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Ursolic Acid ---The
Mysterious Compound in
Apple Peels That Protects
Your Liver and Fights
Cancer

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March 27, 2017

By Susan Callahan, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of
Doctors and Registered Nurses, Certified fitness
professionals and other members of our Editorial Board.]




Ever notice the dull finish on apple peels?  That dull finish
signals the presence of one of the most remarkable
compounds in nature. Ursolic acid, a compound found in
abundance in apple peels, has become the object of
increasing interest from scientists around the world because
it appears to powerfully inhibit damage to your liver, arteries
and fights cancer.

Ursolic Acid Acts Broadly to Reduce Inflammation and
Tumor Formation in Your Body

Ursolic acid was first isolated and identified in 1920.  Over
the years, scientists have isolated ursolic acid in the peels of
many fruits and in certain herbs, including rosemary and
thyme.  

What makes ursolic acid interesting is that it appears to act
broadly against many disease processes.  

Scientists have discovered that ursolic acid is a powerful anti-
inflammatory.  A 2017 study from found that ursolic acid
from Red Fuji apple peels (at a concentration of 600 and 900
mg per kg body weight) significantly elevated blood levels of
nitric oxide, the gas that dentists use to make you laugh and
which makes your arteries relax.  The ursolic acid also raised
levels of HDL (so-called "good cholesterol"), lowered total
cholesterol and LDL ("bad cholesterol").


Several studies have also found that ursolic acid inhibits the
formation of cancerous tumors.

In 2013, scientists confirmed that mice having tumors which
were treated for 14 days with ursolic acid saw death of
tumor cells (apoptosis) and tumor shrinkage. This study,
from King Saud University in Saudi Arabia suggested that the
pathway that ursolic acid uses to shrink tumors is by down
regulating vascular endothelial growth factor.  

Ursolic acid induces early cell death (apoptosis) in tumor
cells while at the same time preventing normal cells from
transforming into malignant cells. Ursolic acid does this by  
interfering with numerous enzymes, especially the enzymes
which play a role in DNA synthesis.

Ursolic Acid Protects Your Liver from Toxicity

The broadly anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant actions of
ursolic acid benefit all the organs of your body in theory. But
the effects on the liver have been the most intensely studied.


Hepatoxicity describes a condition in which your liver
becomes unable to do its normal job of cleansing toxins from
your blood.


A 2016 study from Shaanxi Normal University in China was
just the latest to confirm that ursolic acid protects the liver
from toxicity.  Liver toxicity was first induced in mice by
feeding them extremely high levels of choline fro 8 weeks.
Then, the mice were given varying doses of ursolic acid.
After administration of the ursolic acid, tests found a reversal
of the liver toxicity.





Ursolic Acid Combats Depression






























The regulation of dopamine, the natural "feel good"
hormone plays a large role in the progression of depression.
Ursolic acid acts directly on the dopaminergic system, and
thus interferes with the chemical pathways that lead to
depression.


In 2012, scientists from Universidade Federal de Santa
Catarina in Brazil used ursolic acid isolated from rosemary
(Rosmarinus officinalis) to study its effects on depression.

Depression, in both lab animals and humans, causes
immobility. People stop moving. Some stay in bed all day.  
Using standard tests for depression in mice that measure
movement, the scientists found that mice which were given
even small doses of ursolic acid were far more mobile, they
stay still for much shorter periods of time.


The anti-depressant effects of ursolic acid were similar to the
effects achieved using anti-depressant medications, such as
fluoxetine, imipramine and bupropion.


How Much Ursolic Acid Do Apple Peels Contain?

Among all fruits, apple peels have the highest concentration
of ursolic acids.  The concentration of ursolic acid varies by
type of apple. In 2008, scientists from Brazil, led by Dr. Rosa
Frighetto of the Embrapa, a Brazilian agricultural research
company, identified the ursolic content in the peels of Fuji,
Smith, Granny Smith and Gala apples.

Fuji and Smith apples contain 50 mg of ursolic acid in a
medium sized apple while Granny Smith has 31 mg and Gala
apples have 20 mg of the acid per medium sized apple.



Eating Whole Apples Linked with Lower Rates of Cancer

We did a different kind of check to see if eating apples has
been linked with lower rates of cancer.  Indeed, there is a
strong link between eating apples regularly and your risk for
many types of cancer, including lung cancer and  digestive
tract cancers.


A 2016 study from University of Perugia exmained the
overall cancer risk between groups of people at the high end
of apple consumption versus those who rarely eat apples.

What they found is that apple eaters are far less likely to
have lung cancer,colorectal cancer, cancer of the mouth,
oesophageal cancer and breast cancer.








































































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Eating whole apples with the peels lowers
your risk for many types of cancer, including
lung cancer and breast cancer
.
Peppers grown in the greenhouse of one of our editors. Peppers
cause certain types of cancer cells to "suicide" themselves".