Grapefruit pectin is a powder made from the pulp and the rind of the fruit. It has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that provide wide-ranging health benefits. A soluble fiber, it promotes heart and digestive health, helps control blood sugar and may combat some types of cancer. There is some evidence that it may help with eczema, but further study is needed. Studies on grapefruit pectin’s impact on kidney stones have produced mixed results; in some cases it helped while in others, it appeared to contribute to kidney stone formation.
Lowers Cholesterol and Blood Pressure
In a study by University of Florida researchers, subjects who consumed three tablespoons of grapefruit pectin per day experienced an average 7.6 percent drop in cholesterol, according to the July 25, 1987 edition of Science News. In addition, low-density lipoprotein–sometimes called “bad cholesterol”–levels dropped by over 10 percent in half the participants. Grapefruit pectin also supports heart health by lowering blood pressure. If you are taking cholesterol or blood pressure lowering medications, check with your doctor before taking grapefruit pectin supplements because they may increase the adverse reactions associated with some of these drugs.
Helps Control Blood Sugar
Rapid intake of carbohydrates can cause your blood sugar levels to spike and then crash. Grapefruit pectin slows carbohydrate absorption into the bloodstream and thus evens out your body’s use of sugars. This will help you control your appetite because food cravings often result from low blood sugar levels and high blood sugar can make you not want to eat when you really should.
Supports Digestive Health
Grapefruit pectin is the only one of the basic fibers that is soluble. It helps food pass through your intestines without delay so there is no time for bacterial build-up. This fiber also can help prevent diverticulitis, a condition where the intestinal wall develops little pockets that food may lodge in and cause infection. Fiber lessens the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and can help prevent hemorrhoids. Too much grapefruit pectin, however, can cause these same symptoms.
Destroys Some Types of Cancer Cells
Modified citrus cancer binds to galectins that are present on the surface of some cancerous cells, particularly breast and prostate cancers as well as melanomas. This binding action blocks cancer cell aggregation and metastasis to other parts of the body. In addition, grapefruit pectin’s acceleration of food through the colon reduces the amount of time that cancerous substances come in contact with the bowel lining, thus reducing the risk of colon cancer.
About this Author
A retired senior federal executive currently working in the health care field, Mary Bauer has written and edited for senior US government audiences, including the White House, since 1984. She holds a Master of Arts in French from George Mason University and a Bachelor of Arts in English, French and international relations from Aquinas College.