Monday, October 1, 2007

Wham: Plant Ingredients (Flavonols) Shown Highly Effective Against Pancreatic Cancer Risk

A large study reported on in the American Journal of Epidemiology indicates that the benefits of eating foods like apples, onions, and berries may cut the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by about 25 per cent. Interestingly, smokers (who have always had a higher incidence of pancreatic cancer) had an even higher risk reduction--over 59 per cent--from the same foods.

This study provides evidence for a preventive effect of flavonols on pancreatic cancer, particularly for current smokers. With pancreatic cancer, a cancer with the worst prognosis overall, prevention is the key because diagnosis is not generally made until too late.

This new study was a multiethnic cohort study of 183,518 residents of California and Hawaii. It reports that subjects with the highest consumption of flavonols had significant risk reductions, compared to the lowest consumption, with smokers particularly benefiting from flavonol-rich diets.

The researchers followed these patients and their nutritional intake for an average of eight years, with 529 incident cases of pancreatic cancer documented in the study population. This is the first study to examine specific classes of flavonols (quercetin, found in onions and apples; kaempferol, found in spinach and some cabbages; and myricetin, found mostly in red onions and berries) and their effect upon pancreatic cancer risk.

Of the three individual flavonols, they report that kaempferol was associated with the largest risk reduction (22 per cent) across all participants. The interaction with smoking status was statistically significant for total flavonols, quercetin and kaempferol. While no mechanistic study was performed by the researchers, the scientists believe that the anti-cancer effects of these compounds may lie in their ability to the inhibit cell cycle, cell proliferation and oxidative stress. They called for further epidemiological studies in other populations and geographic regions to confirm the findings.

Interest in flavonoids is growing in scientific labs all over the world, as researchers continue to find that plants have a huge benefit to humans and the risk of disease.


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