What is Ellagic Acid, its Sources, Benefits, Side Effects?

What is Ellagic Acid?

Ellagic acid is a powerful polyphenol that is associated with numerous health benefits. Ellagic acid is found to occur naturally and is present in a good amount in foods such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and walnuts. Some foods contain ellagitannin that gets converted to ellagic acid in the body.(1)

Food Sources of Ellagic Acid

Ellagic acid can be naturally obtained from a variety of food sources that includes various foods and nuts.

The richest food sources of ellagic acid include:(2)

However, a large amount of these foods need to be consumed to match the amount obtained from the supplements.

Benefits of Ellagic Acid

Ellagic acid is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, cancer-fighting properties. A review of in vitro and in vivo evidence showed ellagic acid is effective in inhibiting the spread of tumors by killing cancer cells.(3) It also increases the tumor sensitivity to chemotherapy and radiation therapy enhancing the effectiveness of these treatments.

Ellagic acid is also known to be effective in fighting against different types of cancers including breast cancer, bladder cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer and lung cancer.(4,5,6,7)

Some human studies show the effectiveness of pomegranate juice or extract against prostate cancer and colorectal cancer. Pomegranate is rich in ellagic acid.(8,9)

Ellagic acid is also effective in preventing conditions like type 2 diabetes and brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.(10,11)

It can also help regulate the immune function and decrease specific markers of inflammation including prostaglandin E2 and interleukin 6.(12,13)

Ellagic acid is also used in many skincare products due to its ability to reduce hyperpigmentation.(14) It lightens the skin by blocking the activity of the enzyme that is involved in the production of melanin, a skin pigment.

High risk of HPV is linked with cervical cancer and research shows, taking ellagic acid and Graviola for 6 months has antiviral activity against high-risk of HPV. This may also prevent the precancerous cells from worsening in females who are at high risk.(19)

Side Effects of Ellagic Acid

Ellagic acid when consumed from food sources is considered safe. In supplements as well if used as directed may be associated with very few or no side effects.

Ellagic acid is known to inhibit cytochrome P450s, a group of enzymes that are involved in the metabolization of many medications including statins, antipsychotics, and blood thinners. Therefore, if consuming these medications it is important to consult a doctor before using ellagic acid supplements.(15,16)

It is not sure whether ellagic acid is safe to be consumed by pregnant and breastfeeding females and hence should be avoided.

Ellagic Acid Dosage and Supplement

Ellagic acid supplements can be easily obtained from local natural health stores and online retailers. It is also marketed as a natural remedy for cancer and bacterial and viral infections.

A few studies estimate the ellagic acid to be most effective in doses ranging from 30-850 mg.(17)

Studies also show that the body may not absorb ellagic acid from supplements as effectively as from food sources, which limits the ellagic acid supplementation potential benefits.(18)

You can think of new ways to add ellagic acid to the diet naturally. It can be done by adding green tea, pomegranate, walnuts, grapes and different berries in the diet in different forms.

Along with all the above it is important to consult a doctor if taking any medications and considering starting ellagic acid as a supplement.