Ferulic Acid

Ferulic acid (also known as FA) is an omnipresent phenolic compound that commonly occurs in plant tissues, especially in the form of a constituent of the plant's main cell walls. This phenolic compound is a potent antioxidant that is present in abundance as a bioactive element of several foods that may be helpful in combating several health conditions including diabetes, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

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Many believe that ferulic acid may turn out to be the next major thing in the beauty industry. This substance is hauled out from rice bran oil and it is among the most potent naturally occurring antioxidants. Several plants enclose ferulic acid. It is present in the leaves as well as the seeds of majority of the plants. Grains like rice, wheat and oats contain high concentrations of this substance. In addition, ferulic acid may also be present in the cell walls of a number of vegetables and fruits like spinach, parsley and grapes. Ferulic acid possesses a self-preservation system that aids in maintaining a strong as well as enduring cell wall.

Ferulic acid is a naturally occurring potent antioxidant present in the cell walls of several plants. In fact, ferulic acid is a phytochemical (chemical compounds that occur in plants only), which has various chemical compositions and is found in an assortment of plants. In scientific terms, ferulic acid is known as 4-hydroxy-3-methoxycinnamic acid. The molecular formula of this phytochemical is C10H10O4. Inside the plant, an enzyme known as o-methyl transferase synthesizes this phytochemical. In fact, this enzyme makes use of caffeic acid to make ferulic acid. Caffeic acid is also a phytochemical, but has no relation whatsoever with caffeine.

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The structure of ferulic acid is founded on a benzene ring and, similar to several other phytochemicals, it works in the form of an antioxidant by taking up free radicals from the neighbouring environment. Hence, in the form of an antioxidant, ferulic acid may also serve as an anti-carcinogenic agent. Often ferulic acid is employed in the form of an ingredient in a variety of supplements, which claim to inhibit the aging process. At times, these types of supplements are sold as ferulic acid serum. Aside from its antioxidant properties, ferulic acid is said to offer several other health benefits, including protection against bone degeneration, lowering the levels of "bad" or LDL cholesterol in the blood stream, providing relief from symptoms of "hot flashing" in menopausal women, and maintaining a stable level of glucose in the blood stream of diabetics.

It has been found that ferulic acid is effective in combating the damaging effects of a variety of free radicals, which are mainly responsible for premature aging. We are aware that free radicals obliterate collagen, which is responsible for maintaining the elasticity of the skin and keeping it tight. In addition, free radicals also lessen the amount of elastin present in the skin significantly. Elastin is a protein that lets the skin to get back to its original position after being stretched, thereby preventing sagging. This substance penetrates to the deepest skin layer and works to counteract the damaging free radicals, thereby helping to put off any damage caused by ultra-violet radiation and other environmental issues. At the same time, ferulic acid also repairs the damages already done by the free radicals and environmental factors. Often, ferulic acid is mixed with vitamin C and vitamin E to make it more effective and deliver the desired results.

Ferulic acid, in its indigenous form inside the plant cell walls, works together with a different phytochemical known as dihydroferulic acid. Together, these phytochemicals form a component of a chemical compound that is known as lingo-cellulose, which is a vital structural substance present in the plant cells that is responsible for the power of the cells walls. Ferulic acid is more commonly found in the leaves and seeds of cereal plants, such as rice, wheat, oats and maize. In addition, this phytochemical is also found in the cell walls of fruits like apples, pineapples and oranges.

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The solubility of ferulic acid largely depends on an alkaline environment. This chemical can be hauled out from a variety of plants using a potent alkaline solution. Ferulic acid esterase is basically an enzyme which can be reaped from specific bacteria and fungi. At times this enzyme is also used for facilitating extraction process. After its extraction and purification, ferulic acid takes the structure of a yellow hued powder.

Apart from its use in the field of health as well as alternative medicine, ferulic acid is also used in making a synthetic variety of vanilla flavoring. Occasionally, scientists use ferulic acid while examining the structure of specific protein molecules through mass spectrometry. A solution prepared with ferulic acid can also be used for suspension of protein molecules and subsequently their structure can be analyzed making use of laser technology.

Health benefits

Provided ferulic acid is consumed in proper doses as dietary supplements, it is effective for treating various serious health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), elevated cholesterol levels in the blood stream, osteoporosis and symptoms associated with menstruation. Ferulic acid is also helpful in inhibiting the aging process, treating cancer and even preventing Alzheimer's disease.

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Ferulic acid can be applied directly on areas affected by derma to cure damages caused by the sun. In addition, it can also be used for treating symptoms related to aging, for instance wrinkles and fine lines. An usual antioxidant combination of ferulic acid with vitamin C and phloretin is effective for protecting the skin against the harmful effects of coming in contact with the ultra-violet (UV) rays of the sun. Findings of a number of studies have established that an ideal mixture of ferulic acid, vitamin C and vitamin E may also help to combat damages induced by sunlight to human skin by lessening the oxidative stress.

It has been proven that ferulic acid possesses the ability to influence your anti-aging treatment in a significant way. It is believed that ferulic acid is a super antioxidant, which possesses the aptitude to shield the human skin from the damages caused by free radicals. In fact, most of the premature aging is caused by the free radicals produced in our body. Applying ferulic acid topically - directly to your skin, helps to reverse the aging signs like wrinkles and fine lines. Combining ferulic acid with vitamin C and vitamin E is more effective for the health of the skin. This blend encourages production of collagen, which helps to make the skin appear youthful, while retaining its elasticity. At the same time, applying this combination topically onto your skin will also help to do away with wrinkles, fine lines and pigmentation.

It is believed that ferulic acid is a strong whitening agent. Using products containing ferulic acid for a prolonged period may help in enhancing the texture and tone of the skin, thereby making the skin healthy and glowing. Ferulic acid also works on spots, irregular skin tone, and freckles, thereby helping you to have a smooth skin tone.

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As discussed above, ferulic acid is also helpful in protecting us from the harmful effects of the sun's ultra-violet (UV) rays, which are damaging for the cell membranes. Precisely speaking, ferulic acid also aids in reversing some of the harms already caused to the skin by the UV rays of the sun. Moreover, it is also helpful in safeguarding the skin from sunburn and redness caused by the ultra-violet rays.

Side effects and cautions

Generally, ferulic acid is believed to be safe for most people. However, people susceptible to or suffering from sensitive skin need to be cautious when using this substance. Moreover, before using ferulic acid, one should essentially ensure that they do not have allergic reactions to any type of grains, including wheat, corn and barely. At the same time, prior to including serums or creams containing ferulic acid in one's skin care schedule, he/ she ought to undergo a patch test with a view to ensure that they do not have any allergic reaction to this substance.

Here is a word of advice: always check with your physician before you start using products containing ferulic acid to treat any condition you might be enduring.

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