Vanilla is a great spice with many health benefits.
Vanilla is an extract from the vanilla bean. It has many culinary and cosmetic uses. However, vanilla and its flavoring extracts can also serve a multitude of medicinal functions. For example, the extract vanillin has long been recognized for its role in the treatment of sickle cell anemia.
1) Vanilla has antimicrobial properties
Vanillin shows antimicrobial properties against E Coli and Listeria (R).
Biofilms are microbial films that are embedded in a self-produced matrix (R). Quorum sensing is a process by which bacteria produce and detect signal molecules and thereby coordinate their behavior (R).
Vanilla is unique quorum sensing inhibitor and this may help break up biofilms (R).
2) Vanilla reduces free radical concentrations
Extracts of vanilla pods scavenged radicals in a concentration-dependent manner (R).
Various extracts scavenged hydroxyl and nitric oxide radicals (R).
Treatment with vanillin ameliorated impaired mitochondrial enzyme complexes (I, II, and IV) in experimental model of Huntington’s disease. Further it could inhibit singlet oxygen-induced protein and lipid oxidation (R).
Vanillin, at a concentration of 2.5 mmol/L, has afforded significant protection against protein oxidation and lipid peroxidation in hepatic mitochondria induced by photosensitization with methylene blue plus light (R).
3) Vanilla has anti-cancer properties
Vanillin enhances mismatch repair processes in DNA (R).
4) Vanilla has anti-depressant properties
Vanillin activates the α2 adrenergic receptors or opioid receptors, which has anti-depressant and pain releiving effects (R).
The Antioxidant properties of vanillin could also contribute to its antidepressant activity (R).
5) Vanilla has anti-cholesterol properties
The cholesterol-lowering effect of vanilla is either due to its hypotriglyceridemic effect or its regulatory effect on the genes involved in cholesterol metabolism including LDL receptor (LDLR) and HMG Co A reductase (HMGCR) genes (R).
Vanillin at very high dosages have some carcinogenic effects.
The study concludes (R):
Vanillin was not cocarcinogenic when consumed orally. However, it was cocarcinogenic when being administered intraperitoneally at high concentration. Hence, the use of vanillin in food should be safe but might have cocarcinogenic potential when it is used in high concentration for therapeutic purposes.
In the human health risk assessment, the Acceptable Dietary Intake value of vanillin is 10.0 mg/kg/day) (R).
I consume 1g of vanilla day.
Health Tools I Wish I Had When I Was Sick
At SelfHacked, it’s our goal to offer our readers all the tools possible to get optimally healthy. When I was struggling with chronic health issues I felt stuck because I didn’t have any tools to help me get better. I had to spend literally thousands of hours trying to read through studies on pubmed to figure out how the body worked and how to fix it.
That’s why I decided to create tools that will help others cut down the guesswork:
- Lab Test Analyzer – a software tool that will analyze your labs and tell you what the optimal values are for each marker — as well as provide you with actionable tips and personalized health and lifestyle recommendations to help you get there.
- SelfDecode – a software tool that will help you analyze your genetic data from companies such as 23andme and ancestry. You will learn how your health is being impacted by your genes, and how to use this knowledge to your advantage.
- SelfHacked Secrets – an ebook where we examine and explain the biggest overlooked environmental factors that cause disease. This ebook is a great place to start your journey if you want to learn the essential steps to optimizing your health.
- SelfHacked Elimination Diet course – a video course that will help you figure out which diet works best for you
- Selfhacked Inflammation course – a video course on inflammation and how to bring it down
- Biohacking insomnia – an ebook on how to get great sleep
- Lectin Avoidance Cookbook – an e-cookbook for people with food sensitivities
- BrainGauge – a device that detects subtle brain changes and allows you to test what’s working for you
- SelfHacked VIP – an area where you can ask me (Joe) questions about health topics
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.
HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ARTICLE?