An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
An old saying that everyone heard before. A statement that is often based on the vitamin and micronutrients content of the apple. Yet there is actually much more to an apple than just that. Next to some well-known benefits, it has been shown that it actually heals the intestinal lining.
What is Apple Pectin?
Apple pectin is a soluble fiber derived from apples. Pectin is a type of fiber that is found in all plant cell walls and tissues. While all may contain pectin, the amount and concentration of pectin varies among plants. Apples contain a particularly high amount of pectin and the highly concentrated apple pectin delivers many health benefits. Apple pectin is available in the skin and pulp of fresh apples or as a dietary supplement.
What is Leaky Gut?
The condition of a leaky gut describes an increased intestinal permeability. That means substance that are not supposed to pass the intestines into the bloodstream now can pass through due to this increase in intestinal permeability.
To start from the beginning, the digestive system plays an important role in protecting your body from harmful substances. The walls of the intestines act as barriers, controlling what enters the bloodstream to be transported to your organs. Small gaps in the intestinal wall called tight junctions allow water and nutrients to pass through, while blocking the passage of harmful substances. Intestinal permeability refers to how easily substances pass through the intestinal wall.
When the tight junctions of intestinal walls become loose, the gut becomes more permeable, which may allow bacteria and toxins to pass from the gut into the bloodstream. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as leaky gut.
Supposed symptoms of leaky gut syndrome include inflammation, autoimmune reactions, bloating, food sensitivities, fatigue, digestive issues and skin problems (1,2).
Apple Pectin & Cholesterol
Lets start looking at apple pectin may help lower cholesterol, according to a preliminary study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2012. Researchers examined the effects of different types of apple or citrus pectin in people with mildly elevated cholesterol and observed that both types of pectin lowered LDL cholesterol. A review (3) found that soluble fiber (from pectin, oat, or psyllium) was associated with a small decrease in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.
Apple Pectin & Metabolic Syndrome
A study in the May 2008 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (4) found that rats that were fed apple pectin experienced a reduction in blood sugar levels, total cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels and weight. A reduction in one or all of these factors will contribute to a reduction in high blood pressure as well. Researchers call the difference in the pectin groups cholesterol profile "remarkable" and suggests that apple pectin may one day be considered as a treatment for metabolic syndrome.
Apple Pectin & Leaky Gut
There are actually 21 papers listed on pubmed (5,6) that correlate apple pectin and gut health. The apple pectin provides food for colonic bacteria that converts it into beneficial short chain fatty acids. These acids maintain the health of beneficial gut bugs and the cells lining the colon.
The short chain fatty acids also promote epithelial growth of the cells of the intestines, thereby reducing leaky gut. The breakdown products of pectin also help to normalize intestinal contractions. Which makes it an excellent sources and specifically foo sources to heal a leaky gut.
How to make High Pectin Apple Sauce at home
I have known and read about the benefits of apple pectin before yet it wasn't until last weekend that I considered implementing it consistently with my clients. Dr Tom O'Bryan who was speaking at the YPSI did point out a very simple and easy trick. And I am a big fan of simple and easy tricks that can be implemented by clients consistently and efficiently. Low effort. High Outcome. That's what everyone needs. And this trick is a homemade high pectin apple sauce. And the recipe that Dr O'Bryan gave at the seminar is:
- 4-6 apples (organic, if possible)
- cinnamon (optional)
How to make it:
- Cut the apple including the skin into small pieces of about 1x1cm cubes.
- Put them into a pot and cover about 1/3 of the height of the apple cubes in water
- Add some cinnamon if you like
- Boil it on the highest heat for about 8 minutes until the apples get "shiny"
- Stir it with a spoon. Done!
How to eat it:
- Have 2 to 3 tablespoons 2 to 3 times per day
- Eat hot or cold
- Store in the fridge for up to 5 days, then make some more
Enjoy this homemade High Pectin Apple Sauce and let it help fix your Leaky Gut!
To read my article onYour Leaky Gut & Performance click here
Picture: The homemade High Pectin Apple Sauce. (Credit: Dorte Martensson)