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What is Ferulic Acid & What are its Benefits to Skin and Health?

What is Ferulic Acid?

Ferulic acid is a plant-based antioxidant that is found in plant tissues.(1) It is found in the seeds of apples, citrus fruits, rhubarb, vegetables and foods such as rice, rye, eggplant, barley, and oats.

Due to its antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effect, Ferulic acid has gained its place in most of the skincare products. Ferulic acid is also known to have an anti-cancer and anti-diabetic effect.(2)

Skin Health Benefits of Ferulic Acid

There are numerous reasons that make ferulic acid an essential ingredient in most skin care products.

It Is A Potent Antioxidant

As it has antioxidant properties, ferulic acid inhibits the formation of reactive oxygen species. Ferulic acid neutralizes free radicals and prevents the further free radicals generation by inhibiting the enzymes responsible for generating them. Free radicals lead to skin aging, neutralizing them, keeps the skin youthful.

Ferulic Acid Protects The Skin From The Bad Effects Of UV Rays

The cells that produce collagen and other fibers (fibroblasts) are at risk of oxidative stress when exposed to UV rays.

Ferulic acid prevents oxidative stress and prevents the loss of collagen. This inhibits DNA damage that reduces the production of reactive oxygen, preventing skin cancer. It also protects other skin components such as elastin and keratinocytes preventing UV induced sun damage and photoaging.(2)

Anti-Blemish Agent

Ferulic acid helps in inhibiting enzymes responsible for melanogenesis that can lead to pigmentation and uneven skin tone. This makes it an important ingredient in anti-blemish and skin lightening products.

Other Health Benefits Of Ferulic Acid

Controls Diabetes

Ferulic acid helps alleviate the inflammation of the pancreas and liver and thereby provides better control of diabetes.

A study found that ferulic acid mixed with resveratrol increased the activity of the compound, nuclear factor-kB in mice. The function of nuclear factor-kB is to reduce inflammation in the liver and pancreas showing its anti-diabetic properties(3)

Improves Cognitive Function

Ferulic acid reduces oxidative stress and improves cognitive stress in people with Alzheimer’s. A study found ferulic acid combined with epigallocatechin gallate when given to genetically altered mice (to develop cerebral amyloidosis) for 15 days, reversed cognitive impairment in most of the memory test.(4)

The effect of an individual compound is unknown.

Slows The Growth Of Cervical Cancer Tumors

There is evidence that shows ferulic acid slows the growth of cervical cell tumors.(5)

Ferulic acid stunts the growth of cancer cells inhibiting mitosis. It also reduces the cancer cell’s ability to invade normal cells.

Side Effects Of Ferulic Acid

Ferulic acid is very low in toxicity and is considered safe for everyone, but one can be allergic to it as well.

Those allergic to a certain plant compound react immediately to ferulic acid if it is derived from that particular plant. For example, those allergic to barley would react to ferulic acid derived from barley. It is therefore essential to do a patch test before using any products especially if you have sensitive skin.

The side effect of ferulic acid can lead to:

  • Itchiness
  • Rashes
  • Hive
  • Redness
  • Flaky and peeling skin

Ferulic acid derived from wheat would trigger reactions in those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

A study also found it increases the blood concentration of anticoagulant in mice.(6)

Ferulic acid supplements can be found in various drug stores. It is good to consult a doctor before starting ferulic acid for any health purpose so that the side effects and other interactions can be monitored. The safety of using ferulic acid in children, pregnant females and nursing mother has not yet been established. All this makes a doctor’s advice before starting it is a must.

It should never be substituted for the drugs which are normally taken for diabetes, blood pressure or any other chronic health condition.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:November 24, 2020

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