What is quinic acid?
According to Wikipedia, quinic acid is “a cyclitol, cyclic polyol, and a cyclohexanecarboxylic acid,” but for our purposes, we will not be delving too deeply into the fine points of chemical nomenclature. What is important to remember in this context is that quinic acid is a compound contained in a wide variety of plants and is not known to be produced endogenously by the human body. Coffee beans are one important dietary source of quinic acid.
What are the effects of human consumption of quinic acid?
In the past decade, a strong case has been made that quinic acid promotes DNA repair , and that this effect is mediated by the biotransformation of quinic acid into the antioxidants tryptophan and nicotinamide by microflora in the GI tract. Incidentally, nicotinamide is the amide of nicotinic acid, also known as vitamin B3 or niacin.
A short list of fruits with quinic acid benefits:
The known antioxidant/DNA-repairing effects of metabolites of quinic acid make a strong case for consuming dietary sources of quinic acid. The aronia berry is one of the best botanical sources of quinic acid, with some authorities claiming that it contains up to ten times more quinic acid than cranberries (for example). Be forewarned that quinic acid has seen industrial use as an astringent, and that aronia berries have a strongly astringent taste.
Over time, we will probably gain a more detailed understanding of the biological role played by quinic acid, but as it stands, we know that this compound can be profoundly beneficial for health. With this in mind, the case for the consumption of aronia berries and other sources of quinic acid seems quite compelling.