Pectin is basically a naturally occurring complex form of carbohydrate present in most plants. The highest concentrations are found in the pulp and peel of ripened citrus fruits. Take note that pectin is mainly utilized in the food industry as a component in jellies, jams and other products. When in its natural form, pectin is considered as an indigestible dietary fiber. The modified citrus pectin is a dietary supplement produced by changing the pH and polysaccharide structure of pectin in order to make it readily digestible. The modified citrus pectin is relatively safe but just like with other forms of dietary supplements, there have been few side effects reported.
Allergic reaction to citrus pectin
The modified citrus pectin can trigger hypersensitivity. If an individual is allergic to citrus fruits or to any of the components present in the citrus pectin compounds, it is best to avoid the supplement. Some individuals experienced asthmaafter being exposed to powdered pectin.
In some cases, abdominal discomfort or diarrhea was noted. Since modified citrus pectin is available as a dietary supplement, the manufacturers were not required to establish safety or effectiveness as long as there is no claim on the prevention or treatment of certain diseases. It is important to note these supplements are not regulated, thus there might be consistencies in the additives or ingredients used which can trigger allergic reactions. By enrolling in a first aid course, you will know the appropriate steps to take in case of an allergic reaction.
The modified citrus pectin can prevent or minimize the absorption of both over-the-counter and prescription medications. Even though there is limited research conducted on humans, there is proof that pectin can help reduce the cholesterol levels. It is best to be careful when mixing cholesterol-reducing agents with the citrus pectin.
Pectin can elevate the elimination of unsafe metals such as mercury, lead and arsenic. Based on studies conducted, it was discovered that there is a reduction in the amount of toxic heavy metal among those who use modified citrus pectin. Even though there were no side effects, care must be observed when using modified citrus pectin along with chelating agents that can drastically increase the urinary elimination of metals. A doctor must be consulted before combining pectin with any herbs, drugs or supplements.
Effects on fetuses and infants
Based on medical studies, the effects on taking citrus pectin during pregnancy is questionable, thus pregnant women should not take it as a supplement. Take note that the effects on the development of the fetus or breast-feeding infants are not also determined.
It is important to note that modified citrus pectin is a dietary fiber thus high amounts can lead to diarrhea due to its laxative effect. Stop using if the individual experiences gastric intolerance or loose stools for more than 24 hours. A reaction to the fiber content in modified citrus pectin can trigger electrolyte or fluid loss which results to fecal impaction or constipation, especially among the elderly.
Other health issues
Using citrus pectin alone as a treatment for certain diseases and avoiding the use of standard medical care can lead to serious health issue. Remember that the use of modified citrus pectin for tumor reduction, prostate cancer or other forms of cancer is regarded as experimental. Supervision by a doctor is required when using modified citrus pectin for managing any type of disease.