Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Does fruit and veg chemical fight cancer?

"A healthy fruit and vegetables diet could help guard against one of the deadliest cancers," the Daily Express has today reported. The newspaper says this is due to "a potent super-nutrient" found in these foods.

This story is based on research into a chemical called luteolin that is found in a wide variety of plants. The substance has already been found to reduce the growth of bowel cancer cells in the laboratory, and this new study attempted to confirm how it disrupted these cancer cells. In particular, the researchers concentrated on a cellular process that blocks cells from dying naturally and causes cancers to form. After testing luteolin on bowel cancer cells the researchers found that it interfered with this process, which effectively helps to control a cell's life and death.

The Daily Express has reported that a luteolin-rich diet prevents cancer, but this research was carried out in cells in the laboratory, and did not test the effect of the compound in humans. Also, the luteolin used in this research was in a highly concentrated pure dose, and not from dietary sources. The study demonstrates how pure luteolin reduces the growth of bowel cancer cells in the laboratory, but does not show that a diet high in luteolin-containing vegetables can prevent cancer.

However, there is a great deal of existing research supporting a link between fruit and vegetables and benefits such as a reduced risk of bowel cancer. On this basis, there is already enough evidence to recommend including fruit and vegetables as part of a balanced diet.

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