Pectin Supplements: Are They Worth It?

Friday Sep 4, 2015 | BY |
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The next big thing in heart health is natural galectin-3 inhibitors from citrus pectin.

When I was a farm boy in rural New England, oranges were a Christmas treat. To me, an orange— brightly colored, juicy, bursting with citrus smells—was a magical food. I sucked every last drop of juice, and then gnawed the inner white part. Intuitively, my body craved the nutrients found in oranges, including pectin.

The pith between the peel and the fruit is called albedo, and it is rich in pectin. It is a soluble dietary fiber with health benefits to humans. Pectin can lower serum cholesterol, improve insulin resistance, and relieve diarrhea. It acts as regulator of the gastrointestinal tract, an immune system booster, and an anti-ulcer agent. Pharmaceutical grade pectin lowers galectin-3.

Pectin is used commercially in the food industry as a gelling agent for jams and jellies. It is also used as filler in medicines and candies, and as a stabilizer in fruit juices and milk drinks, as well as a source of dietary fiber. It is available in powder form as a nutritional supplement.

Benefits of Pectin

  • Lowers total cholesterol
  • Lowers LDL
  • Lowers glucose
  • Lowers heavy metal levels
  • Improves insulin sensitivity
  • Improves gastrointestinal health
  • Relieves diarrhea
  • Reduces kidney fibrosis
  • Prevents cancer
  • Inhibits galectin-3

Citrus has the most pectin, but the nutrient is also found in apples, pears, apricots, guavas, carrots, potatoes, and in whole grains.

Pectin-Rich Foods

  • Citrus
  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Cranberries
  • Grapes
  • Quince
  • Guava
Galectin-3 Is A Rouge Protein

Galectin-3 is in a class of proteins produced in the body in response to injury. Galectins mediate fundamental biological processes associated with disease. They also play a role in cell growth, including the formation of internal scaring or fibrosis, and metastasis.

High Galectin-3 levels measured in a blood test are associated with cardiovascular disease and cancer. Doctors evaluate patients with chronic heart failure by the galectin-3 test. It is also useful as a marker of chronic inflammation and spreading cancer.

Galectin

Pectin Supplements: Are They Worth It?

Food-grade pectin works as a type of fiber supplement to support digestive health, but the molecules are not small enough to get into the blood. Enter pharmaceutical-grade pectin supplements called modified citrus pectin (MCP).

The leading pectin supplement, PectaSol, supports cellular health, maintains healthy galectin-3 levels, and promotes detoxification of heavy metals and environmental toxins. Scientific studies show that MCP has a wide array of activity including antitumor properties.

Cancers Treated By MCP

  • Breast
  • Colon
  • Leukemia
  • Melanoma
  • Prostate

Pectacea, a start-up project focusing on natural pectins that lower galectin-3, and other companies focusing on galectin-3 modifiers, have MCP products in the pipeline.

Supplements containing apple pectin are also available. Raw apples are a rich source of polyphenol nutrients and fiber, as well as pectin. Scientific studies linking gut microbiota diversity with cardiovascular health and cancer prevention suggest an apple a day really does keep the doctor away. Apple pectin supplements, however, have not been shown to lower galectin-3.

MCP products are first-generation citrus pectin nutraceuticals. New research suggests that heat-fragmented citrus pectin (HFCP) provides greater anticancer effects. We won’t know more for several years, however, until further studies are conducted. Until we have next-generation pectin nutraceuticals, use MCP products like PectaSol.

Doctor’s Advice
  • Include pectin-rich foods in your daily diet.
  • Get your galectin-3 level tested.
  • Take an apple pectin supplement for GI health.
  • Supplement with MCP for heart health and cancer prevention.

A high-fiber, pectin-rich diet helps prevent the spread of cancer and may reverse chronic heart disease. It promotes health by enriching microbiome diversity, modulating the immune system, and reducing inflammation. Dietary sources of pectin are desirable. It’s not as clear if pectin supplements live up to the claims.

Pectin is considered a safe supplement. My clinical experience with MCP products, though, suggests that some patients experience intestinal gas, bloating, and diarrhea after taking too much of the powdered form. My advice is to start slowly with a quarter the recommended dosage and, if you have no adverse effects, gradually work up to a therapeutic level.

Drug interactions with pectin include reduction in absorption of drugs or supplements. Beta-carotene blood levels may be reduced by more than 50 percent. Pectin inhibits the absorption of the cholesterol-lowering compound lovastatin. Take pectin supplements by themselves, away from prescription drugs and other supplements.

Dr. J. E. Williams

J. E. WILLIAMS, OMD, FAAIM

Dr. Williams is a pioneer in integrative and functional medicine, the author of six books, and a practicing clinician with over 100,000 patient visits. His areas of interest include longevity and viral immunity. Formerly from San Diego, he now resides in Sarasota, Florida and practices at the Florida Integrative Medical Center. He teaches at NOVA Southeastern University and Emperor’s College of Oriental Medicine.

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  1. June Hanson says:

    Pecta-sol powder has been a life saver for me. Years of IBS, it has calmed intestinal problems. Mix powder first thing in a.m. with almond milk, etc. Again late afternoon on empty stomach. Great results, now only in a.m. If, I run into problems, go back to twice a day,

    When in hurry, use capsules. Highly recommend it. Galectin 3 was high in my blood. Will be interesting next test, to see if it has come down.

    Along with other supplements, exercise, Dr Williams and his therapies, has transformed my life.

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