Pectin as the fruit ripens. When put in water, Pectin forms a colloidal solution, and gels on cooling. If the fuit is overripe, the Pectin becomes pectic acid, which does not form jelly with sugar solutions. If the fruit is just right and the acidity is optimum and the amount of Pectin is sufficient, the fruit can be cooked with the right amount of sugar and be made into jams and jellies.
The food industry uses pectin as a gelling agent. It is mainly used in fruit based foods such as jams and jellies. It does have some pharmaceutical applications too. Chemically, Pectin is a linear polysaccharide. It contains about 300 to 1,000 monosaccharide units. The principle monosaccharide unit of Pectin is D-Galacturonic acid.
Pectin also has some neutral sugars present in it. D-galacturonic acid residues are linked together by Alpha-1, 4 glycosidic linkages. These residues can be esterified with methyl groups. If more than 50% of the galaturonic acid residues are esterified, the Pectin is called high methoxyl or HM Pectin. If it is less than 50%, the Pectin is called low methoxy or LM Pectin.
2. What does it do and what scientific studies give evidence to support this?
Since Apple Pectin is an indigestible, soluble fiber, it is a general intestinal regulator. It is used in many medicinal preparations, especially as an anti-diahrrea agent. Does "An apple a day keep the doctor away"? Nutritional scientist are trying to find evidence that verify how apples are good for our health. Researchers have found that apples are the richest of fruits in Pectin.
Many studies have been done on Apple Pectin and the results are promising. One study shows that it acts as an antioxidant against the damaging portion of cholesterol in the blood stream. Some researchers think that people should drink apple juice if there meal consisted of fatty foods.
Apple Pectin cleanses the intestinal tract with its soluble and insoluble fibers, helping to maintain an intestinal balance.
Apple Pectin may also be used to remove unwanted metals and toxins.
3. Who needs it and what are some symptoms of deficiency?
Just about anyone could benefit from supplementing Apple Pectin. However, because it is not an essential nutrient, true deficiencies do not occur. One might want consult their professional health care provider before supplementing Apple Pectin into their diet.
4. How much should be taken? Are there any side effects?
There is still more studies that need to be done and no typical dose for Apple Pectin supplements have been set yet. Plenty of fluid should be consumed when supplementing with Apple Pectin. If you are going to supplement Apple Pectin into your diet, follow the directions on the container.
Apple Pectin may cause a decrease in the absorption of minerals such as zinc, copper, iron, calcium and magnesium if used concomitantly. It may also cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as flatulence, cramps, gas and diarrhea. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid supplementing Apple Pectin unless otherwise directed by their professional health care provider.
All information presented on this website is intended to be used for educational purposes only. Any statements made have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (U.S.). These product are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any condition or disease. Please consult with your own physician or health care practitioner regarding any suggestions and recommendations made.
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