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Maple Syrup: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Smita Barode

By Dr Smita Barode +2 more


Throughout North-eastern North America, you can find a tree called the sugar maple (Acer saccharum). The sap (liquid present in the tree) of this tree is used to produce maple syrup which is one of the most consumed natural sweeteners worldwide. Boiling the sap of this tree gives maple syrup and forms an important part of traditional medicine.1 Maple syrup contains sucrose, oligosaccharides, amino acids, mineral, vitamins and phytochemicals. However, all maple syrup is not the same and the composition of maple syrup changes with the climatic condition and season of production. These differences contribute to the difference in the aroma, colour and taste of the maple syrup.1  

maple syrup benefits

There are different grades of maple syrup depending on the colour and flavour. The grades range from light-coloured, dark-coloured, and strongly flavoured maple syrup. Regardless of the grade, it might possess health benefits. The following sections will discuss various aspects of maple syrup.1

Nutritional Value of Maple Syrup: 

The total energy obtained from 100g of maple syrup is 333 kcal. The following nutrients are present in maple syrup. 

Nutrient Content 
Sugars 88.33 g 
Carbohydrates 88.33 g 
Calcium 100 mg 
Iron 1.2 mg 
Sodium 8 mg 

Table 2: Depicting the nutrients present in 100ml of maple syrup2 

Also Read: Gulkand: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Smita Barode

I may give you a secret tip for choosing the healthiest maple syrup: go for the darker ones! A study discovered that darker syrups might contain higher levels of beneficial antioxidants compared to lighter syrups. So, by opting for the darker syrup, you may get an extra dose of those good-for-you antioxidants to support your health.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Properties of Maple Syrup: 

Maple syrup might have the following properties: 

  • It might help lower the blood sugar levels 
  • It might have an anti-cancer potential 
  • It might be rich in antioxidants  
  • It might be antibiotic 
  • It might be anti-inflammatory 
  • It might help against nerve damage(anti-neurodegenerative) 
  • It might help against damage of DNA (antimutagenic)1 

Also Read: Dried Dates: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh

Potential Uses of Maple Syrup for Overall Health: 

The presence of various bioactive components in maple syrup might be of helpful to human health in the following aspects 

1. Potential uses of maple syrup for diabetes 

Abscisic acid is a bioactive compound that might be beneficial for human health. In 2007, Guri et al. found in their studies that maple syrup might have enough concentration of abscisic acid.  Later, at Laval University, Dr Yves Desjardin conducted research and found that the high levels of abscisic acid in maple syrup might be helpful for metabolic syndromes and the fight against diabetes. This is because it might promote the absorption of sugar by muscles. Therefore, maple syrup might be helpful for diabetes. However, more research is required to prove these effects. Moreover, the serious condition of diabetes must be treated by a doctor.3   

2. Potential uses of maple syrup for oxidative stress 

A study by Abou-Zaid showed that maple syrup contains a wide range of phenolic compounds. These compounds act as antioxidants and might neutralise the free radicals, thus maple syrup lowers oxidative stress. Therefore, maple syrup might be a healthier choice.3But do not self-medicate.  

3. Potential uses of maple syrup for the heart  

Maple syrup contains minerals like zinc and manganese and these minerals might prove to be good for the heart. Zinc is needed for the proper functioning of the cells of the blood vessel (endothelial cells). It may safeguard the inner linings of blood vessels (LDL, i.e., bad cholesterol) and might help in atherosclerosis (blocking of blood vessels by fat deposition). Manganese might also play a role in heart health by potentially influencing the amount of good cholesterol (HDL) in the blood. Therefore, maple syrup might aid in the maintenance of heart health.3 However, if you have heart problems consult a doctor before taking maple syrup. 

4. Potential uses of maple syrup for immunity 

Studies have shown that zinc is vital for the immune system and may influence the number of white blood cells. Whereas manganese present in the maple syrup might also act as an immunostimulant (activate immunity) which, may also help in healing and lessen the inflammation. Overall, the presence of both zinc and manganese in maple syrup might be good human body.3  

5. Potential uses of maple syrup as a probiotic 

Probiotics are good bacteria that help digestion, and the immune system and are good for the maintenance of overall health. Researchers on maple syrup showed that it might have the potential to use in the development of probiotics. Most of the probiotics available on the market are dairy-based, and maple syrup as a probiotic might open new avenues. However, further research is required on this subject to develop maple syrup-based probiotics.3 

6. Potential uses of maple syrup for cancer 

A few studies have revealed that maple syrup might have a potential anti-cancer effect. It was seen that maple syrup might help in reducing the growth of cancer cells by interfering with the signalling pathway.  It may affect the growth of gastrointestinal cancer cells. Therefore, it is hypothesised that maple syrup might be of help in developing anti-cancer drugs. However, these claims need to be scientifically backed up by more research.1Do not self-medicate.  

7. Other Potential Uses of Maple Syrup: 

Additionally, maple syrup might be potential in the following ways: 

  • Maple syrup contains zinc, which might be beneficial for men’s reproductive organ health. It might help against prostate cancer and may also help in reducing the size of the prostate. 
  • Maple syrup might help in flushing out toxins from the body.  
  • It might also help in weight management. However, more research is required to prove these effects. 

Though there are studies that show the potential uses of maple syrup in various conditions, these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of maple syrup on human health.

Also Read: Pine Nuts: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh 

How to Use Maple Syrup? 

You can simply add maple syrup instead of sugar as it is a natural sweetener. It is usually added to breakfast cereals, over pancakes, desserts, cakes, etc.  

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking maple syrup in large quantities. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.   

I stumbled upon a study that looked into the effects of maple syrup extract (MSX) on Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The researchers found that when MSX was orally administered to mice with AD-like symptoms, it might reduce brain inflammation by decreasing the expression of certain inflammatory proteins. These findings suggest that MSX may hold potential as a dietary intervention for AD, but more research is needed to fully understand its benefits and implications.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Side Effects of Maple Syrup: 

There are no specific side effects of maple syrup stated. However, if you notice anything out of the ordinary after consuming maple syrup you should immediately consult a doctor. Moreover, it is advised that you consult your doctor and confirm if maple syrup is good for you. 

Precautions to Take with Maple Syrup:  

 General precautions should be exercised while consuming maple syrup for the first time. Moreover, it is better to consult a doctor and confirm if it is safe for you to consume maple syrup, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. You should be extra cautious before giving it to children as well. Kindly consult a doctor. 

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

You should consult a doctor before taking medicines if you are undergoing any treatment or medication. Maple syrup might have an unknown effect on certain drugs. More research is required to claim such effects of maple syrup on other drugs. 

Also Read: Strawberry: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Smita Barode

Frequently Asked Questions: 

1) What are the maple syrup health benefits? 

Maple syrup might help by acting as an antioxidant, anti-diabetic, probiotic, immunity-enhancer, anti-cancer agent and anti-atherosclerotic agent. However, more research is needed to establish the presence of these properties in maple syrup.1,3 

2) Is maple syrup natural? 

Yes, maple syrup is a natural sweetener. It is the sap (liquid of the tree) obtained from a tree called sugar maple (Acer saccharum) which is mainly found in North-eastern North America.1 

3) What are the nutrients of maple syrup? 

The nutrients such as sugar and carbohydrates, minerals such as zinc, calcium, iron, sodium,  and many more bioactive components are present in maple syrup.2 

4) Can we use maple syrup for weight loss? 

Some reports claim that it might help in weight management and these reports need to be proved by more research.3 It is advised that you consult your doctor and confirm whether it is safe for you to use maple syrup for weight management. 

5) Are there any maple syrup benefits for diabetes? 

Maple syrup might be helpful to people with diabetes. It might help in stimulating the pancreatic cells to release insulin and increase muscle sugar absorption. These actions might be beneficial against diabetes.3 However, further research is to be carried out to claim the action of maple syrup in diabetic people.  

6) Does maple syrup have a good effect on the skin? 

There is no evidence or reports regarding the effect of maple syrup on the skin. There is a need for more research on this subject. 


1. Yamamoto T, Sato K, Kubota Y, Mitamura K, Taga A. Effect of dark-coloured maple syrup on cell proliferation of human gastrointestinal cancer cell. Biomed Reports [Internet]. 2017 Jul;7(1):6–10. Available from: https://www.spandidos-publications.com/10.3892/br.2017.910 

2. 100% Pure Maple Syrup [Internet]. U.S. Department of Agriculture. [cited 2022 Aug 17]. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/460331/nutrients 

3. International Maple Syrup Institute. NUTRITION AND HEALTH BENEFITS OF PURE MAPLE SYRUP [Internet]. 2016. Available from: http://www.internationalmaplesyrupinstitute.com/downloadable-resources.html 

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