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Vanillin is an organic compound contained in vanilla beans. It is one of the most flavorful and aromatic substances used in the food industry. Vanillin appears in everything from soda pop to baked goods.
Even though ancient civilizations like the Aztecs had been using vanilla beans in their cooking for centuries, the isolated compound vanillin was first put into use in the mid-19th century. The first commercially processed vanillin came from a German manufacturer in 1876.
In addition to being a common food flavoring, vanillin is frequently used in many other industries. The pharmaceutical industry uses vanillin to mask certain unpleasant flavors contained in over-the-counter medicines, and the nutritional supplement industry follows suit.
Vanillin is used in the agricultural industry as an ingredient in animal feed. At the industrial level, vanillin is used as an intermediate chemical compound for pharmaceutical manufacturing as well as a compound used to synthesize other chemical compounds.
Vanillin is also used as an ingredient in aromatherapy oils, perfumes, detergents, cleansers, and soap. Vanillin is truly one of those natural substances with an almost immeasurable variety of uses.
Vanillin is considered a polyphenol, which means it has high antioxidant properties and is believed to help discourage the formation of tumors. Antioxidants are a favorite in the medical and healthy living communities due to the fact that they control the number of free radicals in the human body.
Free radicals have been linked to tissue breakdown, many chronic illnesses, and even the formation of some cancers. Therefore, antioxidants like vanillin are promoted as being beneficial to overall good health.
A 2004 study looked at the possible benefits of vanillin in treating septic shock, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease. Although the study proved inconclusive, the findings were encouraging to some extent.
Researchers found that as an antioxidant, vanillin inhibited the reaction of several chemical compounds in the brain which aided in the progression of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. The study further suggests that other antioxidants with similar properties to could be equally useful in treating such diseases.
One of the more controversial issues surrounding vanillin is its efficacy as a weight loss aid. This can be largely attributed to those within the medical community who blame free radicals for every malady known to man. They believe that obesity is sometimes caused by DNA damage from free radicals, and postulate that by using antioxidants to reduce these free radicals, the obese individuals can lose weight. This is all pure speculation.
Vanillin is another one of these substances which is not normally used as a dietary supplement. Most of us get copious amounts of it into systems from our normal, daily diets.
However, it is possible to find some supplements geared toward overall good health that contain vanillin or vanilla extract. When supplement makers use it for this purpose, it is most often because of its antioxidant properties. The amount of vanillin in such supplements will vary.
If you wish to ingest vanillin for its antioxidant properties, you can do so by simply adding vanilla extract to your kitchen spice rack. Finding recipes that make use of it is easy enough, and will ensure that you get a healthy dose on a regular basis. Most of us will get more than enough vanillin without altering our diet or purchasing supplements.
Fortunately, vanillin and vanilla extract are safe to use in normally healthy people. The only reported side effect is that it can induce migraines in some people who are sensitive to it. According to the National Institutes of Health, such migraines can be moderate to severe depending on the individual reactions.
People who suspect vanillin might be causing them to suffer migraine headaches can know for sure by documenting everything they eat over a course of several weeks and making note of when their migraines occur.
The possibility of vanillin toxicity was undertaken by European researchers in the 1960s who found that it is technically possible to develop the condition. However, researchers had to give such large amounts of vanillin to lab rats to produce toxicity as to make it nearly impossible in human beings.
We would simply have to consume incredible amounts of vanillin! Nevertheless, the Food and Drug Administration does require that vanillin and vanilla extract content be labeled clearly on any foods that contain them.
As with any substance, organic or otherwise, vanillin should be used in moderation. Although no known side effects have been documented for vanillin overdose, that doesn't mean there aren't any. To locate and compare products which contain vanillin, use the supplement finder now!