What is Ferulic Acid?
Ferulic acid is used in a number of skin care products that are designed to protect and repair skin damaged by exposure to the sun’s UV rays. It is a small molecule naturally produced by most plants, found most commonly in the bark and wood of larger plants, the seeds of fruits like apples and oranges and the hard, outer casing of grains. In plants it used to give strength and structure to different parts of the plant but in humans it can act as an antioxidant. Flax seeds contain the most ferulic acid per kg and the ferulic acid used in products is commonly extracted from grains like wheat and maize.
What does it do?
Much like vitamins C and E, ferulic acid acts as an antioxidant, preventing damage caused by ‘free radicals’ (very reactive compounds caused by UV rays, pollution or smoking). Free radicals attack the DNA in your cells causing breaks and mutations. Your immune system naturally repairs this damage but in doing so it also damages the collagen and elastin in your skin. This leads to premature skin aging, wrinkles and sagging.
Evidence suggests that creams with antioxidants like ferulic acid can help defend against the initial free radical damage and lower the collagen damage that would normally follow. Ferulic acid is usually used in combination with other antioxidants like vitamins C and E. This is because it helps make those vitamins more stable, giving a better and longer lasting protection to free radical damage.
Ferulic acid has no reported side effects. It is however made from grains like wheat and maize so if you have an allergy to those plants you may also be allergic to any products containing ferulic acid.
Interactions with other medicines:
There is some evidence to suggest that ferulic might interfere with the type 2 diabetes drug nateglinide by slowing its movement around the body but not much has been done to further study this effect. There is also evidence that it works to increase the effects of other diabetes drugs like metformin and Thiazolidinedione.
Some other names it goes by:
2-propenoic acid, 3-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)-
ferulic acid, 3-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)-2-propenoic acid, 3-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)acrylic acid, 3-methoxy-4-hydroxycinnamic acid, 4-hydroxy-3-methoxycinnamic acid, (2E)-3-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)-2-propenoic acid, Ferulate, Coniferic acid, trans-ferulic acid, (E)-ferulic acid