Flavonoid Friday: Everything You Need to Know About Kaempferol Flavor, Fragrance, and Benefits
In this post:
- What is kaempferol
- Health benefits of kaempferol
- Foods high in kaempferol
- Best form of kaempferol
- How to get kaempferol from cannabis
Kale, spinach, broccoli — there’s a reason your mother made you eat these good-for-you greens. Nature packed these veggies and other plants, including cannabis, with potent antioxidants called flavonoids, which fight free radicals and inflammation. One unique flavonoid that gives leafy kale and green tea superfood status is kaempferol, pronounced “camp-fur-all.”
Here’s everything you need to know about disease-combating kaempferol and what it brings to your favorite cannabis strains.
What is Kaempferol?
Kaempferol is a natural substance found in many vegetables, fruits, and herbs, including broccoli, kale, tea, and Ginkgo biloba leaves. You know these foods are “healthy,” but have you ever thought about the importance of the flavonoids they contain?
Flavonoids such as kaempferol are more potent antioxidants than vitamins C and E. Studies show kaempferol’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, including cancer.
Antioxidant Properties of Kaempferol
Super antioxidants, like kaempferol, fight free radicals in the body. Free radicals are uncharged molecules with an uneven number of electrons that wreak unmitigated bodily havoc.
You can think of them as unhinged horror movie serial killers, reaping widespread destruction with no apparent motive. When free radicals react with other molecules in your body, they cause a nasty chain reaction called oxidation. Oxidative stress leads to everything from early signs of aging to cancer and heart disease.
That’s why antioxidants, or compounds that work against oxidation, are so vital to our health. Enter kaempferol! The scientific interest in kaempferol centers around its antioxidant ability and how it reduces free radical formation.
Kaempferol and Cancer
A review of kaempferol found that it can control and modify critical processes, including apoptosis (cell death), inflammation, and metastasis (cancer spread) — big words that spell bad news for our bodies. But, significantly, kaempferol helps stop the growth of cancer cells while also preserving normal cells. Some studies show it even has a protective effect in some cases.
That’s why studies link a decrease in various human cancers with consuming vegetables and fruits high in kaempferol. In other words, research implies that the more kaempferol you eat, the lower your risk of developing cancer.
- Colon cancer: A 2014 study proved benefits from kaempferol in human colon cancer cells.
- Breast cancer: Breast cancer spreads with the assistance of compounds called Matrix metalloproteinases, or MMPs for short. Kaempferol slows down metastasis, or the cancer cell’s invasion into other cells, by blocking MMPs.
- Prostate cancer: In Biomedical Reports 2015, a study showed that kaempferol could block prostate cell growth to some degree.
- Alzheimer’s disease: Researchers at Rush University Medical Center demonstrated a link between dietary measures and staying cognitively intact. Kale, beans, tea, spinach, and broccoli, the highest sources of kaempferol, resulted in a 51 percent drop in the risk of developing Alzheimer’s!
Kaempferol and Inflammation
In addition to fending off cancer, kaempferol is also well-known for its anti-inflammatory effects. Doctors associate inflammation with a range of severe health issues, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hypertension.
- A 2019 report says kaempferol demonstrated beneficial effects on chronic inflammatory diseases, including intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration, post-menopausal bone loss and colitis, and acute inflammatory diseases, including acute lung injury (ALI).
- In this 2020 study, kaempferol’s ability to battle oxidative stress and interact with central inflammatory processes makes it a pivotal contender to treat symptoms of disorders associated with chronic immune activation.
What Foods are High in Kaempferol?
If you’re looking to add kaempferol to your diet, you need to eat your veggies. The top 25 most kaempferol-dense foods are all vegetables. Kaempferol is abundant in:
- Kale, spinach, and endive
- Red and pinto beans
- Onions and leeks
- Green beans
- Dill, chives, and tarragon
- Aloe and gingko biloba
- Cherries and blueberries
What is the Best Form of Kaempferol?
- The richest plant sources of kaempferol are green leafy vegetables, including spinach, kale, and herbs such as dill, chives, and tarragon.
- The leaves of wild leeks or ramps contain 32.5 mg of kaempferol (per 100 grams fresh weight), and endives contain 24.6 mg.
- A report on the bioavailability of kaempferol indicates that kaempferol in tea has the highest absorption rate, followed by endives and broccoli.
How the Body Processes Kaempferol
Most of the kaempferol in plants is attached to sugar moieties, and the differences in these sugars affect how well our bodies absorb the flavonoids in the plant. Our bodies absorb flavonoids like kaempferol through the gastrointestinal tract, which delivers them to the surrounding blood to reach target tissues.
A kaempferol study where participants ate endive soup showed the body mainly absorbs this flavonoid from the distal section of the small intestine. Furthermore, most participants displayed remarkably consistent pharmacokinetic profiles, meaning humans can absorb kaempferol reasonably efficiently.
How to Consume Cannabis to Get the Most Kaempferol Absorbed Into Your Body
Kaempferol has a lot of health benefits to offer, and you’re probably wondering what method of consuming cannabis allows you to reap them most effectively. The general rule of thumb says that eating cannabis is the best way to get the most flavonoids because while smoking flower can activate some flavonoids, it can also burn them up. Depending on the preparation, tinctures can serve as another route to maximize your flavonoid intake.
How Often Should I Take Kaempferol?
Kaempferol is non-toxic, and it’s already present in healthy foods at high levels, so it’s safe to say that getting more of this essential substance into your system is not a bad idea. While there is no established optimal dosage for kaempferol and other such flavonoids, you can generally find supplements with daily dosage recommendations ranging from 100 mg to 1,000 mg.
The Bottom Line
Kaempferol is a significant flavonoid found in many plants, including vegetables, fruits, and cannabis. It offers powerful antioxidant properties that battle free radicals, reducing inflammation, preventing early signs of aging, and stopping cancer cell growth.
Drinking tea and eating a diet rich in leafy greens will help you absorb more kaempferol into your body. Still, you might also consider taking supplements or eating cannabis edibles to increase your kaempferol intake.
At ACS Laboratory, we test for 16 flavonoids, including kaempferol and quercetin. As a CLIA-licensed laboratory, we can also perform human trials on the bioavailability of these flavonoids, which is an integral part of pharmacokinetics, the study of drug movement through the body. These studies allow us to draw conclusions based on the actual science and not just anecdotal research.