[Health-promoting properties of pectin]

Postepy Hig Med Dosw (Online). 2014 Jan 2;68:590-6. doi: 10.5604/17322693.1102342.
[Article in Polish]


Pectin, a heteropolysaccharide commercially derived from the cell wall of higher plants, is mainly used in food as a gelling agent in jams and jellies as well as a stabilizer in fruit juice and milk drinks. It has also received great interest as a source of dietary fiber. Furthermore, pectin is proved to have diverse biological activities including lipid and cholesterol level lowering effects, serum glucose and insulin content lowering effects, gastric emptying delay, and anti-cancer activities. Pectin and pectic oligosaccharides have been shown to induce apoptosis in human colonic adenocarcinoma cells and to have anti-metastatic properties. Dietary pectin can bind metal ions, particularly lead ions, thus reducing their retention in the body and diminishing their toxic effects. On the other hand, pectin enhances intestinal solubility and absorption of ferric iron. Pectin with a low degree of esterification or having a large volume of linear oligogalacturonide segments shows significant mucoadhesion capacity in the gastrointestinal tract. In this way pectin forms a physical barrier protecting epithelium against opportunistic microbial invasion during stress.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticholesteremic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Esterification
  • Gastric Emptying / drug effects
  • Gels
  • Humans
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / drug effects*
  • Iron / pharmacokinetics
  • Pectins / pharmacology*
  • Protective Agents / pharmacology*


  • Anticholesteremic Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Gels
  • Hypolipidemic Agents
  • Protective Agents
  • Pectins
  • Iron