Ellagitannins are a type of polymer that is formed when ellagic acid and a hydroxyl group, like glucose, bind together. Considered a type of antioxidant, it can be found in various fruits, such as raspberries and blackberries, and in red wine. Although research is still preliminary, some people believe ellagic acid may help to prevent certain cancers and heart disease. Ellagitannins may be taken as part of a meal, or in capsule form as a nutritional supplement.
Antioxidants like ellagitannins may help to protect the body's cells against the damage caused by free radicals. Many antioxidants are combined in nutritional supplements that are also rich in vitamin C and iron to provide complete antioxidant supplementation. It should be noted that many of the purported benefits of ellagitannins have not been proven in scientific studies; in the US, the Food and Drug Administration has warned supplement makers against promoting ellagic acid as a cure for disease.
There has been some suggestion that ellagitannins may help to prevent cancer, specifically cervical cancer in women and prostate cancer in elderly men. Some users believe it helps by preventing the cancerous cells from dividing and effectively slows down the rate at which the cancer may grow. Although research into this benefit is ongoing, there is no proof to support this claim.
Ellagitannins may also help support the immune system. This may also naturally increase the body's ability to fight against infections and disease, and to boost the body's immune response. Many experts believe that antioxidants in general can benefit immune system health by removing damaging oxidants and free radicals from the body.
It is believed that ellagitannins may also help to reduce blood pressure and help to support arterial walls. This supplement may also help to reduce the effects of neutropenia, a disease that affects the white blood cells of the body. The risk of heart disease may also be reduced by consuming fruits that are rich in ellagitannins and other antioxidants. Many of these foods may also contain salicylates, a form of natural aspirin. Salicylates may also help to provide additional support against cancer growth in the body.
Athletes and bodybuilders may also benefit from ellagitannins. Some studies have suggested that this supplement may reduce the effects of muscle fatigue and soreness after an exercise session. This may lead to a faster muscle recovery time, increasing the body's ability to build muscle.
Although ellagitannins are generally considered to be very safe, some side effects may occur when very high dosages are taken. This may include an increase in blood pressure and also allergic reactions in some patients. It is also not recommended that this supplement be used by pregnant women.
The recommended dosage for this supplement is about 40 milligrams (about 0.04 grams) per day. This is the equivalent of one cup of blackberries or raspberries. This dosage may be increased for certain individuals if needed and can be accurately determined by a healthcare practitioner.