Report #7
Ellagic Acid

Ellagic Acid is a naturally occurring polyphenolic found in 46 different fruits and nuts such as blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and cranberries. Ellagic acid:

  • Contains a very strong anti-oxidant
  • Is also a potent anti-carcinogen.
  • Has the ability to inhibit mutations within a cell's DNA.
  • Is also considered to be a cancer inhibitor which has the ability to cause apoptosis or normal cell death in cancer cells.
  • Has antibacterial and anti-viral properties.

Ellagic acid acts as a scavenger to "bind" cancer-causing chemicals, making them inactive. It inhibits the ability of other chemicals to cause mutations in bacteria.

Action of Ellagic Acid:

Ellagic acid has antioxidant, anti-mutagen and anti-cancer properties. Studies have shown the anti-cancer activity on cancer cells of the breast, oesophagus, skin, colon, prostate and pancreas. More specifically, ellagic acid prevents the destruction of P53 gene by cancer cells. Ellagic acid can bind with cancer causing molecules, thereby making them inactive. In their study The effects of dietary ellagic acid on rat hepatic and esophageal mucosal cytochromes P450 and phase II enzymes, Ahn D et al showed that ellagic acid causes a decrease in total hepatic mucosal cytochromes and an increase in some hepatic phase II enzyme activities, thereby enhancing the ability of the target tissues to detoxify the reactive intermediates. Ellagic acid showed also a chemoprotective effect against various chemically induced cancers.
A study by Thresiamma KC and Kuttan R. Indian (Indian Journal Physiology and Pharmacology, 1996 October) indicate that oral administration of ellagic acid by rats can circumvent the carbon tetrachloride toxicity and subsequent fibrosis of the liver.

At the Hollings Cancer Institute, they conducted a nine year study on the properties of ellagic acid. They were also conducting a double blind study involving 500 cervical cancer patients.

The Hollings Cancer Institute at the University of South Carolina has conducted a
double blind study on a group of
500 cervical cancer patients that had everyone
excited. Nine years of study have shown that a natural product called Ellagic
acid is causing G-arrest within 48 hours (inhibiting and stopping mitosis-cancer
cell division), and apoptosis (normal cell death) within 72 hours, for breast,
pancreas, esophageal, skin, colon and prostate cancer cells. Ellagic Acid
Clinical Tests on cultured human cells also show that Ellagic acid prevents the
destruction of the p53 gene by cancer cells. Additional studies suggest that one
of the mechanisms by which Ellagic acid inhibits mutagenesis and
carcinogenesis is by forming adducts with DNA, thus masking binding sites
to be occupied by the mutagen or carcinogen. Ellagic acid can be found in
different foods. it is especially effective for those with a genetic predisposition
to cancer.

About Hollings Cancer Center

The Hollings Cancer Center (HCC) at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston offers a comprehensive range of cancer treatment services, cancer prevention, cancer information, and innovative research programs to benefit people throughout South Carolina and the southeastern region of the country.

The National Cancer Institute has recognized Hollings Cancer Center as a leading cancer treatment center by awarding it with a planning grant (P20). With this support, the center is working to achieve NCI status as a comprehensive cancer center, a designation that will make an even wider range of cancer treatment programs available to those it serves.

A new publication called the "American Cancer Society's Guide to Complementary and Alternative Cancer Methods" has documented that Ellagic Acid is a very promising natural supplement, because it causes apoptosis (cell death) of cancer cells in the lab tests, with no change to normal healthy cells.

From the Wolfe Clinic (
Healthy cells have a normal life cycle of approximately 120 days before they die. This process is called apoptosis (natural cell death). The body replaces these dying cells with healthy cells. Conversely, cancer cells do not die. They multiply by division, making 2 cancer cells, then 4, 8, 16, 32 and so on. In lab tests, Ellagic Acid caused the cancer cells to go through the normal apoptosis process without damaging healthy cells. Chemotherapy, radiation, and most conventional treatments cause the death of cancer cells and healthy cells indiscriminately, possibly destroying the immune system in the process. Ellagic Acid is clearly the sensible choice.

  • Following exposure to Ellagic Acid from red raspberries, human cervical cancer cells, infected with the human papilloma virus (HPV), die within several days due to a process termed apoptosis (normal cell death).

  • Ellagic Acid causes the growth cycle (G1) arrest of cancer cells, thus, inhibiting cell division (mitosis) and cellular proliferation.

  • Ellagic Acid from red raspberries prevents destruction of a cellular regulatory gene, P53, by HPV oncogenies (genes responsible for cancer induction) in cervical cells (p53 is regarded as the safeguard of normal cellular division and if the P53 is inactivated, abnormal cell division/proliferation ensues).

  • Similar protective effects were observed in breast, pancreas, esophageal, skin, colon, leukemia and prostate cancer cells exposed to Ellagic Acid.

  • Consumption of 1 cup (150 grams) of fresh red raspberries (the equivalent of 40 milligrams of Ellagic Acid) resulted in the appearance of circulating levels of Ellagic Acid in the serum one hour after ingestion. Five of HTN's Ellagic Acid 800 mg capsules equal approximately 40 milligrams or more of pure Ellagic Acid Extract, similar to research.

In summary, the data from Dr. Nixon's lab and other investigators indicates that Ellagic Acid (1) activates detoxifying enzymes in the liver resulting in the clearing of cancer-causing chemicals (mutagens) in the serum; (2) prevents the binding of carcinogens to cellular DNA; (3) serves as an antioxidant in the scavenging and clearance of highly destructive oxygen free radicals; (4) induces apoptosis (programmed normal cell death) in cancerous cells; and (5) stimulates the immune system for the destruction of cancerous cells. Each of these attributes were found to be important in reducing the incidence of cancer in experimental models.

From the Barron Report (

Consuming one cup of red raspberries per day (40 mg of ellagitannins) prevents the development of cancer cells. At low concentrations, it slows the growth of cancer cells; at higher concentrations, it tells cancer cells to kill themselves. For example, cells infected with the human papilloma virus (which is linked to cervical cancer), when exposed to ellagic acid experienced apoptosis, or normal cell death.

Red raspberry ellagitannins slow the growth of abnormal colon cells in humans.

Tests reveal similar results for breast, pancreas, esophageal, skin , and prostate cancer cells. The ellagitannins also produce a breakdown in human leukemia cells.

Another way that ellagitannins protect your body is through G-Arrest. G-Arrest means that the ellagitannins stop cells from mutating in the first place. If cells don’t mutate, then we don’t get cancer. This is very important when you understand that that every single day of your life you produce anywhere from a few hundred to as many as 10,000 cancerous cells in your body as part of your normal metabolism. In tests conducted by the Hollings Cancer Institute with Ellagic Acid, G-Arrest began in 72 hours in both breast and cervical cancer.

Red raspberry ellagitannins prevent destruction of the P53 gene by cancer cells.  P53 prevents mutagenic activity in cervical cells.

Red raspberry ellagitannins protect human cells against cancer-causing agents in tobacco smoke, food additives, and petroleum-based substances. Ellagitannins act as scavengers to “bind” cancer-causing chemicals, making them inactive. The ellagitannins inhibit the ability of other chemicals to cause mutations in bacteria. Red Raspberry ellagitannins also protect DNA by blocking carcinogens from binding to the DNA.

European medical studies also demonstrate that red raspberry ellagitannins lower the incidence of birth defects, promote wound healing, reduce heart disease, and may reduce or reverse chemically induced liver fibrosis. In addition, the ellagic acid produced from the ellagitannins has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties

Susan Thorpe-Vargas Ph.D. posts some important research citations about the role of ellagic acid in treating cancer:

On PubMed, under Ellagic Acid, there are 699 citations. Under Ellagic Acid - cancer, there are 125. Click here to see a few dozen citations.


How important is this information for the cancer patient?

Very important. Ellagic acid, whether taken as food, or as a supplement, is totally harmless. There is no toxic dose, and no side effects. At the same time, it is a powerful anti-cancer substance. In other words, it kills cancer cells. This has been proven beyond doubt through human and animal trials. Its cancer killing ability has also been demonstrated in hundreds of in vitro laboratory tests (see PubMed citations, as well as the
Thorpe-Vargas postings).

It is believed that ellagic acid is able to pass through the blood/brain barrier, although there are no definitive studies to prove this. However, ellagic acid does combine with glucose, and glucose does pass through the BBB.


Ellagic Acid is a phenolic compound that has become a known as a potent anti-carcinogenic/anti-mutagenic compound. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. Ellagic acid itself is not thought to be naturally present in plants. Instead, polymers of gallic acid and hexahydroxydipenoyl (HHDP) are linked to glucose centers to form the class of compounds known as ellagitannins. When two gallic acid groups become linked side-by-side within a tannin molecule and HHDP group is formed.

Ellagic acid is the result when the HHDP group is cleaved from the tannin molecule and spontaneously rearranges. It is the ellagitannins that are present in red raspberries. Some articles in which ellagitannins are quantified refer to ellagic acid because quantitation of ellagitannins is done by breaking them down into ellagic acid subunits and quantifying the subunits.

The Meeker red raspberry is the best source of ellagic acid followed by Chilliwack and Willamette. The Meeker variety is specific to the Pacific Northwest---grown primarily for commercial use in Washington State. The Chilliwack and Willamette varieties contain lesser variations of ellagic acid. Both of these varieties are grown in the Pacific Northwest and may be found in lesser volumes outside the United States.

The availability to the body of ellagic acid from dietary sources has only been confirmed with red raspberries. Other foods such as strawberries, pomegranates, and walnuts contain far lesser amounts ellagic acid yet the bioavailability has not been confirmed.
 How does ellagic acid work?
Ellagic acid acts as a scavenger to "bind" cancer-causing chemicals, making them inactive. It inhibits the ability of other chemicals to cause mutations in bacteria. In addition, ellagic acid from red raspberries prevents binding of carcinogens to DNA, and reduces the incidence of cancer in cultured human cells exposed to carcinogens.

Ellagitannins also produce a breakdown in human leukemia cells.

Is ellagic acid a cancer cure? No, it is not. Ellagic acid is an effective, safe and inexpensive component in a comprehensive cancer protocol. No cancer patient should ever rely on ellagic acid as a monotherapy (the only therapy to be used) to treat cancer.

Where to purchase ellagic acid as a supplement?

Amazon: Ellagic Insurance Formula Acid , Red Raspberry (4% Ellagic Acid)