Ultimate Protector+ includes apple extract, as well as extracts from 12 different fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Each of these ingredients contain substances considered to be polyphenols, antioxidants, and Nrf2 activators. In this article, I explore the ingredient apple (Malus pumila mill.) extract, which is a component of SFB® – Standardized Fruit Blend from Ethical Naturals, Inc.
SFB® is a proprietary formula that combines extracts from Grape, Cranberry, Pomegranate, Blueberry, Apple, Mangosteen, Bilberry, Chokeberry, and Goji Berry. It is high in fruit polyphenols, flavonoids, anthocyanins, catechins, proanthocyanins, ellagic acid, xanthines, chlorogenic acid, pterostilbenes, resveratrol, phloridzin, quercetin, zeaxanthin, and quinic acid. With its diverse blend, SFB® offers over 40-50% polyphenols as well as >9,000 ORAC units in a single gram.
Polyphenols, anthocyanins and other plant elements are powerful ingredients associated with a variety of areas of human health, including healthy aging, healthy glucose metabolism, cardiovascular health, and inflammation management.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF APPLE
The Apple extract in Ultimate Protector+ has been extracted with non-GMO food grade ethanol and distilled water. Testing has indicated the product contains over 40% polyphenols. In numerous epidemiological studies, apples have been associated with a decreased risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and asthma.
When compared to many other commonly consumed fruits in the United States, apples had the second highest level of antioxidant activity. Apples also ranked the second for total concentration of phenolic compounds, and perhaps more importantly, apples had the highest portion of free phenolics when compared to other fruits.
Apples contain a large concentration of flavonoids, as well as a variety of other phytochemicals, and the concentration of these phytochemicals may depend on many factors, such as cultivar of the apple, harvest and storage of the apples, and processing of the apples. The concentration of phytochemicals also varies greatly between the apple peels and the apple flesh.
Some of the most well studied antioxidant compounds in apples include quercetin-3-galactoside, quercetin-3-glucoside, quercetin-3-rhamnoside, catechin, epicatechin, procyanidin, cyanidin-3-galactoside, coumaric acid, chlorogenic acid, gallic acid, and phloridzin. Recently researchers have examined the average concentrations of the major phenolic compounds in six cultivars of apples. They found that the average phenolic concentrations among the six cultivars were: quercetin glycosides, 13.2 mg/100 g fruit; vitamin C, 12.8 mg/100 g fruit; procyanidin B, 9.35 mg/100 g fruit; chlorogenic acid, 9.02 mg/100 g fruit; epicatechin, 8.65 mg/100 g fruit; and phloretin glycosides, 5.59 mg/100 g fruit.
The compounds most commonly found in apple peels consist of the procyanidins, catechin, epicatechin, chlorogenic acid, phloridzin, and the quercetin conjugates. In the apple flesh, there is some catechin, procyanidin, epicatechin, and phloridzin, but these compounds are found in much lower concentrations than in the peels. Quercetin conjugates are found exclusively in the peel of the apples. Chlorogenic acid tends to be higher in the flesh than in the peel.
Because the apple peels contain more antioxidant compounds, especially quercetin, apple peels may have higher antioxidant activity and higher bioactivity than the apple flesh. Research showed that apples without the peels had less antioxidant activity than apples with the peels. Apples with the peels were also better able to inhibit cancer cell proliferation when compared to apples without the peels. More recent work has shown that apple peels contain anywhere from two to six times (depending on the variety) more phenolic compounds than in the flesh, and two to three times more flavonoids in the peels when compared to the flesh. The antioxidant activity of these peels was also much greater, ranging from two to six times greater in the peels when compared to the flesh, depending on the variety of the apple. This work is supported a study which found that rats consuming apple peels showed greater inhibition of lipid peroxidation and greater plasma antioxidant capacity when compared to rats fed apple flesh.
Many of these phytochemicals from apples have been widely studied, and many potential health benefits have been attributed to these specific phytochemicals. The procyanidins, epicatechin and catechin, have strong antioxidant activity and have been found to inhibit low density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation in vitro. In mice, catechin inhibits intestinal tumor formation and delays tumors onset. One study found that chlorogenic acid has very high alkyl peroxyl radical (ROO•) scavenging activity. Compared to about 18 other antioxidant compounds (including quercetin, gallic acid, α-tocopherol), chlorogenic was second only to rutin. Since ROO• may enhance tumor promotion and carcinogenesis, chlorogenic acid may add to the protective effect of apples against cancer. Chlorogenic acid has been found to inhibit 8-dehydroxy-deoxyguanosine formation in cellular DNA in a rat model following treatment with 4-nitroquinoline-1-oxide.
Quercetin is also a strong antioxidant, and is thought to have potential protective effects against both cancer and heart disease. Briefly, quercetin has been found to down regulate expression of mutant p53 in breast cancer cells, arrest human leukemic T-cells in G1, inhibit tyrosine kinase, and inhibit heat shock proteins. Quercetin has protected Caco-2 cells from lipid peroxidation induced by hydrogen peroxide and Fe2+. In mice liver treated with ethanol, quercetin decreased lipid oxidation and increased glutathione, protecting the liver from oxidative damage. Recently, it has been found that high doses of quercetin inhibit cell proliferation in colon carcinoma cell lines and in mammary adenocarcinoma cell lines, but at low doses quercetin increased cell proliferation (20% in colon cancer cells and 100% in breast cancer cells). However, low doses of quercetin (10 uM) inhibited cell proliferation in Mol-4 Human Leukemia cells and also induced apoptosis. Quercetin inhibited intestinal tumor growth in mice, but not in rats. Low levels of quercetin inhibited platelet aggregation, calcium mobilization, and tyrosine protein phosphorylation in platelets. Modulation of platelet activity may help prevent cardiovascular disease.
SCIENTIFIC STUDIES ON THE ANTIOXIDANT EFFECTS OF APPLE
Below, I provide relevant scientific studies on the antioxidant effects and potential health benefits of apple.
Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits
Evidence suggests that a diet high in fruits and vegetables may decrease the risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer, and phytochemicals including phenolics, flavonoids and carotenoids from fruits and vegetables may play a key role in reducing chronic disease risk. Apples are a widely consumed, rich source of phytochemicals, and epidemiological studies have linked the consumption of apples with reduced risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and diabetes. In the laboratory, apples have been found to have very strong antioxidant activity, inhibit cancer cell proliferation, decrease lipid oxidation, and lower cholesterol. Apples contain a variety of phytochemicals, including quercetin, catechin, phloridzin and chlorogenic acid, all of which are strong antioxidants. The phytochemical composition of apples varies greatly between different varieties of apples, and there are also small changes in phytochemicals during the maturation and ripening of the fruit. Storage has little to no effect on apple phytochemicals, but processing can greatly affect apple phytochemicals. While extensive research exists, a literature review of the health benefits of apples and their phytochemicals has not been compiled to summarize this work. The purpose of this paper is to review the most recent literature regarding the health benefits of apples and their phytochemicals, phytochemical bioavailability and antioxidant behavior, and the effects of variety, ripening, storage and processing on apple phytochemicals..
Cancer chemopreventive potential of apples, apple juice, and apple components.
Apples ( MALUS sp., Rosaceae) are a rich source of nutrient as well as non-nutrient components and contain high levels of polyphenols and other phytochemicals. Main structural classes of apple constituents include hydroxycinnamic acids, dihydrochalcones, flavonols (quercetin glycosides), catechins and oligomeric procyanidins, as well as triterpenoids in apple peel and anthocyanins in red apples. Several lines of evidence suggest that apples and apple products possess a wide range of biological activities which may contribute to health beneficial effects against cardiovascular disease, asthma and pulmonary dysfunction, diabetes, obesity, and cancer (reviewed by Boyer and Liu, Nutr J 2004). The present review will summarize the current knowledge on potential cancer preventive effects of apples, apple juice and apple extracts (jointly designated as apple products). In brief, apple extracts and components, especially oligomeric procyanidins, have been shown to influence multiple mechanisms relevant for cancer prevention in IN VITRO studies. These include antimutagenic activity, modulation of carcinogen metabolism, antioxidant activity, anti-inflammatory mechanisms, modulation of signal transduction pathways, antiproliferative and apoptosis-inducing activity, as well as novel mechanisms on epigenetic events and innate immunity. Apple products have been shown to prevent skin, mammary and colon carcinogenesis in animal models. Epidemiological observations indicate that regular consumption of one or more apples a day may reduce the risk for lung and colon cancer.
Apple Peel Polyphenols and Their Beneficial Actions on Oxidative Stress and Inflammation
Since gastrointestinal mucosa is constantly exposed to reactive oxygen species from various sources, the presence of antioxidants may contribute to the body’s natural defenses against inflammatory diseases.
To define the polyphenols extracted from dried apple peels (DAPP) and determine their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential in the intestine. Caco-2/15 cells were used to study the role of DAPP preventive actions against oxidative stress (OxS) and inflammation induced by iron-ascorbate (Fe/Asc) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS), respectively.
The combination of HPLC with fluorescence detection, HPLC-ESI-MS TOF and UPLC-ESI-MS/MS QQQ allowed us to characterize the phenolic compounds present in the DAPP (phenolic acids, flavonol glycosides, flavan-3-ols, procyanidins). The addition of Fe/Asc to Caco-2/15 cells induced OxS as demonstrated by the rise in malondialdehyde, depletion of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, and alterations in the activity of endogenous antioxidants (SOD, GPx, G-Red). However, preincubation with DAPP prevented Fe/Asc-mediated lipid peroxidation and counteracted LPS-mediated inflammation as evidenced by the down-regulation of cytokines (TNF-α and IL-6), and prostaglandin E2. The mechanisms of action triggered by DAPP induced also a down-regulation of cyclooxygenase-2 and nuclear factor-κB, respectively. These actions were accompanied by the induction of Nrf2 (orchestrating cellular antioxidant defenses and maintaining redox homeostasis), and PGC-1α (the “master controller” of mitochondrial biogenesis).
Our findings provide evidence of the capacity of DAPP to reduce OxS and inflammation, two pivotal processes involved in inflammatory bowel diseases.
Apple is an important fruit full of polyphenols, anthocyanins, antioxidants, and Nrf2 activators that help to make Ultimate Protector+ such an outstanding nutritional supplement.