If I had to guess, you probably have never heard of apigenin until now. Until recently, I was in the same boat.
So what is apigenin?
Apigenin is a flavonoid found in many different plants, including in chamomile, parsley, and celery. Interestingly, this one compound has powerful healing effects throughout the body.
1. Apigenin indirectly boosts the body’s capacity for testosterone production.
In a study evaluating the effects of apigenin on Leydig cells, researchers found that the flavonoid helped increase the number of steroidogenic acute regulatory (StAR) proteins.
The availability of these proteins is the rate-limiting step behind testosterone production, so more StAR proteins enables greater volumes of natural testosterone.
2. Apigenin is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound.
In studies, apigenin has proved to inhibit inflammatory signaling cascades and suppress the activity of inflammation-causing cells.
In individuals with chronic lung inflammation or lung inflammatory diseases, apigenin has the potential to decrease airway inflammation and has been shown to be a powerful agent for lessening airway resistance.
3. Apigenin suppresses cancer cells.
In lab settings, this common flavonoid was observed to boost apoptosis (planned cell death), suppress cell migration (i.e. suppress metastases), block cell cycle advancing (which inhibits the growth and division of new cancer cells), and stimulate the immune response to disrupt cancer growth with the body’s defense system.
4. Apigenin has significant anti-microbial properties.
When tested against strains of bacteria, this single flavonoid showed reverse antibiotic activity. Reverse antibiotics are compounds that have limited effects on antibiotic-susceptible bacteria, but instead can target antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.
While apigenin failed to inhibit the growth of a specific strain of staphylococcus, it decreased levels of the cytotoxin alpha-hemolysin, which is responsible for the pathogenic nature of pneumonia (caused by Staph. aureus).
5. Apigenin may dramatically increase the quality of your sleep.
While some of the studies involving apigenin and its effect on sleep also involve other extracts or flavonoids (as seen in chamomile tea or extract), a small body of research suggests that apigenin has a calming effect on the nervous system via the GABA signaling pathway.
While literature-based information is limited, anecdotal evidence for apigenin’s effects on sleep are profound.
If you are interested in increasing your apigenin content, chamomile extract contains some of the highest natural doses.
Alternatively, some apigenin supplements may be found in natural foods stores or online, though the quality of the supplement remains in question.
Generally, researchers believe the average diet contains less than a milligram of apigenin, but a single serving of chamomile flower extract typically contains between 2-3 mg.
Other foods that contain apigenin:
- Passion flower