Vanilla extract, pure, health benefit and medical uses by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
April 16, 2016

Vanilla is a flavoring derived from orchids in the genus Vanilla native to Mexico. The Coca-Cola Corporation is the world's largest customer of natural vanilla extract. Pure vanilla has a complex taste since it has over 200 organic components creating a unique flavor and aroma. Many of these compounds have antioxidant properties.

Vanilla extract information
Vanillin, the major constituent of vanilla beans, is one of the most important aromatic flavor compounds used in foods, beverages, perfumes, and pharmaceuticals and is produced on a scale of more than 10 thousand tons per year by the industry through chemical synthesis.

Other constituents in vanilla extract
Vanilla extract was has vanillic acid, 4-hydroxybenzyl alcohol, 4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzyl alcohol, 4-hydroxybenzaldehyde and vanillin.

J AOAC Int. 2008. Rapid method for the determination of coumarin, vanillin, and ethyl vanillin in vanilla extract by reversed-phase liquid chromatography with ultraviolet detection. A method is described for determining coumarin, vanillin, and ethyl vanillin in vanilla extract products. A product is diluted one-thousand-fold and then analyzed by reversed-phase liquid chromatography using a C18 column and a mobile phase consisting of 55% acetonitrile-45% aqueous acetic acid (1%) solution at a flow rate of 1.0 mL/min. Peaks are detected with a UV detector set at 275 nm. Vanilla extracts were spiked with 250, 500, and 1000 microg/g each of coumarin, vanillin, and ethyl vanillin. Recoveries averaged 97.4, 97.8, and 99.8% for coumarin, vanillin, and ethyl vanillin, respectively, with coefficient of variation values of 1.8, 1.3, and 1.3%, respectively. No significant difference was observed among the 3 spiking levels. A survey of 23 domestic and imported vanilla extract products was conducted using the method. None of the samples contained coumarin. The surveyed samples contained between 0.4 to 13.1 and 0.4 to 2.2 mg/g vanillin and ethyl vanillin, respectively.

Int J Biol Macromol. 2016. Vanillin restrains non-enzymatic glycation and aggregation of albumin by chemical chaperone like function. tVanillin a major component of vanilla bean extract is commonly used a natural flavoring agent. Glycation is known to induce aggregation and fibrillation of globular proteins such as albumin, hemoglobin. Here we report the inhibitory potential of vanillin toward early and advanced glycation modification and amyloid like aggregation of albumin based on the determination of both early and advanced glycation and conformational changes in albumin using circular dichroism. Inhibition of aggregation and fibrillation of albumin was determined based on amyloid specific dyes i.e., Congo red and Thioflavin T and microscopic imaging. It was evident that vanillin restrains glycation of albumin and exhibits protective effect toward its native conformation.