Abscisic Acid – Important Factor In Survival Of Plants


Abscisic Acid Overview

Abscisic Acid (ABA), also known as dormin, is a plant hormone that plays an important role in most plant developmental processes. Without ABA, plants would likely succumb to various damaging environmental stresses, like poor soil moisture, or salty soil.

What Is Abscisic Acid?

Essentially, Abscisic Acid is involved in almost every process meant to help the plant survive. These are many of the effects in plants:

— Induces Stomatal Closure, Preventing Water Loss
— Inhibits Fruit Ripening
— Delays Cell Vision
— Down-regulates Enzymes Needed For Photosynthesis
— Inhibits The Synthesis Of Kinetin
— Inhibits Seed Germination

Why Abscisic Acid is Important

Plants are inherently susceptible to damage in a variety of ways. Many plants will due if the weather is too hot or too dry, while others will die when the oil becomes too acidic or the temperature drops below freezing. Abscisic acid is an important factor in determining whether or not plants will survive.

Weather Preparation

When the fall months start to bring cooler temperatures, ABA helps plants shed leaves, flowers, and fruits. Without this process, abscission would occur, and branches would break down to excess weight of snow and ice. ABA tells plants to shut down under these conditions.

Bud Protection

When cold weather approaches, ABA also sends the buds of a plant into a dormant state as well. New sections of growth will fold in until the warmer spring months to protect themselves from any environmental damage. ABA also helps prevent buds from being fooled to sprout prematurely when a warm spell occurs in winter.

Seed Germination/Development

ABA, in addition to protecting plants, is essential for future generations of plants. ABA helps plant seeds mature and also, like their parent plants, stay dormant when environmental factors are causing stress, or when the temperature becomes too cold for them to survive.

Human Uses for Abscisic Acid

ABA is more important for plants than humans, although research has been found in animals, including mammals. Humans have a small amount of ABA, although the biological role and its’ biosynthesis are poorly known.

ABA has been shown to cause anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic effects in mouse models of diabetes/obesity, IBD, and atherosclerosis. However, current research is very conflicting, with roughly half of the studies involving ABA claiming it has pro-inflammatory effects, while the other half show anti-inflammatory effects.

Researchers are still not 100% sure where ABA fits in the picture, but it is currently the subject of numerous studies, and some researchers believe it may be a game changer.

Abscisic Acid and Naturopathy

Despite a lack of compelling evidence, ABA has become very popular in naturopathy. While it is true that ABA has clear biological activities and that many naturopathic remedies will contain high levels of ABA (wheatgrass, fruits and vegetables, etc), most of the health claims are exaggerated or overly optimistic.

For example, its’ anti-cancer properties are poorly supported by loose research that is hardly credible. Other health claims made by naturopathic supporters are just as poorly supported.

Abscisic Acid Supplements

Since there is little evidence to support the claims that abscisic acid has any benefit in humans, there’s no reason to purchase supplements that are high in abscisic acid. Realistically, we need to wait a few years for ABA research to be finalized and published.

Until then, we simply don’t know whether ABA actually has any true benefits, and the notion that it can cure cancer is dangerous.

Don’t feel like you need to put much thought or effort into ABA. It’s still hardly understood and until we learn more, you’ll only be wasting your money buying supplements like wheatgrass, which are high in ABA, but have little proven benefits.

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