Apigenin is a bioflavonoid that is present in several foods consumed by humans. This phytochemical is also a polyphenol. From the technical point of view, apigenin is a flavone having three OH groups. Currently, scientists are studying this compound extensively for its anti-carcinogenic properties. This phytochemical specially possesses a number of anti-tumour attributes, which are lacking in a number of other flavonoids.
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Apigenin is present is many vegetables and fruits and some of them like celery, Chinese cabbage, bell peppers and parsley contain this compound in elevated amounts. Fruits that contain this particular flavonoid include apples, grapes and cherries. In addition, this compound is also present in tea and wine. Herbs and spices like cloves, chamomile, basil, coriander, spinach, lemon balm, licorice, peppermint, oregano, thyme and rosemary also contain apigenin.
Similar to many other flavonoids, apigenin also possesses anti-tumour, anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic attributes. They also work like potent antioxidants. Currently scientists are extensively studying this property of apigenin. A major part of these studies are concentrating on the antioxidants' ability to combat cancer.
A number of epidemiological studies have also been undertaken with apigenin to correlate intake of this compound with reduced incidences of cancer. In addition, several studies have also examined the actions of this flavonoid on the cellular lining of a variety of cancer forms. Studies have also been undertaken to examine the effects of apigenin when used in combination with various chemotherapy agents.
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A large study correlated consumption of apigenin together with other flavonoids to reduced chances of developing breast cancer. Very recently, it was found that women who consumed flavonoids faced lower risks of ovarian cancer. It is worth mentioning here that this finding was only related to apigenin and no other flavonoids were used by the researchers during their study. Studies have also found that apigenin helps to slow down the growth as well as development of a variety of cancer lines, including leukemia, colon, breast, skin, thyroid and pancreas.
It has been found that ingestion of apigenin has often led to mixed results, especially when this compound was examined for its effects on chemotherapy agents. Although many of these chemicals are still used to eliminate the carcinogenic cells, several cancer cells continue to be resistant to these chemotherapy agents. A study undertaken to find the effects of apigenin on leukemia showed that this compound helped to lessen the toxicity of doxorubicin, a chemical commonly used in chemotherapy. This is an indication that consumption of this flavonoid would enhance the acuteness of leukemia when the condition is treated using this chemotherapy agent.
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However, scientists observed an opposite effect when they used apigenin with the human breast cancer cells. In this case, they found that ingestion of apigenin helped to enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatment using 5-fluorouracil to combat carcinogenic cells. As a result, in this case, researchers concluded that consuming this phytochemical may aid in combating breast cancer more effectively.
Moreover, the consequences of using apigenin may differ greatly depending on the dosage. The female hormone estrogen is sometimes associated with breast cancer development; this is truer in the case of cancer cells having estrogen receptors. It is worth mentioning here that apigenin possesses the ability to work as an estrogen as well as in the form of an anti-estrogen. Hence, when used in elevated doses, apigenin may actually stimulate breast cancer development.
Apparently, it is prudent to restrict consumption of apigenin only to sources like foods and wine. Scientific evidence obtained thus far hints that the amount of apigenin consumed by humans in their diet may be helpful in preventing development of cancer. However, taking added apigenin supplement is not recommended, as it does not seem to be helpful. Use of apigenin has a downside too. This phytochemical has the potential to have an effect on drug metabolism, as it slows down the production and secretion of an enzyme that acts on several pharmaceutical drugs.
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As discussed above, apigenin is present in an assortment of plants as well as herbs. It is present in abundance in chamomile tea and when this tea is consumed in elevated does, it helps to reduce anxiety significantly. Taken in further high doses, this compound may produce sedative effects.
It has been found that apigenin possesses very strong anti-cancer properties. This compound is useful in protecting us from several forms of cancer as it has high selectivity for carcinogenic cells compared to the healthy cells. Moreover, this flavonoid is very safe for use and one can obtain its anti-cancer benefits by consuming more of vegetables and fruits that contain high amounts of apigenin.
This phytochemical is present in several vegetables, herbs, fruits and spices. Taken a diet high in apigenin content may help in decreasing the chances of developing heart disease, neurological disorder and various forms of cancer. In fact, a diet rich in this flavonoid may also help to inhibit the natural aging process. Nevertheless, as apigenin has a poor bioavailability, one has to ensure that the diet is extremely rich in this flavonoid.
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Conversely, using apigenin supplement to boost your dietary content of this flavonoid may help to reap the benefits offered by this phytochemical. The benefits are augmented when you combine your diet with piperine obtained from black pepper or dihydroxybergamotin from grapefruits.
Flavonoids help the nerves in the central nervous system (CNS) to relax, thereby helping to lower the elevated levels of blood pressure. In effect, the calming effect of chamomile is owing to the presence of this potent flavonoid. Apigenin possesses the aptitude to regulate or tone down the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid) receptor in our brain.
Apigenin offers a number of health benefits. As far as the heart is concerned, it helps to significantly augment steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR), which is essential for hormone production. This flavonoid plays a vital role in transporting cholesterol into the cells. It is worth mentioning here that all hormones are produced from cholesterol.
StAR production in the body decreases as people age, consume unhealthy foods and take excessive alcoholic beverages. With the decrease in StAR production, hormonal production also slows down. This, in turn, accelerates the aging process and gives rise to several age-related health conditions. Nevertheless, taking a diet rich in apigenin and leading a healthy lifestyle may help to change things around.
Flavonoids also possess the aptitude to naturally inhibit aromatase production. At the same time, flavonoids also reduce the chances of blood clot formation and augment production and secretion of a number of hormones, by restraining production of aromatase, an enzyme whose production increases as people age. In addition apigenin may also be effective in reducing the risks of heart attack and developing atherosclerosis.
As far as treating cancer is concerned, apigenin has been found to have an all round approach. In addition to decreasing the chances of developing breast, prostate, bladder and stomach cancers, this phytochemical is also useful in lessening the risks of leukemia. Scientists are of the view that flavonoid has several mechanisms. So far they have been able to identify only a few of them.
There is no doubt that the potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of apigenin are mainly responsible for its anti-carcinogenic effects. As apigenin prevents the detrimental free radicals from damaging the healthy cells and blocks COX-2 effectively, it helps to greatly reduce the chances of developing specific forms of cancer.
At the same time, apigenin also possesses the ability to annul the negative consequences of immune-suppressants and, in this way, it helps to perk up the immune system that eliminates cancer cells. Nevertheless, this particular attribute of apigenin may also result in adverse reactions for people who have had an organ transplant.
The ability of flavonoid (apigenin) to lessen as well as prevent the binding of surplus estrogen to its receptors is said to be the primary reason why this phytochemical is able to lessen the chances of as well as inhibit the metastasis or carcinogenic cells, particularly in the case of prostate and breast cancers.