Ellagic acid is a polyphenol found in certain fruits and vegetables, mainly berries, pomegranate and some oilseeds. It is known for its antioxidant properties: it helps eliminate toxins and protects against free radicals. Basically, plants produce this compound as a defense mechanism against infections and parasites.
Ellagic acid is a good photo-protector for the skin: it limits the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and free radicals (oxidative stress), as well as the degradation of collagen due to UV-B rays, which reduces the formation of wrinkles, epidermal thickening and pigmentation, making the skin more luminous. 1,2,3,4 Some studies on mice even suggest that it could be a good treatment for inflammatory skin diseases (dermatitis, edema), or wound healing.5,6
Ellagic acid could be a good anti-carcinogen because it inhibits tumor cell proliferation in animals. It also modulates inflammation and may block viral infections. 7 It also regulates lipid metabolism and the intestinal microbiota, and alleviates the complications of type 2 diabetes.8
Scientific references :
- Bae, J. Y. et al. Dietary compound ellagic acid alleviates skin wrinkle and inflammation induced by UV-B irradiation. Experimental Dermatology 19, (2010).
- Kasai, K., Yoshimura, M., Koga, T., Arii, M. & Kawasaki, S. Effects of oral administration of ellagic acid-rich pomegranate extract on ultraviolet-induced pigmentation in the human skin. Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology 52, 383–388 (2006).
- Yoshimura, M., Watanabe, Y., Kasai, K., Yamakoshi, J. & Koga, T. Inhibitory effect of an ellagic acid-rich pomegranate extract on tyrosinase activity and ultraviolet-induced pigmentation. Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry 69, 2368–2373 (2005).
- Baek, B., Lee, S. H., Kim, K., Lim, H. W. & Lim, C. J. Ellagic acid plays a protective role against UV-B-induced oxidative stress by up-regulating antioxidant components in human dermal fibroblasts. Korean Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology 20, 269–277 (2016).
- Mo, J., Panichayupakaranant, P., Kaewnopparat, N., Songkro, S. & Reanmongkol, W. Topical anti-inflammatory potential of standardized pomegranate rind extract and ellagic acid in contact dermatitis. Phytotherapy Research 28, 629–632 (2014).
- Yuniarti, W. M., Primarizky, H. & Lukiswanto, B. S. The activity of pomegranate extract standardized 40% ellagic acid during the healing process of incision wounds in albino rats (Rattus norvegicus). Veterinary World 11, 321–326 (2018).
- Zhang, H. M. et al. Research progress on the anticarcinogenic actions and mechanisms of ellagic acid. Cancer Biology and Medicine 11, 92–100 (2014).
- Kang, I., Buckner, T., Shay, N. F., Gu, L. & Chung, S. Improvements in Metabolic Health with Consumption of Ellagic Acid and Subsequent Conversion into Urolithins: Evidence and Mechanisms. Advances in Nutrition 7, 961–972 (2016).