Pilot study supports apple peel powder’s joint health benefits


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Pilot study supports apple peel powder’s joint health benefits

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Daily supplements of a dried apple peel powder may improve joint function and reduce pain in healthy older people with a reduced range of motion in their joints, says a new study.

Findings published in the Journal of Medicinal Food​indicated that 12 weeks of supplementation with the commercially available AppleActiv product were associated with improvements in the range of motion in the upper and lower back, while significant improvements were also observed in thoracic, lumbar, and hip rotation.

“The improvements in joint function associated with consumption of dried apple peel powder were not limited to an isolated joint problem,”​ wrote the researchers, led by Gitte Jensen from NIS Labs. “The general improvement seen in this exploratory pilot study suggests that a general improvement in antioxidant status may have led to improvements in joint function in this population. “


AppleActiv is produced in a GMP facility by Leahy Orchards, the parent company of AppleActiv and largest producer of organic applesauce in North America, which sources organic apples from orchards throughout Quebec and Ontario Canada, and New York State. The peels are removed from about six different apple varieties, washed, sprayed and slowly dried in a low-heat dryer before getting ground into fine powder granules.

Health Canada has validated that a serving of AppleActiv contains 50% of the daily recommended dose of fiber.

Speaking with NutraIngredients-USA at SupplySide West 2014, Lorraine Leahy, director of the division of functional foods at Leahy Orchards, told us that the ingredient is often included in supplements in combination with established joint health ingredients such as chondroitin or egg shell membrane.

Despite being launched less than 2 years ago, AppleActiv is already included in five or six commercially available products, she said, with “a couple more in the works”​.

Study details

Dr Jensen and her co-workers recruited 12 people aged between 48 and 73 with reduced range of motion and chronic pain, and assigned them to receive 4.25 grams of the apple peel powder per day for 12 weeks in an open-label clinical pilot study.

Results showed that AppleActiv was associated with improvements in the range of motion in the back, as well as rotation improvements in other joints.

In addition, the antioxidant protective status of the participants was found to improve, while ‘multifaceted’ anti-inflammatory properties for the ingredient were also observed.

Measures of pain were also improved in the participants, said the researchers.

Looking ahead, Dr Jensen and her co-authors said that a placebo-controlled dose study is warranted to investigate at which daily dose improvements in joint function and antioxidant status are detected. Additional studies should also focus on younger people, including athletes, they said.

Dr Jensen told NutraIngredients-USA: "The results pertaining to joint Range of Motion (ROM) are important, since the improvements in ROM involved the vertical weight-bearing axis (neck, upper and lower back), and were not limited to the area of primary pain as identified by each study participant.  This speaks to a general support of joint ROM, not associated with a specific disease, but rather a more general functional improvement."

Source: Journal of Medicinal Food
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1089/jmf.2014.0037
“Consumption of Dried Apple Peel Powder Increases Joint Function and Range of Motion”
Authors: G.S. Jensen, V.L. Attridge, K.F. Benson, J.L. Beaman, S.G. Carter, D. Ager 

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