Gallic acid sources, health benefits and uses

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 by

Gallic acid is an organic acid that can be found in a wide plethora of plants. This highly versatile substance is notable for its use in the creation of inks and dyes, and for determining the phenol content in the gallic acid equivalence method (GAE). Beyond these, gallic acid is more widely known for its being an antioxidant with powerful medicinal properties that have been utilized by different cultures throughout history.

Thanks to being an organic acid, Gallic acid can be found in all kinds of plants. Blueberries, apples, walnuts, and watercress contain varying amounts of gallic acid. In fact, gallic acid stands as a noteworthy nutritional component in blueberries and is said to be partly responsible for many of the advantages of this fruit.

Gallic acid can be bought as a supplement as well, specifically as capsules, liquid extracts, and even ointments. The supplement form of gallic is not known to have any harmful side effects, though they can negatively interact with anti-hypertensive medications when taken in excess.

Medicinal uses for gallic acid

The gallic acid extracted from grape seeds has been shown to induce apoptosis or cell death in prostate and breast cancer cells. In addition to being toxic towards cancerous cells, gallic acid does not have any negative effects on healthy cells. As such, the potential of gallic acid as a treatment for cancer is being looked into, though consuming foods rich in this substance can decrease the risk of cancer as a whole.

As an antioxidant, gallic acid can defend the body against free radicals and oxidative damage. When cells are exposed to free radicals, they sustain damage to their proteins and cell membranes and die off faster than normal. This in turn puts the body at higher risk of disease, making antioxidants like gallic acid all the more important for overall health.

The anti-inflammatory properties of gallic acid make it even more useful since numerous health ailments arise from inflammations. Arthritis is one and psoriasis is another. Ointment containing gallic acid can significantly reduce the inflammation of this particular skin condition.

These anti-inflammatory actions have been found to be useful against allergies too. By inhibiting inflammatory allergic reactions, gallic acid can lessen the frequency and severity of inflammatory allergies that arise from exposure to histamines.

Gallic acid has anti-fungal and anti-viral effects that have proven to be dangerous to organisms such as Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus, both of which can contaminate foods with aflatoxins. These family of toxins have been linked to heightened risk of liver cancer. Gallic acid can inhibit the enzymes that produce aflatoxins.

Body systems supported by gallic acid

The anti-viral and anti-fungal qualities of gallic acid, as well as its ability to enhance the function of pathogen-eliminating leukocytes, contribute towards a healthier and stronger immune system.

Gallic acid can support the heart as well, particularly the hearts of patients suffering from type-1 diabetes. Supplements of galic acid were noted to decrease the chances of developing heart-related conditions among these individuals.

Regular intake of foods with gallic acid can be good for the brain. Gallic acid can defend the brain’s nerves and tissue from deterioration caused by neurodegenerative disease.

Where to learn more


Gallic acid is a helpful organic acid that can be found in many popular foods such as blueberries and watercress. Eating these foods and taking in gallic acid supplements can protect the heart and brain, and enhance the immune system. Furthermore, gallic acid can minimize the likelihood or lessen the symptoms of inflammatory conditions, oxidative damage, and certain cancers.

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