Sacramento women are exploring the topic of how cruciferious vegetables help to prevent cancer.The hottest topic in nutrition research today is looking at foods that contain substances that prevent, inhibit, delay, or reverse cancer and some of the degenerative diseases such as heart disease. Who’s researching which cruciferous vegetables?
The topic that interests Sacramento women is called chemoprevention, but is not about chemicals from drugs. Instead the subject emphasizes naturally occurring substances in foods. Drug companies study the synthetic chemical agents in chemoprevention also, but nutritionists in Sacramento are more interested in chemopreventive foods.
Which foods are said to be chemopreventive? Try cruciferous vegetables in moderation. Scientists look at cruciferous vegetables to see which chemopreventive agents block cancer development.
According to a news release, from UC Davis Cancer Center, “Building a Better Vegetable,” cruciferous vegetables are being researched for their anti-cancer properties at UC Davis. While some universities only focus on studying what will lead to the next commercial drug, UC Davis also researches how compounds in vegetables and fruits might help to starve cancer cells, and slow down, or prevent tumor growth in people.
The broad studies and the numerous clinical trials at University of California, Davis, in the Sacramento-Davis regional area ongooing and in past years have shown that high consumption of these types of cruciferous vegetables is associated with lower rates of certain cancers such as colon, breast, lung, and prostate. The most recent studies are focusing now on apigenin and BITC that show a complementary cancer prevention inclination. Apigenin inhibits blood vessel growth (angiogenesis) in human ovarian cancer cells.
In another study of what happens to your body when you drink vegetable juices, last year, the University of California-Davis involved 90 healthy adults, ages 40-65 years. The Baylor study enrolled 81 adults (83.5% of whom were minority) with metabolic syndrome risk factors. The studies were supported in part by Campbell Soup Company and by resources provided from University of California-Davis and Baylor College of Medicine.
Researchers studying how cruciferous vegetables may prevent the risk of cancer cells multiplying focus on the ways these substances in food act to block cancer. One of the key substances in cruciferous vegetables that are being researched are indole-3-carbinol (I3C) and sulforaphane. These are natural compounds found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and other similar vegetables.
Also being researched are what scientists are calling anti-cancer compounds found in low concentrations in parsley, celery, and artichokes called apigenin. Another vegetable extract is benzyl isothiocynate (BITC) found in cruciferous vegetables.
BITC helps to destroy breast cancer cells by interfering with those cancer cell’s energy use by causing the cells to die off before they grow blood vessels and turn into tumors. When it comes to ovarian cancer, BITC stimulates the signaling molecules that tell cancer cells it’s time to disappear.
See the study published in the , Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2009 Feb 4;101(3):176-93. The study is online. See: “The role of STAT-3 in the induction of apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells by benzyl isothiocyanate.” The study concluded, “BITC induces apoptosis in some types of pancreatic cancer cells by inhibiting the STAT-3 signaling pathway.”
The study reported, “Benzyl isothiocyanate (BITC), a compound found in cruciferous vegetables, has been reported to have anticancer properties, but the mechanism whereby it inhibits growth of human pancreatic cancer cells is incompletely understood.”
That’s why continuing research is ongoing. Should you eat your cruciferous vegetables or eat them and also take supplements containing these plant extracts in higher dosages from what you’d get from a few servings of vegetables? That’s what scientists are trying to find out.
How much do you need of these substances? And do you need all the varieties of substances in the whole vegetables, or do extracts from supplements work as well as eating the living food?
Why these vegetable extracts are being researched is that they have been shown in numerous medical studies to have what scientists call a broad spectrum of power to prevent cancer at different stages of cancer’s development.
To read more in depth on how these vegetable extracts work on various types of cancers, see the article, “Powerful Advances in Natural Cancer Prevention,” by Tiesha D. Johnson, RN, BSN, published in Life Extension magazine, Special Winter Edition 2009-2010. You also can read the studies referenced in that article and look them up, or at least the studies’ abstracts online.