Magazine, Molecules

What is apigenin?

Apigenin Parsley Extract Supplement Moleqlar Longevity

Apigenin belongs to the family of flavonoids and occurs naturally in plants such as parsley and camomile. It is also found in thyme, cherries, tea, olives and broccoli.

The molecule is one of a number of promising secondary plant substances that are currently being intensively screened for their health-promoting effects. These include resveratrol, which has been the subject of much research by Prof. David Sinclair. Studies have shown that apigenin can positively influence molecular processes in various ways. You can find out exactly how here.

The flavonoid family - potent molecules from nature

Flavonoids are a large group of molecules that belong to the secondary plant substances plant substances. In nature, they are responsible for UV protection, coloration and defense against pests.

In recent decades, science has been able to decipher more and more of the benefits of a plant and protein-rich diet on our health. One of the main factors in this is the secondary plant substances, which also have numerous benefits for our bodies. Let's take a closer look. What does apigenin do in the body and why are some clinical trials with this molecule currently underway?

Flavonoids Secondary plant substances Moleqlar
Secondary plant substances such as flavonoids are hidden in many well-known types of fruit and vegetables.

Apigenin and CD38

The NAD metabolism is one of the most important in modern ageing research. In short, the co-enzyme NAD is involved in all kinds of metabolic processes, especially energy production within the mitochondria. In old age, NAD levels decrease in various ways - and with them the energy level.

One starting point for higher NAD levels is the enzyme CD38. This is not the 38th compact disk of our body, but the abbreviation stands for "cluster of differentiation". These surface features (CDs) are used by our cells as a recognition feature and at the same time they can enable biochemical reactions in our body.

CD38 is responsible for the degradation of NAD and this degradation appears to increase with age. One hypothesis of the researchers is that the activity of CD38 is boosted by the silent inflammation, or "inflammaging", which increases with age.(R) Apigenin can help here, as it inhibits CD38 both directly and indirectly. In an experiment with mice given the molecule, their NAD levels were significantly higher than in the control group. At the same time, Sirt3, a representative of the longevity genes, was activated by apigenin.(R)

Did you know? NAD metabolism is complex and not always easy to understand. However, higher NAD levels have been linked to better health in several studies. More energy for your mitochondria, whether in muscle or nerve cells, more powerful heart cells and a boost for the liver.

The studies have shown three possible starting points for increasing NAD levels. Firstly, supplementation of precursors. Secondly, activation of enzymes that produce NAD and thirdly, inhibition of degradation. All three approaches are combined in the innovatively formulated regeNAD (NAD Regenerating Complex) from MoleQlar. However, NAD levels should be measured before supplementation.

Apigenin in science

Apigenin has aroused the interest of researchers due to its diverse mode of action. Apigenin is currently being tested in various clinical trials on humans. Some of these are

  • Alzheimer's research: In this study, participants take apigenin twice a day for 24 months
  • Insomnia (sleeplessness ): A dose of 2.5mg apigenin is tested to improve sleep
  • Knee osteoarthritis: taking apigenin three times a day could reduce the need for painkillers
  • Anxiety disorder and depression: An effect was shown for both. Apigenin in the form of chamomile extract was able to reduce anxiety and depression symptoms.

As we can see, apigenin has proven to be effective in various areas. But why is that? To find out, we need to delve a little deeper into the metabolic pathways that are influenced by apigenin.

Regeneration Sleep Recreation
Sleep is a hugely important part of a healthy daily routine. In addition to classics such as magnesium, apigenin is also promising for improving sleep quality.

IL-6, COX-2 and Nrf2 - abbreviations that provide a deeper insight

Don't worry, all these shortcuts to metabolic pathways may seem complicated at first glance, but the deeper insight into biochemistry is worthwhile. Then we will be able to better understand where apigenin can help - and where it can't.

IL-6 - Down with the inflammation levels

Apigenin has been shown in several studies to reduceinflammation (anti-inflammatory). It does this via various signaling pathways, one of the most effective being the inhibition of interleukin-6. IL-6 is a messenger substance that our immune cells use to communicate with each other. Excessive, chronic IL-6 levels can be one of the reasons for the "inflammaging" that occurs in old age. Another target of apigenin is the downregulation or attenuation of NF-κB (nuclear factor 'kappa-light-chain-enhancer' of activated B-cells). NF-κB is also involved in the immune response.

By the way: our body's own hormone cortisol can bind NF-κB and thus prevent an excessive immune response.

COX-2 - pain relief

In one study, apigenin was able to reduce the need for painkillers in knee osteoarthritis. This effect is best explained by its effect on the enzyme COX-2 (cyclooxygenase-2). The inhibition of COX-2 leads to a lower production of inflammatory mediators. For this reason, specific drugs from the group of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have also been developed to inhibit cyclooxygenase.

Apigenin has a lesser effect in comparison and is therefore not a substitute for these medications. When taking such painkillers, you should always consult your trusted doctor.

Knee joint glucosamine cartilage
In addition to glucosamine as a building block of cartilage, apigenin is also an exciting molecule as a support for osteoarthritis.

Nrf2 - Activation of protective factors

Nrf2 (Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2) is an important transcription factor that regulates the genes for detoxification and combating oxidative stress. Apigenin activates this pathway.

The Nrf2 activation pathway is the subject of intensive research and offers significant health benefits. It protects cells from oxidative stress, which is caused by free radicals and can lead to cell damage and disease. It also supports the detoxification processes of harmful substances in the body.

In this study(R), for example, it was shown how apigenin can help the body with NAFLD. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most common diseases in the western world. Increased fat accumulation in the liver can lead to inflammatory processes that cause the liver to stiffen over a long period of time. Apigenin was able to bind Nrf2 in the liver cells, resulting in less fatty degeneration and less oxidative stress.

Did you know? Two other potent activators of the Nrf2 signaling pathway also come from the plant kingdom. One is resveratrol, which is extracted from grapes. resveratrol and sulforaphane, which is abundant in broccoli.

The latter must be absorbed from the broccoli via an intermediate step. Sulforaphane is naturally present in the form of glucoraphanin. However, this molecule does not have the health-promoting effects. Sulforaphane is only produced when glucoraphanin is converted by the enzyme myrosinase. With Sulforapro you get both molecules in one capsule! This increases the bioavailability of sulforaphane.

Apigenin as support for the immune system

In addition to its anti-inflammatory effect, apigenin can also support the immune system. It does this in several ways.

On the one hand, this study(R) showed that apigenin intervenes directly in the metabolism of influenza viruses. Apigenin could therefore have antiviral properties that can shield us somewhat from influenza viruses.

In this review(R), various studies on the effect of apigenin on our microbiome were summarized. The researchers found anti-parasitic, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties of apigenin. The extent to which apigenin can contribute to a healthier microbiome is currently the subject of further research.

Microbiome Bacteria Intestinal villi
Our microbiome is a breathtaking collection of billions of different bacteria. Apigenin also seems to have a hand in this.

Apigenin and sleep

Chamomile tea in the evening is supposed to make it easier to sleep. But why is that?

The answer is most likely hidden in the molecule apigenin. This is contained in camomile and is said to have stress-reducing and relaxing properties.

Apigenin can enter our brain via the blood-brain barrier, where it acts on GABA receptors. These are inhibitory receptors, i.e. they dampen certain signals. This is probably the reason why apigenin in the form of chamomile extract could help with sleep or anxiety disorders and depression.


Apigenin is an exciting molecule that is said to have great potential. The intake of the flavonoid does not appear to be toxic, even in higher quantities, and due to its diversity, apigenin offers itself as an all-rounder for healthier ageing. The molecular pathways behind this are currently being researched and it will be interesting to see where else apigenin proves to be effective.

Studies are being conducted on the treatment of diabetes, as apigenin has been shown to have a regulating effect on blood sugar. It also appears to stabilize the hormone production of the thyroid gland. Research into apigenin and its role as a neuroprotector in dementia is a major field. It will be interesting to see what further research reveals, as the initial data was very promising.


  • Salehi, Bahare et al. "The Therapeutic Potential of Apigenin." International journal of molecular sciences vol. 20,6 1305. 15 Mar. 2019, doi:10.3390/ijms20061305 Link
  • Singh, Deepti et al. "Apigenin in cancer prevention and therapy: A systematic review and meta-analysis of animal models." Critical reviews in oncology/hematology vol. 176 (2022): 103751. doi:10.1016/j.critrevonc.2022.103751 Link
  • Lee, In-Gu et al. "Apigenin's Therapeutic Potential Against Viral Infection." Frontiers in bioscience (Landmark edition) vol. 28,10 (2023): 237. doi:10.31083/j.fbl2810237 Link
  • Wang, Minqian et al. "A Review on Flavonoid Apigenin: Dietary Intake, ADME, Antimicrobial Effects, and Interactions with Human Gut Microbiota." BioMed research international vol. 2019 7010467. 16 Oct. 2019, doi:10.1155/2019/7010467 Link
  • Hsu, Man-Chen et al. "Apigenin ameliorates hepatic lipid accumulation by activating the autophagy-mitochondria pathway." Journal of food and drug analysis vol. 29,2 240-254. 15 Jun. 2021, doi:10.38212/2224-6614.3269 Link
  • Li, Bing Si et al. "Apigenin Alleviates Oxidative Stress-Induced Cellular Senescence via Modulation of the SIRT1-NAD[Formula: see text]-CD38 Axis." The American journal of Chinese medicine vol. 49.5 (2021): 1235-1250. doi:10.1142/S0192415X21500592 Link
  • Rahimi, Ali et al. "The effects of apigenin administration on the inhibition of inflammatory responses and oxidative stress in the lung injury models: a systematic review and meta-analysis of preclinical evidence." Inflammopharmacology vol. 30.4 (2022): 1259-1276. doi:10.1007/s10787-022-00994-0 Link
  • Huang, Daniel Q et al. "Global epidemiology of NAFLD-related HCC: trends, predictions, risk factors and prevention." Nature reviews. Gastroenterology & hepatology vol. 18.4 (2021): 223-238. doi:10.1038/s41575-020-00381-6 Link
  • Camacho-Pereira, Juliana et al. "CD38 Dictates Age-Related NAD Decline and Mitochondrial Dysfunction through an SIRT3-Dependent Mechanism." Cell metabolism vol. 23.6 (2016): 1127-1139. doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2016.05.006 Link
  • Ahmedy, Omaima A et al. "Apigenin attenuates LPS-induced neurotoxicity and cognitive impairment in mice via promoting mitochondrial fusion/mitophagy: role of SIRT3/PINK1/Parkin pathway." Psychopharmacology vol. 239,12 (2022): 3903-3917. doi:10.1007/s00213-022-06262-x Link


The images were purchased under licence from Canva.

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