Knowledge Update

The Therapeutic Roles of Ferullic Acid

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An organic acid, Ferullic acid, are available in some grains, seeds, legumes, fruits, and vegetables e, g., Apple seeds, Barley, Bran, Citrus fruits, Corn, Eggplant, Flaxseed bread, Navy beans, Oatmeal, Popcorn, Rice, Rice bran oil, and Rye bread etc. Availability of Ferullic acid can be increased by cooking as it will break the cellular compartments where it is stored. Ferulic acid is found in high concentrations in various herbal products including in traditional Chinese medicine, e.g., dong quai (Angelica sinesis), sheng ma (Cimicifuga heracleifolia), and chuan xiong (Ligusticum chuangxiong). It has been shown to have many physiological functions e.g., antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial activity, anticancer, and antidiabetic effect (1).

It is a very strong antioxidant. It executes its antioxidant function by triple mode: direct scavenging of free radicals, inhibiting enzymes responsible for free radical generation and enhancing the activity of scavenger enzymes. It is best known for its skin-protective properties and widely used in cosmetic industry. It is most often applied topically as anti-aging skin cream reversing the signs of aging, including growth of fine lines and wrinkles and damage from sunlight exposure. It is believed to neutralize free radicals of aged and damaged cells. The experimental study which indicated the role of Ferullic acid in protecting chronically ultra violet damaged skin against skin tumor development in mice, never included a control of treating mice with only Ferullic acid (2). Instead the study was conducted with Ferullic acid in combination with Vitamin E and C. Therefore, the result of the study remains doubtful today in grounding its role individually in healing skin lesion. Hence more studies with solid evidences are required.

Besides the widely acceptance of role of Ferullic acid in skin protection, it is believed to enhance athletic performance and to prevent or treat certain health conditions e.g., Alzheimer's disease, Atherosclerosis, Cancer, Hypertension, Diabetes, Menopause and Osteoporosis. Unfortunately, the experimental studies of supporting its role in preventing or healing of each of this disease is pretty weak even today (3). 

References:

1) Zduńska K., Dana A., Kolodziejczak A., Rotsztejn H. (2018) Antioxidant Properties of Ferulic Acid and Its Possible Application. Skin Pharmacol Physiol., 31:332-336.

2) Burns E. M., Tober K. L.,Riggenbach J. A., Kusewitt D. F., Young G. S. , Oberyszyn T. M. (2013) Differential effects of topical vitamin E and C E Ferulic® treatments on ultraviolet light B-induced cutaneous tumor development in Skh-1 mice. PLoS One., 14; e63809.

3) https://www.verywellhealth.com/the-benefits-of-ferulic-acid-89607#citation-2

 

Dr. Susanta Pahari is a Professor in The Department of Biochemistry, Skyline University, Nigeria. He has a PhD in Biochemistry, MSc in Biochemistry from University of Calcutta, India.
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