In recent research from The University of Texas at Austin, scientists find several natural compounds in turmeric, apple peels and red grapes could thwart the growth of prostate cancer, the most common cancer afflicting U.S. men.
The new study uses a novel analytical approach to screen plant-based chemicals instead of testing a single agent as many studies do.
The team discovers specific combinations that shrink prostate cancer tumors.
During the past decade, some cancer research has highlighted the potential therapies found in plants, including chemicals found in foods such as turmeric, apple peels, and green tea.
These compounds minimize one of the risk factors for cancer – inflammation within the body.
People who have chronic inflammation because of chronic infection, autoimmune disease or conditions such as obesity have a higher cancer risk because of damage to normal cells.
In this study, the researchers tested 142 natural compounds on the mouse and human cell lines to see which could inhibit prostate cancer cell growth when used alone or in combination with another nutrient.
The most promising active ingredients were: ursolic acid, a waxy natural chemical found in apple peels and rosemary; curcumin, the bright yellow plant compound in turmeric; and resveratrol, a natural compound common to red grapes or berries.
Combining ursolic acid with either curcumin or resveratrol could prevent cancer cells from gobbling something that they need to grow, glutamine.
This is a neat solution: blocking the uptake of a nutrient needed by prostate cancer cells with nutrients that are common in the human diet.
So next time when you dine on curry and baked apples, enjoy the fact that you are eating something that could play a role starving — or even preventing — cancer.
The study is published in Precision Oncology.
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