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6 Health Benefits of Apple Polyphenols

6 Health benefits of Apple Polyphenols

Apples are a popular fruit full of vitamins and fibre, but did you know there have been numerous studies into their potential health benefits? The apple is a rich source of phytochemicals.

Epidemiological studies have linked the consumption of apples with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, asthma and diabetes.

Apple polyphenols are compounds found in apples, it has been suggested that these compounds have a potent antioxidant activity, decrease lipid oxidation and also lower cholesterol. Apple polyphenols may also help to prevent oxidative stress, and therefore reduce the risk of chronic disease and slow down ageing.

Here are six researched health benefits of apple polyphenols:

Support with allergies

An allergic response occurs in response to a foreign substance entering the body, the foreign particle is safe, however the body responds by mounting an excessive immune response. Allergy symptoms may include sneezing, nasal congestion, itchy eyes and skin rash. Allergies are common in people and are thought to affect more than 1 in 4 people across the United Kingdom at some point in their lives 1.

Scientific research suggests apple polyphenols exert beneficial activity against allergic rhinitis - commonly known as hay fever. In a study 33 individuals subjects with persistent allergic rhinitis experienced significant improvements in sneezing attacks and nasal discharge of taking either low dose or high dose apple polyphenol extract 2.

These results show the polyphenols in apples may provide relief from hay fever which gives sufferers options other than medication for the management of allergies.

May alleviate skin inflammation

Skin is the first line of defence for keeping our bodies protected from external stresses, ultraviolet rays, radiation, chemical stress and bacterial infection. Skin is made up of two primary layers, the epidermis and dermis. The epidermis is face on with the external environment and is responsible for functioning as a barrier. Whereas the dermis is situated below the epidermis and is responsible for maintaining the foundations for the skin and providing biological functions.

The anti-allergic effect of apple polyphenol was evaluated in patients with atopic dermatitis - also known as eczema. Great improvements were shown in skin inflammation, cracking and itching of the skin in healthy patients who received supplemental doses of 10mg per kilogram in bodyweight daily for 8 weeks 3.

It can be concluded that apple polyphenols are a great natural remedy to relieve symptoms commonly found in people who suffer with eczema.

May improve cholesterol levels

Apple polyphenols may contribute to heart-health benefits by positively influencing cholesterol metabolism in subjects with a high body mass index. In a study, 71 participants received 600mg per day of polyphenols from either hops or apples, which was compared to a placebo over a 12-week period. The consumption of polyphenols from hops and apples were compared; the results suggest that the effects of the apple polyphenol containing capsules were superior to that from hops, reducing in both total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol 4.

These results show that those suffering with cholesterol metabolism could benefit from apple polyphenols over the duration of 12 weeks.


Blood glucose and weight management

Being overweight is known to trigger changes to the body’s metabolism. The changes that occur can cause fat tissue to release fat molecules into the blood, therefore affecting insulin responsible cells and leading to a decrease in insulin sensitivity.

In a study visceral fat levels were assessed over a 12-week period, the participants received 600mg of apple polyphenols or a placebo. The research from this study demonstrated that apple polyphenols are able to decrease the transcription of genes involved with the creation of fatty acids, additionally destroying the fat which wraps around the abdominal organs inside the body 5

These results show that apple polyphenols may support fat loss in individuals who want to achieve weight loss, however polyphenols should be used in combination with a healthy diet and substantial amount of exercise to achieve a healthy weight loss.


Support physical performance

Scientific research suggests that the antioxidant properties of apple polyphenols were able to improve fatigue and physical performance.

A study included 18 healthy volunteers who were randomized to 1200mg daily of oral apple polyphenols, 1000mg daily of ascorbic acid, or a placebo for 8 days. The volunteers were required to complete fatigue-inducing physical exercise using a bicycle ergometer for two hours on two occasions. It is suggested that muscular exercise promotes the production of radicals and other reactive oxygen species, that are responsible for exercise-induced protein oxidation and contribute to physical fatigue.

These results may explain why the administration of apple polyphenols relieves physical fatigue through its antioxidant benefits 6.


Support dental care

Good oral health care can be maintained with daily brushing and flossing, without the correct oral hygiene, bacteria may develop and consequently lead to oral infections. Studies have suggested that the polyphenols present in apples effectively inhibit plaque formation. It is suggested that apples produce a rapid response in reducing bacterial saliva levels, similar to that is achieved with tooth brushing 7.

In a study, children were involved in determining whether tooth brushing alone or in combination with eating an apple would reduce plaque formation. The children participated in tooth brushing for 2 minutes in the first control group and then 2 minutes combined with eating an apple in the second control group. Those in the second control group had a greater reduction of dental plaque in comparison to the first group 8.

These results suggest the decrease in plaque formation could be due to the polyphenol activity present in apples. It can be concluded that polyphenols in apples may have similar effects to brushing teeth, in that it produces an immediate reduction in salivary bacterial viability.

Is the polyphenol content the same for all apples?

The nature and content level of polyphenols present in food sources will be influenced by various factors. For apples, the variety, agricultural practices, harvesting, and if supplementing, the extraction process will be among the factors contributing to polyphenol concentration. The Oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC) content of Applephenon is 70%, for comparison Royal Delicious apples range from 0.2-0.5% polyphenols9. The difference being that commercial apples are crossbred to increase the naturally occurring sugars for a sweeter taste, whereas polyphenols taste bitter and tart.


Apples are high in nutrient density, and research has shown the potential wider benefits of the polyphenols in apples in supporting our overall health. When choosing food supplements containing apple polyphenols, opt for 100% active ingredients with no binders or fillers, added sugars, flavourings or dye. Check the label to ensure the ingredients are from a sustainable source. Health food stores can support with advice and queries on food supplements. To find your nearest one visit:

Author: Rupinder Dhanjal is a Nutrition Advisor at Viridian Nutrition. She holds a BSc in Nutrition and Health.

1 NHS (2018) Conditions - Allergies
2 Enomoto T, Nagasako-Akazome Y, Kanda T, Ikeda M, Dake Y. Clinical effects of apple polyphenols on persistent allergic rhinitis: A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled parallel arm study. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2006;16(5):283-9. PMID: 17039666.
3 Kojima T et al (2000). Anti-allergic effect of apple polyphenol on patients with atopic dermatitis: A pilot study. Department of Pediatrics,Kansaid Medical University, Osaka and National Institute of Health Science Tokyo, Japan. 49, pg: 69-73.
4 Nagasako-Akazome Y, Kanda T, Ohtake Y, Shimasaki H, Kobayashi T. Apple polyphenols influence cholesterol metabolism in healthy subjects with relatively high body mass index. J Oleo Sci. 2007;56(8):417-28. doi: 10.5650/jos.56.417. PMID: 17898508
5 Akazome, Y., Kametani, N., Kanda, T., Shimasaki, H. and Kobayashi, S., 2010. Evaluation of safety of excessive intake and efficacy of long-term intake of beverages containing apple polyphenols. Journal of Oleo Science, 59(6), pp.321-338.
6 Ataka, S et al (2007) Effects of Applephenon and ascorbic acid on physical fatigue. Nutrition. 23, (5) pg: 419-23.
7 Rubido, S (2018) Effect of chewing an apple on dental plaque removal and on salivary bacterial viability. PLOS ONE. 13, (7).
8 Schneider, H G (1986). Reduction of dental plaque by apples and chewing gum. Die Nahrung. 30, (9) pg: 907-12.
9 Rana, S., Rana, A., Gupta, S. et al. Varietal influence on phenolic constituents and nutritive characteristics of pomace obtained from apples grown in western Himalayas. J Food Sci Technol 58, 166–174 (2021).

This article is for information purposes and does not refer to any individual products. The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.

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