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Apigenin: From Your Garden to Your Cells

Have you ever wondered what the secret ingredient in chamomile tea is that calms you down? It's called Apigenin, a powerful antioxidant found not just in chamomile, but also in everyday parsley! But apigenin's benefits go beyond relaxation. Apigenin supplementation could help "turn off" a gene that burns through our body's most vital resource for longevity, NAD+. Could the key to longevity and a host of health benefits be growing in your garden?

Herb garden of chamomile and parsley

 

WHAT IS APIGENIN?

Apigenin is found in many edible and medicinal plants. It is a naturally occurring phytochemical called a bioactive flavonoid. Apigenin is also a glycoside (molecules connected to sugar molecules). Flavonoids occur in almost all plant tissues, where they play different functions such as a defence mechanism to protect the plant against UV-B; ward off microbial infection; regulate the plant’s metabolism; serve as visual attractors for pollinators and play a role in herbivory (they feed animals that gain their nutrients from plants).

High sources of apigenin as mentioned earlier are chamomile and parsley. It is also present in celery, green chilli peppers, red onions, kumquats, artichokes, rutabagas, sorghum and an array of herbs and spices including marjoram, thyme, peppermint and oregano. Additionally, apigenin can be found in beverages such as red wine and beer.

Apigenin is also available in supplement form, providing significantly higher nutrient doses than those typically obtained through natural dietary sources.

HOW DOES APIGENIN WORK?

Recently, interest in apigenin as a beneficial and health-promoting agent has grown. Flavonoids have a wide effect on vitro and in vivo studies which means scientists observed these effects in isolated cells or tissues in lab experiments and living creatures. There are few human clinical trials specific to the effects of apigenin as a single compound, partly due to its instability when isolated (it breaks down easily). Nevertheless, preclinical studies suggest that apigenin may be helpful for multiple health problems.

In animal studies, apigenin seems to prevent genetic mutations in cells exposed to toxins and bacteria. It acts as an antioxidant which fights harmful free radicals in the body; detoxifies enzymes like glutathione and may reduce inflammation, affecting mental health, brain function, and the immune system. However, some large studies haven’t confirmed this for metabolic conditions. Let us take a deeper look into the main health benefits of Apigenin.

THE ANTI-AGEING EFFECTS OF APIGENIN

Let’s take a brief look at NAD+ to get a better understanding of the role Apigenin plays in longevity. NAD is a coenzyme and stands for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. It is also part of the family of small molecules that contain vitamin B3 or niacin (nicotinic acid, nicotinamide, or NAM). NAD+ is a molecule that is essential to our very existence.CD38 breaks down vast amounts of NAD+ to create a molecule called ADP ribose. One ADP ribose molecule requires around 100 molecules of NAD+. 

NAD+ levels decrease as we age. Why? Because NAD+ consumption outpaces production and salvage, or recycling. It’s unsurprising, as NAD+ plays a role in numerous pathways and is constantly being created, broken down, or metabolised.
For example, it’s used in cellular respiration where mitochondria of all our cells convert air and food into energy.

Research suggests that the decline in NAD+ levels contributes to the ageing process by impairing mitochondrial function and compromising cellular repair. Various scientific studies of organisms indicate boosting NAD+ levels can extend lifespan.

To get a far more in-depth look at NAD+ you can visit 
What is NAD+ and How Does It Slow Ageing?

What's Stealing Your NAD+? Unveiling the Role of CD38

You may be aware of taking NAD precursors or booster supplements called NMN or NR to help restore those lost NAD+ levels during ageing. But what if we could help to prevent some of that loss of NAD+?  We need to investigate what consumes the most NAD+ — the molecule using the most NAD+ as we age is CD38.

CD38 is an
enzyme associated with our immune system and secreted by senescent cells as a “senescent-associated secretory phenotype,” or SASP. CD38 breaks down vast amounts of NAD+ to create a molecule called ADP ribose. One ADP ribose molecule requires around 100 molecules ofNAD+. As we age, senescent cells accumulate, meaning more SASP and CD38 enzymes utilising more NAD+.

Graph shows increase in CD38 and a decrease in NAD as we age.

Can Apigenin Be the Natural NAD+ Booster We've Been Looking For?

As our bodies age, more enzymes use NAD+ and our NAD+ levels decrease. As a result, our longevity genes, called Sirtuins, receive what little NAD+ is left. It's important not to block CD38 completely, but rather to inhibit it and prevent CD38 levels from rising as you age, to reduce the use of NAD+.

Studies have discovered that the polyphenol apigeninand quercetin function as CD38 inhibitors. The study concluded that it shows a clear increase in cellular NAD+ levels and the pharmacological inhibition of CD38.

Apigenin supplementation thus could serve as a potential natural NAD+ booster and could lead to strategies for promoting health and combating age-related decline. Start supplementing today with Youth& Earth's NAD Max supplement which contains adequate apigenin to ensure you retain healthy NAD+ levels as you age.

 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF TAKING APIGENIN? 

Lady sleeping in a field of flowers.


1. Improved Sleep and Reduced Anxiety

The dried flowers of the Chamomile plant have been drunk as a tea to promote relaxation and improve sleep. One of its key components is apigenin, an antioxidant that interacts with GABA receptors in the brain. This interaction may contribute to its mild sedative effect, encouraging feelings of drowsiness. This traditional cure for sleep disorders has sedative effects generally milder than pharmaceutical sleep aids, making it unlikely to cause significant daytime drowsiness.

This flavone is known for its relaxing and soothing effects. Apigenin can cross the blood-brain barrier, to act on your central nervous system where it has been shown to reduce cortisol levels, which helps prevent the body from responding to chronic stress. This explains why chamomile tea can benefit anxiety and help aid relaxation and sleep. Studies conducted include:

  • Some studies suggest that chamomile supplements may be helpful for generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). Participants were noted to have lower scores on anxiety scales than those who took a placebo (Wang, 2019)
  • Smaller studies where postpartum women drank chamomile tea for two weeks reported better sleep quality than those who did not drink chamomile tea. They also exhibited fewer symptoms of depression, which is often associated with sleeping problems.
  • study found that people who consumed 270 mg of chamomile extract twice daily for 28 days had 1/3 less nighttime awakening and fell asleep 15 minutes faster than those who did not.
  • A promising study examined apigenin as a constituent of chamomile (Matricaria recutita) for anxiety. When participants with co-diagnoses of anxiety and depression were given 200–1,000 mg of chamomile extract per day for 8 weeks (standardized to 1.2% apigenin), researchers observed improvements in self-reported anxiety and depression scales.
  • Apigenin also has been shown to improve depression. Treatment with the flavone was able to elevate the immobility time of subjects that were induced by chronic corticosterone treatment.

2. Natural Antioxidant Powerhouse for Skin Health

Our skin is the largest organ in the human body. It is composed of the epidermis and the dermis. It protects against external threats and is prone to disorders like cancer, dermatitis, psoriasis, wounds, skin ageing, acne, and skin infections.

According to a growing body of evidence, several studies have reported that natural products can potentially treat skin disorders. Apigenin is renowned for its antioxidant effects. Apigenin specifically helps reduce oxidative stress in the body by scavenging free radicals. Its anti-inflammatory properties effectively promote healthy ageing and support skin health. Interestingly, topical apigenin is used to combat acne and enhance skin cell growth.

3. Antibacterial and Antiviral Effects

Studies on Apigenin suggest that the phytonutrient could enhance antibiotics and may inhibit multiple virus strands such as herpes; hepatitis C; influenza; hand, foot and mouth disease; and African swine fever. Apigenin has also been shown to have a “reverse antibiotic” activity against some bacteria, which means that it may be active against antibiotic-resistant bacteria and help reverse bacterial resistance. Scientists believe it may hold promise as a new antibiotic or dietary supplementation.

4. Reduced Inflammation and Pain

Apigenin has anti-inflammatory effects that can provide pain relief and ease discomfort. Cytokines are small proteins that are crucial to immune responses and inflammation. By reducing the release of cytokines, apigenin may effectively manage conditions associated with excessive inflammation. This could help with pain due to digestive problems, infections, immune responses and migraines.

Apigenin for migraine relief

Migraine sufferers may be familiar with debilitating symptoms, such as nausea, dizziness, vomiting, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, and odour sensitivity.
In a clinical trial on 72 people suffering from migraine without aura, a chamomile oil gel with 0.233 mg/g apigenin reduced pain and other migraine symptoms (nausea, and discomfort caused by light and sounds). However, the best way to avoid migraines is to identify or avoid what triggers them such as:
  • Stress, anxiety and sleep disturbances by reducing cortisol levels and keeping the levels balanced to promote a feeling of calmness.
  • Hormones such as cortisol, testosterone, oestrogen levels and insulin have been shown to increase or reduce with the admission of apigenin supplementation.

Apigenin for IBD relief

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a common gastrointestinal condition with unknown causes. Current drug treatments can have serious side effects and although corticosteroids are the most effective anti-inflammatory agents, their side effect limits their use. Complementary treatments like probiotics and herbal medicines have become popular options for many.

A scientific study on subjects with IBS showed the promise of apigenin. After five days of treatment, the effects of apigenin were comparable to steroids and their effect on inflammation and damage of the intestinal tract.

5. Apigenin’s Role in Cancer Management

As discussed, earlier Apigenin fights oxidative stress and inflammation — two major factors that play a role in cancer development. Several vitro and in vivo studies have shown that apigenin can slow down the growth of cancer cells in the breast, lung, colon, and prostate.

Research suggests apigenin works through multiple mechanisms as an anticancer agent:

– Inducing cell cycle arrest: Apigenin may halt cancer cell division at certain stages, hindering their growth. This was seen in an animal study of nonmelanoma skin cancer, apigenin inhibited the production of inflammatory signalling molecules known to promote tumour proliferation.
– Triggering apoptosis (programmed cell death): It may initiate processes that lead to cancer cell death. In a cell study of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (a common malignancy in older adults), apigenin prevented the DNA mutations tied to cancer, promoting apoptosis that cancer cells otherwise evade.
– Suppressing metastasis:Apigenin might inhibit the spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body.
– Enhancing chemotherapy: Studies show promise in combining apigenin with conventional chemotherapeutic drugs, potentially improving their effectiveness.

6. Heart Health Promotion with Apigenin

We have previously learned about the role of Apigenin in reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, which are harmful to the heart and blood vessels. Apigenin has been shown to help cardiovascular health by preserving the vascular (blood vessels) lining in the aorta and directly lowering blood pressure by inhibiting theactivity of the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), thus relaxing the blood vessels so that they don’t constrict.

Research suggests that consuming flavonoids and a diet rich in apigenin can reduce the chances of hypertension, leading to a decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, extracts rich in apigenin can improve how blood vessels function by treating endothelial dysfunction.

Studies include animal models showing apigenin’s cardioprotective effects on subjects with heart damage and against heart attack by reducing oedema, cell death and oxidative stress.

7. Brain Health Supported with Apigenin

Several natural bioactive compounds have been found to improve learning and memory. Multiple clinical trials have demonstrated the therapeutic potential of apigenin as a neuroprotective agent.

Apigenin is a promising candidate for treating and preventing different neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as its ability to reduce oxidative stress and improve cognitive function.

Research published in Neural Regeneration Research shows apigenin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that enhance cognition. In a scientific study of Alzheimer’s disease, it was able to improve memory and learning deficits, and in humans, it suppressed inflammatory mediators.

8. Hormones Balanced with Apigenin

Can Apigenin Regulate Cortisol Levels?

Cortisol is a vital glucocorticoid hormone that is a key mediator of the body's stress response and sleep-wake cycle. While essential for maintaining health, chronically elevated cortisol levels can have detrimental consequences. We have discussed how Apigenin might help by reducing the stress hormone and relieving anxiety and sleep disturbances. 

When human adrenocortical cells (in vitro) were exposed to a range of 12.5–100 μM flavonoid mixtures that included apigenin as a component, cortisol production decreased by up to 47.3% compared to control cells.

Can Apigenin Balance Blood Glucose Levels?

Insulin is a hormone that helps the body use glucose for energy and balance your blood glucose levels. When you have too much glucose in your bloodstream, insulin tells your body to store it in your liver.

The α-glucosidase enzyme converts complex carbohydrates from food into simple glucose units, leading to an increase in blood sugar levels. Apigenin may inhibit this enzyme, delaying carbohydrate digestion and preventing elevated blood sugar levels.

Studies suggest that apigenin can be helpful for people with diabetes by improving insulin resistance. A study reported that the flavone improved impaired glucose tolerance and significantly reduced insulin resistance.

Can Apigenin Boost Testosterone Levels?

Testosterone is crucial for building muscle mass and plays a role in fat loss, libido, and energy levels. This important hormone naturally decreases with age, mainly due to lifestyle factors.

A diagram depicting Testosterone levels in males decreasing with age.

Research indicated that apigenin significantly increased testosterone production in Leydig cells (which produce testosterone in the testes). Thus, apigenin may directly stimulate testosterone synthesis within the cells. However, further research is needed to confirm these findings in human subjects.

Because of its potential impact on hormone levels, apigenin has become more popular for bodybuilding efforts. Apigenin supplements are used to increase testosterone and potentially block oestrogen production.

Can Apigenin Manage Oestrogen Levels?

Apigenin might have a dual effect on oestrogen. It could act as an aromatase inhibitor, blocking the conversion of testosterone to oestrogen. Furthermore, it might also act as an oestrogen receptor agonist, potentially influencing how cells respond to oestrogen.

Apigenin's ability to treat hormone-receptor-positivebreast cancer patients demonstrates its potential to modulate hormone signalling pathways, including oestrogen receptors and aromatase enzyme activity. This dual action not only addresses breast cancer pathology but also suggests its capacity to influence hormonal balance, including the regulation of testosterone levels.

9. Exploring the Role of Apigenin in Bone Health

Consider incorporating foods rich in apigenin or supplements when looking for natural ways to support bone healing and health. In a present study apigenin, curcumin, and resveratrol were investigated. Results indicated a significant increase in bone repair in critical-size defects in an animal model. Among these, apigenin produced the best outcomes. In apresent study apigenin, curcumin, and resveratrol were investigated. Results indicated a significant increase in bone repair in critical-size defects in an animal model. Among these, apigenin produced the best outcomes.

Chronic inflammation contributes to various long-term health conditions, including osteoporosis.As discussed, Apigenin’s ability to target and reduce inflammation makes it a promising natural compound for maintaining healthy bone density

Research suggests that apigenin increases bone mineralisation by affecting osteoblasts, responsible for forming bone. Apigenin was noted to promote the growth and activity of osteoblasts, which are crucial for maintaining and improving bone density.
 

DOSAGE AND CONSIDERATIONS FOR APIGENIN SUPPLEMENTATION

Does apigenin have side effects?

There is limited evidence to suggest that apigenin causes adverse effects when consumed as part of a normal diet. No toxicity has been reported due to standard dietary apigenin intake. There's no official recommended daily intake for apigenin, which can vary depending on the reason for taking it and individual health factors. However, when doses exceed typical intake significantly (30–100 mg/kg of body weight), sedation has been reported as a side effect. For new users, it's advisable to start with a lower dose and gradually increase, if necessary, while observing how the body responds. Most supplements offer between 50 and 500 mg per day.

Remember, some medications can have potentially dangerous interactions with apigenin. Always be cautious and consult with your healthcare provider. For instance, if you are taking cyclosporine, warfarin, or specific types of chemotherapy drugs, and for women who are on hormone replacement therapy with a progestin component.

Should apigenin be taken at night or day?

When apigenin is used to improve sleep and relaxation it is best to take it around 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime to allow the body to metabolise the compound and utilise its’ calming and sleep-inducing effects. Taking apigenin regularly at the same time each evening can help establish a better sleep routine.

When incorporating apigenin into your sleep routine, it's important to consider the quality of supplements, appropriate dosages, and the best timing for intake.

 

Understanding Apigenin’s solubility and stability

Apigenin has storage and bioavailability issues. It should be stored below -20°C or -5°F due to its instability at room temperature. Additionally, it has low solubility in water and low bioavailability. As it turns out our gastrointestinal tract (gut) breaks down the larger apigenin molecules into smaller molecules called glycoside conjugates. This is a big factor in the digestion and absorption of apigenin. To enhance the therapeutic effects of apigenin, improving its bioavailability and chemical stability through the delivery system is crucial. This can be achieved by using liposomes, hydrogels, nanostructured lipid carriers, microemulsions, nanoemulsions, and emulsions.

 

IN CONCLUSION

Apigeninis a fascinating phytonutrient that can be used as a supplement and may provide various cellular and mental health benefits. These benefits include naturally boosting NAD+ levels for healthy ageing, promoting sleep, reducing anxiety and balancing hormones. Studies have shown that apigenin supplementation possesses antibacterial, antiviral, and anticancer activities. While further research is necessary to understand its potential fully, apigenin gives us a glimpse into the power hidden within seemingly ordinary plants that flourish in our garden.




The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It’s not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or health provider before starting a new health regimen or programme. Do not ignore medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you’ve read on this site or any Youth & Earth product.



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