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What is Kaempferol?

By Helga George
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Kaempferol is a polyphenol that is a type of flavonoid, known as a flavonol. It is found in a number of foods consumed by humans, including Brussel sprouts, tea, grapefruit, broccoli, apples, onions, red wine, and many berries. This compound has been found to have a protective effect on human health. Studies suggest that it protects against heart disease and cancer.

Several different flavonols appear to have protective effects on human health. This includes the compounds quercetin and myricetin. Kaempferol was specifically identified as a food ingredient that lowered the risk of fatal heart disease in women.

Also a strong antioxidant, this flavonol helps to help prevent oxidative damage to cells and DNA. It is thought to prevent arteriosclerosis by this mechanism. Protecting DNA from oxidative damage can also help protect against cancer, by preventing mutations from occurring.

Lab studies have found that this natural compound inhibits the formation of cancer cells and their growth. It has been seen to be particularly effective in combination with quercetin. Kaempferol also appears to make cancer cells more sensitive to anti-cancer agents, including chemotherapy drugs.

Its consumption in broccoli and tea has been correlated with a decrease in ovarian cancer in post-menopausal women. This effect appeared to be specific for kaempferol, and was not a general effect of flavonoid consumption. The amounts required for protection appeared to be two cups of broccoli per day, or four cups of green or black tea daily.

Kaempferol appears to have properties that work against estrogen, making it a phytoestrogen. This indicates that it can bind to estrogen receptors and block the binding of estrogen. Some types of breast cancer are facilitated by the binding of estrogen. Other phytoestrogens, such as genistein and daidzein, have also been implicated in lowering rates of breast cancer. There have been studies linking kaempferol to a decrease in breast cancer levels, but this flavonol has not received the prominence of the other phytoestrogens.

Kaempferol supplements are commercially available. Some people may be allergic to them, however. One should always check with a doctor before taking any supplement. Natural compounds can have a variety of effects, and can interfere with the metabolism of prescription drugs and other herbal preparations.

Kaempferol is also known as indigo yellow. It is responsible for the coloring of the bright yellow flowers of the tropical trees Acacia decurrens and A. longifolia. There is a commercial dye known as indigo yellow, but it has a different chemical structure from the flavonol.

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Discussion Comments
By fify — On Aug 23, 2011

I have heard of tea reducing the risk of cancer. I knew that it was because of flavonoid antioxidants but I didn't know that the specific flavonoid is called kaempferol. I guess this is something that scientists would know and that we as consumers don't hear too much about.

My entire family are tea addicts, including myself. We basically drink it as if it were water. Thankfully, no one in my close or extended family has had cancer. I wonder if it's because we drink so much tea and the kaempferol in it is protecting us.

Even if it didn't, we'd still drink tea, but this is another great excuse to do so!

By JaneAir — On Aug 22, 2011

@SZapper - This article made me kind of excited too. I've been trying to lead a healthier lifestyle and I've been looking for some easy ways to add antioxidants to my diet.

I think I'm going to start eating more apples and berries, drinking green tea, and I'm also going to look for a supplement. I don't have any food or medication allergies, so I think I should be OK with kaempferol.

By SZapper — On Aug 21, 2011

I am so excited quercitin has so many health benefits! I actually take it because of my allergies and I find it very helpful for that. I have no idea it had any other health benefits though.

Actually, a lot of stuff I like and eat frequently seems to have kaempferol in it. I love broccoli and berries, and I also like red wine. I try to limit my red wine to one glass per sitting, and I often don't drink it every day though.

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