The health benefits of Gallic Acid
Reviewed on March 26, 2014
Gallic acid is an organic acid, known as 3,4,5-trihydroxybenzoic acid, found in gallnuts, sumac, witch hazel, tea leaves and
other plants. It exists as free acid and as a part of tannins.

Potential Health Benefits of Gallic Acid

Sun Damage
Some advertisers claim that dark chocolate is high in antioxidants like epicatechin and gallic acid, dark chocolate increases
the blood flow to skin and reduces roughness and protects sun damage. [A1] More data are needed for supporting this
health benefit claim.

Liver Fibrosis
The activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) in response to liver injury is critical to the development of liver fibrosis. It was
found that gallic acid  selectively killed HSCs in both dose- and time-dependent manners, while remained no harm to
hepatocytes. [A1] Thus, gallic acid may benefit people at risk of liver fibrosis.

Gallic acid was found to possess anti-inflammatory activity towards zymosan-induced acute food pad swelling in mice.

Neural Degeneration
Structure-activity relationship analysis showed that the o-dihydroxy group of gallic acid is important for the inhibitory activity
in vitro. [6] A few researchers believe that gallic acid may benefit people at risk of neural degeneration. An in-vitro study
showed that gallic acid inhibited on Abeta (25-35) (10 microM)-induced apoptotic neuronal death. [1]

In vitro studies have shown its anti-cancer activities against leukemia HL-60RG, certain prostate, colon and lung cancer
cells. [2-5] Basically, gallic acid induced apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner as evidenced by analyses of DNA
fragmentation, changes in cell morphology and loss of viability. [3]

What are the precautions or side effects of gallic acid supplements?
There are potential side effects of using gallic acid inappropriately. In a study, gallic acid was observed to trigger
contractile responses and inhibit vasorelaxant responses in a study of isolated rat thoracic aorta. Gallic acid also inhibited
vasorelaxation induced by acetylcholine, sodium nitroprusside or prostacyclin. [7]  In another study, the sperm quality of
rats was impaired following gallic acid treatment. [A2] Users must discuss with their medical officers before taking gallic acid


[1] Ban JY, et al, Neuroprotective properties of gallic acid from Sanguisorbae radix on amyloid beta protein
(25--35)-induced toxicity in cultured rat cortical neurons. Biol Pharm Bull. 2008 Jan;31(1):149-53. [2] Raina K, et al,
Chemopreventive effects of oral gallic acid feeding on tumor growth and progression in TRAMP mice. Mol Cancer Ther.
2008 May;7(5):1258-67. Epub 2008 Apr 29. [3] Ohno Y. et al, Induction of apoptosis by gallic acid in lung cancer cells.
Anticancer Drugs. 1999 Oct;10(9):845-51. [4] Yoshioka K et al, Induction of apoptosis by gallic acid in human stomach
cancer KATO III and colon adenocarcinoma COLO 205 cell lines. Oncol Rep. 2000 Nov-Dec;7(6):1221-3. [5] Inoue M et al,
Antioxidant, gallic acid, induces apoptosis in HL-60RG cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1994 Oct 28;204(2):898-904.
[6] Kroes BH et al, Anti-inflammatory activity of gallic acid. Planta Med. 1992 Dec;58(6):499-504. [7] Sanae F, et al,
Potentiation of vasoconstrictor response and inhibition of endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation by gallic acid in rat aorta.
Planta Med. 2002 Aug;68(8):690-3. [A1] Top 10 foods for great skin Canada .com [A1] Hsieh SC et al, Gallic acid
selectively induces the necrosis of activated hepatic stellate cells via a calcium-dependent calpain I activation pathway. Life
Sci. 2014 Mar 11. [A2] Abarikwu SO et al, Combined administration of curcumin and gallic acid inhibits gallic acid-induced
suppression of steroidogenesis, sperm output, antioxidant defenses and inflammatory responsive genes. J Steroid
Biochem Mol Biol. 2014 Feb 22;143C:49-60.
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