Chicory and Chicoric Acid Show Potential Health Benefits

Chicoric acid, a hydroxycinnamic acid, derived most commonly in the roots of chicory (Cichorium intybus), purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), and basil. Each chicory rootpossesses a variety of health benefits, such as antiviral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, weight management, and neuroprotector.

A number of companies are selling chicory root as a dietary supplement for prebiotic support, as it is a source of inulin. We’ve collected two studies on chicoric acid and chicory seed combined with tumeric so that you can better understand its benefits and possible uses in your clinical practice.

“More recently, an increasing number of publications have reported the beneficial effects of chicoric acid in cell culture and animal studies.” ~ Pen Ye, Department of Food Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Previous studies from various regions of the world show a variety of benefits. For instance, in Europe, chicory roots and echinacea roots are baked and ground into a healthy coffee substitute. Turks use a chicory herbal tea for the diabetes, epilepsy, hemorrhoids, inflammation, and digestive disorders. In Asia, plant roots containing chicoric acid have been used in Asian traditional medicine as a tonic for inflammatory diseases, eye diseases, and nerve injuries. And in the US, most are familiar with the use of echinacea colds and flu.

In a summary review, The Bioactive Effects of Chicoric Acid As a Functional Food Ingredient, published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, researchers found 45 published articles that looked at the beneficial health effects of chicoric acid in cell or animal models. “The main benefits of chicoric acid include antivirus, anti-inflammation, glucose and lipid homeostasis, neuroprotection, and antioxidation effects,” the researchers write. “Biological activities and related mechanisms of chicoric acid from in vitro and in vivo studies are summarized in Tables 1 and 2 within this full text study.”

Study 1: In The Bioactive Effects of Chicoric Acid As a Functional Food Ingredient, study you will learn about the following potential benefits:

  1. Antiviral Effects of Chicoric Acid
  2. Inflammatory Responses
  3. Glucose Metabolism
  4. Lipid Metabolism and Liver Function
  5. Brain Function
  6. Antioxidative Stress Effects
  7. Other Bioactivities
  8. Suggested Molecular Targets
  9. Pharmacokinetic Studies

Click Here for Full Text Review Study, J of Med. Food

Study 2: Turmeric and chicory seed have beneficial effects on obesity markers and lipid profile in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Abstract / To investigate new strategies aimed at reducing risk factors of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), effects of turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) and chicory seed (Cichorium intybus L.) supplementation was evaluated in these patients. In this double-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial, 92 patients with NAFLD aged 20-60 year with body mass index (BMI) ranged 24.9-40 kg/m2 was randomly assigned to 4 groups as follows.

  1. Turmeric supplementation (3 g/d) (n = 23, TUR);
  2. Chicory seed supplementation (infused 9 g/d (4.5 g /100mL)) (n = 23, CHI);
  3. Turmeric and chicory seed supplementation (3 g/d turmeric + infused 9 g/d chicory seed (n = 23, TUR + CHI);
  4. Placebo (n = 23, PLA). All intervention periods were 12 weeks;
  5. Fasting blood samples, anthropometric measurements, dietary records and physical activity were collected at baseline and at the end of the trial.

Results/ “Significant decreases were observed in BMI and waist circumference (WC) of subjects in CHI and TUR + CHI groups, compared with PLA group (p < 0.05). Combination of turmeric and chicory seed significantly decreased serum alkaline phosphatase level (p < 0.05).”

“Serum levels of HDL-C increased considerably in TUR and TUR + CHI groups (p < 0.05 vs. placebo). Turmeric supplementation alone and plus chicory seed led to significant reduction in serum levels of TG/HDL-C and LDL-C/HDL-C ratio in TUR and TUR + CHI groups in comparison with placebo (p < 0.05). In conclusion, turmeric and chicory seed supplementation can be significantly useful in management of NAFLD risk factors.”

Sources:
Ye Peng, Quancai Sun, and Yeonhwa Park.Journal of Medicinal Food. 2019; 22 (7). Ahead of print http://doi.org/10.1089/jmf.2018.0211
Ghaffari A, Rafraf M, et al. Turmeric and chicory seed have beneficial effects on obesity markers and lipid profile in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2019; 24:1-10. doi: 10.1024/0300-9831/a000568.