Posted on 11 June 2020
Apigenin is a compound found in a wide variety of herbs (particularly in chamomile) as well as some fruits and vegetables. It is a flavonoid – a class of plant metabolite that multiple systematic reviews and meta-analyses have shown to have a variety of health benefits, including a reduction in all-cause mortality.
There is evidence that anxiety can accelerate the ageing process, particularly in the brain, and is associated with reduced cognitive function and increased risk of neurodegenerative disease. Apigenin can reduce anxiety in sufficient doses, and thus may have neuroprotective and cognition-enhancing benefits.
At lower doses, apigenin can suppress inflammation, which is a major hallmark of ageing. It also has potential as a potent anticancer supplement.
Unfortunately, there have not been many animal studies of apigenin, and human trials are even rarer. This may be because the compound is made difficult to deliver by its low solubility in water (although this can be improved with delivery methods such as nanoencapsulation). One clinical trial suggests that a formulation containing apigenin was successful in improving cognitive performance in neurodegenerative disease. Another randomised-controlled trial linked apigenin to reduced pain in knee osteoarthritis.
In immune cells called macrophages, apigenin can suppress the production of prostaglandins and nitric oxide, molecules associated with inflammation and cancer. Apigenin can also reduce inflammation via a number of other mechanisms, including reducing the production of inflammatory mediators and preventing the migration of inflammatory cells into tissues.
In experiments using human cells, apigenin has been found to have a variety of anti-cancer effects. Foremost amongst these is it’s ability to induce selective apoptosis (cell suicide) of cancer cells, without harming other cells. Apigenin also seems to protect against carcinogens, including exogenous toxins and ultraviolet light.
One study also found apigenin lowered blood glucose in diabetic rats.
Even though there is a relatively large and convincing amount of evidence to support the health benefits of apigenin, there is unfortunately a scarcity of human trials to support supplementation. On the other hand, none of the human trials that have taken place report any adverse effects. Supplementation with apigenin is therefore unlikely to be detrimental, and has a reasonable chance of being beneficial.
The Therapeutic Potential of Apigenin: doi: 10.3390/ijms20061305
Are Anxiety Disorders Associated with Accelerated Aging? A Focus on Neuroprogression: doi: 10.1155/2016/8457612
Dietary Total Flavonoids Intake and Risk of Mortality From All Causes and Cardiovascular Disease in the General Population: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Cohort Studies: DOI: 10.1002/mnfr.201601003
Quercetin, Kaempferol and Biapigenin From Hypericum Perforatum Are Neuroprotective Against Excitotoxic Insults: DOI: 10.1007/BF03033510
Preparation and in Vitro Evaluation of Apigenin Loaded Lipid Nanocapsules: DOI: 10.1166/jnn.2013.7763
Antihyperglycemic Effect of Cephalotaxus Sinensis Leaves and GLUT-4 Translocation Facilitating Activity of Its Flavonoid Constituents: DOI: 10.1248/bpb.30.1123
Suppression of Inducible Cyclooxygenase and Inducible Nitric Oxide Synthase by Apigenin and Related Flavonoids in Mouse Macrophages: DOI: 10.1093/carcin/20.10.1945
Preliminary Examination of the Efficacy and Safety of a Standardized Chamomile Extract for Chronic Primary Insomnia: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study: DOI: 10.1186/1472-6882-11-78
Efficacy and safety of topical Matricaria chamomilla L. (chamomile) oil for knee osteoarthritis: A randomized controlled clinical trial: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctcp.2015.06.003
Selective growth-inhibitory, cell-cycle deregulatory and apoptotic response of apigenin in normal versus human prostate carcinoma cells: doi: 10.1006/bbrc.2001.5672
Inhibition of ultraviolet light induced skin carcinogenesis in SKH-1 mice by apigenin, a plant flavonoid: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9066634/
Inhibitory effect of apigenin on benzo(a)pyrene-mediated genotoxicity in Swiss albino mice: DOI: 10.1211/jpp.58.12.0013
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