Pectin is a soluble fiber obtained from apples or citrus fruits. Pectin is an excellent and inexpensive detoxifier. At the same time, pectin lowers the cholesterol level and even binds radioactive substances.
Pectin and its effects on your health
Pectin can improve your health in several ways: the dietary fiber, which is usually obtained from apples or the peel of citrus fruits and can be taken in the form of powder or capsules,
- lowers blood fat and cholesterol levels,
- has a positive effect on blood pressure,
- detoxifies e.g. B. lead,
- reduces radioactive exposure,
- helps to lose weight,
- regulates digestion (also in pathological diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome),
- has a prebiotic effect, i.e. has a positive effect on the intestinal flora and
- has anti-cancer properties.
Pectin is a gut-friendly prebiotic
Pectin belongs to the polysaccharides, i.e. the multiple sugars. Nevertheless, pectin is not sugar in the traditional sense, since the substance is not digested like sugar, but ends up in the large intestine undigested. So it’s a dietary fiber – and a very special type of dietary fiber.
Pectin is one of the soluble dietary fibers and therefore serves as food for many beneficial intestinal bacteria. Pectin is therefore also called a prebiotic. So it has a prebiotic effect, which means that it is good for the intestinal flora. The beneficial bacteria can metabolize it and get energy from it. At the same time, short-chain fatty acids are formed, which in turn serve as an energy source for the intestinal mucosa cells.
The manufacture of pectin
If you buy pectin as a dietary supplement or as a gelling agent for e.g. B. jam or aspic, then it is always about pectin of natural origin, i.e. pectin that was obtained from fruits.
The fabric cannot be made synthetically. Instead, it is usually extracted from leftovers from juice production with the help of certain processes (acid catalysis, ultrasound). The pulp itself contains only small amounts of pectin since the dietary fiber is mainly found in the cell walls of the peel. Therefore, apple pomace or the peel of citrus fruits can be used very well to obtain pectin.
How to make your own pectin
Traditional extraction methods, e.g. B. boiling the fruit for up to 24 hours take too long and are therefore too expensive for commercial production. But you could also produce pectin at home by boiling it out. You can find a few videos on the internet, e.g. Here, for example, where boiling is only used twice for 20 minutes each: Make your own pectin
Pectin is E440 and allowed for organic products
Pectin is also used as an additive in the food industry. It has the number E 440. Due to its harmlessness and harmlessness, dietary fiber is also permitted for the production of organic products.
The pectin from apples is used especially for baked goods, that from citrus fruits because of the lighter color for jams.
The dietary fiber is used in the food industry for many products: jam, jelly, desserts, soft drinks, dairy products, vegan sausage alternatives, but also for numerous pharmaceutical products.
These fruits contain pectin
Pectin is a natural substance found in fruits. It is particularly found in apples, pears, quinces, blueberries, persimmons, citrus fruits, and rose hips, but also in many other fruits.
The following figures show that the pectin content in the flesh is rather low but very high on the skin. It is therefore almost impossible to obtain pectin from peeled fruit:
- Apple 1-1.5%
- Apple pomace approx. 15%
- Quince 0.5%
- Orange 0.5-3.5%
- Citrus peel (from oranges and lemons) approx. 30%
- Apricot 1%
- Cherry 0.4%
- carrots 1.4%
If you now look at the studies on the health-promoting effects of pectin, you can see that dosages of 10 g or more are often necessary for the desired results.
If you wanted to consume 10 g of pectin with apples, you would have to eat about 1 kg of apples to achieve the desired effect. Other fruits usually have an even lower pectin content. Consuming apples or fruit to achieve therapeutically effective levels of pectin, therefore, does not seem very practical.
Pectin lowers cholesterol levels
Dietary fiber – especially water-soluble dietary fiber and thus pectin – can lower cholesterol levels. In particular, they do this via the following mechanism: dietary fibers bind to bile acids in the intestine so that they are eliminated with the stool. Now the body needs new bile acids (for fat digestion), which cholesterol is needed to produce. If cholesterol is now used to produce new bile acids, the cholesterol level drops.
If the intestinal bacteria also break down the dietary fiber, short-chain fatty acids are formed that can inhibit the formation of new cholesterol in the liver.
In a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study from 1997, 51 people with mildly elevated cholesterol levels took 15 g of water-soluble fiber daily for six months in the form of a mixture of e.g. psyllium and pectin.
After eight weeks, total cholesterol levels were reduced by 6.4%, and LDL levels were reduced by 10.5%, which remained the same until the end of the study. The level of HDL (“good” cholesterol) remained unchanged. The cholesterol-lowering effect of pectin or water-soluble fiber (if you take 2 to 10 g per day) is confirmed by a meta-analysis from 1999, in which 67 studies on this topic were evaluated.
That same year, researchers at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center showed that daily intake of pectin and other fiber (a total of 20 g per day for 15 weeks) could reduce LDL levels by 12%. In the placebo group, it fell by only 1.3%. The HDL values also remained unchanged here.
However, pectin does not seem to be the same, because a Dutch study at Maastricht University showed that (at 15 g per day over 4 weeks) apple pectin was able to lower cholesterol levels slightly better (by up to 10 percent) than citrus pectin ( by up to 7 percent).
Lower blood pressure with pectin
Water-soluble fiber like pectin, which has a cholesterol-lowering effect and, as we will see below, also aids in weight loss, naturally also has a very positive effect on the cardiovascular system. This can be noticeable, e.g. by falling blood pressure, as confirmed by a 2018 meta-analysis.
This meta-analysis reviewed 43 studies and found an average reduction in systolic blood pressure of 1.59 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure of 0.39 mmHg from consuming 8.7 g of this water-soluble fiber daily for about 7 weeks eats. However, the reduction in systolic blood pressure was only observed with supplementation with psyllium, so that both fiber sources – psyllium husk powder and pectin – could be combined, e.g. B. ½ to 1 teaspoon of psyllium husk powder in the morning and 5 to 7 g of pectin in the evening.
(Remember that psyllium or even psyllium husk are not as effective as finely ground powder. Unground psyllium husk can also irritate the digestive system.) Simply take 1-2 teaspoons of this mix with 200 ml of water 30 minutes before a meal and shake Mix everything well in the shaker and drink it.
Pectin for weight loss
Since pectin slows down the emptying of the stomach and thus keeps you full for longer and also inhibits fat digestion, i.e. ensures increased fat elimination, dietary fiber is considered an effective weight loss aid. In contrast to many conventional weight loss pills, pectin has no harmful side effects. Instead, it even improves the intestinal flora, detoxifies, and regulates cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
In a Los Angeles County University study, obese participants were given 15 grams of pectin with a meal. It turned out that the stomach had emptied by half after only 116 minutes. Without pectin, the stomach was already half empty after 71 minutes. The test subjects also felt fuller for significantly longer and more sustainably with the dietary fiber.
A US Army study also found that just a 5-gram serving of pectin in an orange juice could keep you feeling full for four hours—even if the juice was drunk in the morning, which is a few hours (overnight ) had eaten nothing.
Nevertheless, when losing weight, you should not just rely on a single substance, but follow a concrete plan that rests on several pillars: Adjusted energy intake, healthy nutrition, plenty of exercises, stress management, intestinal cleansing, optimization of the supply of vital substances, etc.
Pectin helps with diarrhea
As a water-soluble dietary fiber, pectin is of course also a valuable helper when it comes to regulating digestive activity.
In a clinical study from Bangladesh with 62 children with chronic diarrheal diseases of various causes, a rice diet with pectin helped to significantly relieve diarrhea symptoms in just three days. The children were only 5 to 12 months old and the pectin dose was 4 g per kilogram of body weight, which of course should be discussed with the pediatrician.
The pectin was obtained from green bananas. Green bananas are also suitable as home remedies if you don’t have pectin, zeolite, or other typical diarrhea home remedies at hand. Because in the study mentioned, cooked green bananas had alleviated diarrhea almost as well as pectin.
Pectin for irritable bowel syndrome and to improve the intestinal flora
In a randomized placebo-controlled study in China with 87 participants with irritable bowel syndrome, daily administration of 24 g of pectin helped to significantly improve intestinal flora within 6 weeks.
The fiber acted as a prebiotic, strengthening the bifidobacteria in the gut while reducing the number of harmful bacteria. At the same time, the symptoms decreased and the previously elevated inflammatory markers also decreased with the help of pectin. This was not the case in the placebo group, so the researchers involved advised including dietary fiber as a component in the irritable bowel therapy.
Pectin in cancer
In connection with a possible effect of pectin on cancer, only cell studies are available so far, which, however, indicate the advantageous properties of dietary fiber in this regard. In several of these studies, pectin showed an inhibitory effect on various types of cancer such as prostate cancer, colon cancer, melanoma (skin cancer), leukemia, liver cancer, breast cancer, and stomach cancer.
However, based on its detoxifying (see next section) and gut-friendly, i.e. prebiotic effect, it can be assumed that pectin can also initiate healing processes in other ways. After all, a healthy intestine and a balanced intestinal flora is one of the most important prerequisites for health and well-being, while, conversely, a disturbed intestinal flora is one of the most important contributory causes of many chronic diseases – including cancer, as we have explained here: Sick intestinal flora makes cancer aggressive
Pectin detoxifies lead
A Chinese study (2008) with children between 5 and 12 years of age who had a high exposure to lead investigated whether citrus pectin as a chelating agent can effectively reduce the concentration of lead in the blood.
After 28 days, the level of lead in the blood had dropped dramatically and increased significantly in the urine. So the pectin helped bind the lead and flush it out of the body. The children received 15 g of fiber daily (divided into three servings).
According to a Russian study from 2007 – albeit on rats – it was shown that low ester pectin is apparently best suited for lead detoxification. With the help of this pectin, the lead concentration in the excrements of the animals increased by more than 45%.
How to take pectin correctly
When taking pectin, it is particularly important – as with all roughage – that you drink enough liquid, at the same time as you take the pectin and also spread it out over the day.
Drink at least 200 ml of water or juice for each small teaspoon of pectin (mix the pectin thoroughly with the liquid, preferably in a blender) and then drink another 200 ml of water for the next half hour.
Since pectin has a tendency to stick to the teeth in the mouth, it is easier to take pectin in the form of pellets or capsules. In this case, please refer to the dosage recommendations of the respective manufacturer.
As a precaution, do not take pectin together with dietary supplements, but at intervals of several hours.
Also, do not take pectin with every meal, but only once or twice a day.
Especially for detoxification, pectin should be taken on an empty stomach unless you know a particular meal is contaminated (e.g. radioactive or otherwise). Then of course you would take the pectin with the meal to reduce the potential exposure to that meal.
If you want to increase the feeling of satiety after a meal, then take the pectin just before or with a meal.