Ellagic acid: Cancer-fighting food ingredient

Ellagic acid: Cancer-fighting food ingredient

Worldwide, cancer is a major cause of death. In recent years, numerous plant-derived compounds have gained attention as alternative cancer remedies for improving the prevention and treatment of cancer. Ellagic acid is one such natural compound.

Lets discuss the following in depth:

Let us explore how ellagic acid can be beneficial for cancer management.

What is ellagic acid?

It is a natural polyphenolic micronutrient widely found in several vegetables and fruits. It was discovered by chemist Henri Braconnot in 1831. Some foods contain ellagitannin (a complex acid that is converted into ellagic acid in the body).

Sources of ellagic acid

A healthy lifestyle and nutrition may protect healthy people from the risk of cancer and exerts a positive impact on cancer treatment. So how can you boost your intake of ellagic acid? Here’s a guide to some of the foods that are highly rich in ellagic acid.

  • Strawberries: In the strawberries, ellagic acid accounts for 50% of all the phenolic acids. Thus, blending whole strawberries will elevate ellagic acid quantities since this polyphenol is also present in the stem and leaves
  • Pomegranates: They are a rich reservoir of ellagic acid. Pomegranate extracts have been demonstrated to slow lung, breast, and colon cancers. Some research illustrates that pomegranate juice also retards prostate tumour growth. Integrating pomegranates to your diet plan in any form (whole fruit, juice, seed oil, or extract) will be a valuable addition.
  • Blackberries: They contain a comparable amount of ellagic acid as raspberries. Additionally, they also contain another crucial polyphenol, anthocyanin, which carries its antitumor properties.
  • Walnuts: Walnuts also contain a high amount of ellagic acid. Furthermore, they also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can be an important cancer impediment.
  • Raspberries: When weighed dry, raspberries have been found to comprise thrice as much ellagic acid as walnut and twice as much ellagic acid as strawberries. At Ohio State University, a recent study depicted that black raspberries are more effective at inhibiting the growth of the cervical tumour.

Benefits of ellagic acid

Ellagic acid, known for its antioxidant properties, is linked to numerous health and medical benefits. It removes toxins from your body and can safeguard you from against harmful molecules such as free radicals. It helps to fight oxidative stress in your body. It is endowed with anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic, and anti-carcinogenic properties. Plants also produce this antioxidant as a defence mechanism against pests and infection.

How much ellagic acid do you need?

There is no set protocol for the consumption of ellagic acid since this micronutrient is not a stand-alone therapy. In comparison to ingesting supplements, consuming ellagic acid naturally from the natural food source is probably more advantageous.

So, you should look for opportunities to mix the ellagic acid-rich foods into your dietary plan. Ellagic acid carries no potential side effects. However, if you are taking Cytochrome P450, you should not take ellagic acid, as it may aggravate the drug’s side effects.

Ellagic acid: A potential anti-cancer drug

In addition to its potent antioxidant benefits, this micronutrient has been widely researched for its ability to fight with cancer. In South Korea, scientists found that ellagic acid slows the growth of cancer cells. Within the body, it can start apoptosis of cancer cells even in smaller doses. For pancreatic cancer, ellagic acid has been most extensively studied. Another recent study showed that ellagic acid could be a promising chemotherapeutic agent for inhibiting tumour growth in lung cancer. In endometrial cancer and bladder cancer, ellagic acid exerts anti-cancer effects.

Ellagic acid has shown an anti-cancer effect in various in-vitro and in-vivo tumour models against colorectal cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, bladder cancer, hepatic cancer, ovarian cancer, oral cancers, brain cancer, bone cancer. Furthermore, novel studies are underway for exploring the potential health benefits of ellagic acid consumption for other cancer types.

How does ellagic acid fight cancer?

Ellagic acid helps to fight cancer by exerting cytotoxic effects on tumour cells. Its anti-cancer effect is mostly related to its direct apoptotic and anti-proliferative effects. It can inhibit migration, angiogenesis, and extracellular matrix invasion of cancer cells.

This compound not only displays a radioprotective effect on normal cells but also a radiosensitization effect on tumour cells. It illustrates very negligible toxicity to normal living cells.

This potent polyphenol modulates growth of cancer cells through regulation of multiple cell signalling pathways such as:

  • Cell survival/apoptosis pathway
  • Cell proliferation pathway
  • Tumour suppressor pathway
  • Inflaming metastasis pathways
  • Angiogenesis pathways
  • Cell immortalization pathway


Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may lower the risk of common forms of cancer. When developing your dietary plan, it is crucial to understand which micronutrients deliver the most anti-cancer properties. Ellagic acid is indeed a cancer-fighting wonder compound.

Globally, the anti-cancer properties of ellagic acid have drawn growing attention, in light of their beneficial effects on human health. Due to its radioprotective, radiosensitizing, and anti-carcinogenic effects, it holds enormous potential in the clinical management of cancer. Thus, ellagic acid may play a central role in your food regimen to fight with cancer.

Keep these things in mind and make ellagic acid-rich foods a part of your daily diet.

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