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What Are the Benefits of Grapefruit Pectin?

By Jill Corleone, RDN, LD

Getting more fiber in your diet is a good idea when trying to improve your health. Grapefruit pectin is a type of soluble fiber found in the citrus fruit that may be taken as a supplement. Adding it to your daily regimen may help lower cholesterol and act as a treatment for diarrhea. Talk to your doctor before adding any dietary supplements to your daily routine.

Lowers Cholesterol

High cholesterol is a major risk factor for the development of heart disease, according to the American Heart Association, and one of the factors you may have the most control over. Grapefruit pectin may help lower your blood cholesterol levels.

According to a 2012 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, supplementation with citrus pectin reduced cholesterol by 6 percent to 7 percent. That said, it's important to note that apple pectin may be a little more effective than citrus pectin at reducing cholesterol.

Impact on Digestion

As a form of soluble fiber, grapefruit pectin forms a gel in your digestive tract, which helps slow digestion. This action may help you feel full longer, which is beneficial if you're following a reduced-calorie diet for weight loss.

Also, if you have diarrhea, the gelling action of grapefruit pectin and the decrease in transit time may help alleviate your frequent and loose stools.

Fight Cancer

Grapefruit pectin also has anti-cancer properties. According to a 2014 article published in the Polish journal Postȩpy Higieny i Medycyny Doświadczalnej, the oligosaccharides in the pectin may help promote death of cancer cells in the colon. They may also help reduce your risk of cancer by grabbing hold of and dragging out carcinogenic substances in your stool. The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center notes that the scientific data to support these claims are limited, however, and more research is necessary.

Supplement Concerns

Even though grapefruit pectin comes from a natural food, you should always discuss the use of any dietary supplement with your doctor before you start taking it. One form of the supplement, called modified citrus pectin, has caused mild cases of diarrhea, according to Memorial Sloan Kettering. There's also concern that when combined with the cholesterol-lowering medication lovastatin, grapefruit pectin may increase low-density lipoprotein, the "bad" cholesterol.

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