Apigenin – A Cancer Fighting Phytonutrient

Apigenin is a powerful cancer fighting phytonutrient (a group of non-essential chemical compounds which are found in plants and have a variety of health benefits) that can also prevent allergies, protect the body’s cells and more. In this article I will be providing a full breakdown of apigenin and outlining its main functions, the richest food sources and the potentially adverse effects of consuming too much.


Apigenin was initially discovered along with the other flavonoids in 1938 by Albert Szent-Gyorgyi. Upon discovering the flavonoid, Gyorgyi thought he had discovered a new vitamin and gave them the name vitamin P. However, it was later discovered that flavonoids were not essential to human health and therefore not vitamins.


Like many flavones, apigenin is a powerful antioxidant which protects your body from damaging free radicals (harmful by-products that are released during oxygen related reactions). It can also prevent multiply types of cancer such as breast cancer, colon cancer, leaukaemia, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer and thyroid cancer. Additionally, apigenin is a powerful anti-inflammatory (a substance that reduces unnecessary inflammation in the body’s cells) and antispasmodic (a substance which prevents muscle spasms). Finally it can prevent allergies (such as asthma, food allergies and seasonal allergies), prevent atherosclerosis (a condition where hard plaques from in your artery walls and restrict the flow of blood which can then increase your heart disease risk) and protect your body’s deoxyribonucleic acid (the body’s main genetic information carrier that is also known as DNA).


Apigenin can be found in various plant based foods with green leafy vegetables often being the best source. Some of the apigenin foods include artichokes (4.7 milligrams (mg) per 100 grams (g)), green celery hearts (19.1mg per 100g), parsley (225.93mg per 100g), peppermint (8.71mg per 100g), vine spinach (62.2mg per 100g) and red wine (1.33mg per 100g).


Consuming large amounts of apigenin can interfere with cancer fighting agents and actually negate the cancer protecting properties of this flavone.


Although apigenin is not considered essential to human health it is still a highly beneficial nutrient. It can protect you against cancer, oxidative damage and much more. It is also relatively easy to add apigenin to your diet with parsley and peppermint both being excellent sources that can go with almost any meal. So if you don’t currently get enough apigenin in your diet consider making some changes and start reaping the rewards of this powerful flavone.