WHAT IS CAFFEIC ACID?
Caffeic acid is a hydroxycinnamic acid and phytonutrient (a group of chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants and have multiple health benefits but are not considered essential to human health) that can be found in coffee and various plant based foods. In this article I will be providing a full breakdown of caffeic acid and outlining its main health benefits.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF CAFFEIC ACID?
Awareness of caffeic acid dates back to 400 B.C. when herbs containing caffeic acid were used as a sleep aid. However, it is not known who discovered caffeic acid.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF CAFFEIC ACID?
Caffeic acid is a protective phytonutrient which has a number of health benefits in the human body. These health benefits are outlined in the list below:
– Acting as an anti-inflammatory (a substance that prevents unnecessary inflammation within your body).
– Acting as an antioxidant (a substance which protects the body’s cells from the harmful free radicals which are released during oxygen related reactions).
– Preventing cancer.
– Preventing diabetes (by reducing blood glucose levels in the body).
HOW MUCH CAFFEIC ACID DO YOU NEED?
Caffeic acid is not classed as an essential nutrient so no official recommended daily allowance (RDA) has been set. However, studies suggest consuming between 100 milligrams (mg) and 500mg of this phytonutrient will allow you to enjoy the health benefits discussed above.
WHICH FOODS CONTAIN CAFFEIC ACID?
Caffeic acid can be found in various plant based foods. Coffee is an excellent source and contains between 18mg and 88mg per 100 millilitres (ml). The foods below also contain good levels of caffeic acid although the exact amounts they contain are not known:
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CONSUMING TOO MUCH CAFFEIC ACID?
Currently there are no overdose symptoms associated with caffeic acid consumption. However, drinking large amounts of coffee (the main source of caffeic acid) can lead to a caffeine overdose. The exact amount of caffeine that leads to an overdose varies from person to person but most sources suggest that between 300mg and 700mg (approximately 3-7 cups of coffee) can cause the mild overdose symptoms listed below:
– Difficulty sleeping.
– Increased heartbeat.
– Increased urination.
– Muscle twitching.
Consuming more than 700mg of caffeine (8 cups of coffee or more) can lead to much more serious overdose symptoms. These include:
– Loss of consciousness.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF FAILING TO CONSUME ENOUGH CAFFEIC ACID?
Caffeic acid is not classed as an essential nutrient so there are no reported deficiency symptoms associated with its consumption.
CAFFEIC ACID SUMMARY
As you can see, coffee is much more than just a hot, stimulating beverage. It can also help prevent cancer, treat diabetes and protect your body’s cells. So next time you are feeling a little tired or need a mid-afternoon kick, get the kettle on, make yourself some coffee and give your body a healthy dose of caffeic acid.