Peanuts and cancer: what you should know

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We all love peanuts. They’re crunchy, delicious, and often show up on lists of healthy snacks.

But new research from the University of Liverpool suggests that if you’re dealing with cancer, you might want to think twice about reaching for that jar of peanuts.

The Protein That Makes Things Complicated

When you eat peanuts, a protein called Peanut agglutinin (PNA) goes into your blood. Researchers discovered that this protein has a way of messing with your blood vessels. It makes your body produce certain chemicals called cytokines.

So, why are these cytokines a problem? Specifically, the ones we’re talking about, named IL-6 and MCP-1, can actually help cancer spread.

They make the lining of your blood vessels more appealing to cancer cells. This means that cancer has an easier time moving around your body, which isn’t good news if you’re trying to fight it off.

In an earlier study, the same scientists found out that PNA acts like a kind of velcro for cancer cells. It latches onto sugar chains that are mostly found on cancer and pre-cancer cells.

This makes cancer cells stickier, and easier to clump together. These clumps can survive better in your bloodstream, and that’s often how cancer moves to other parts of the body.

Should Peanut Lovers Panic?

Before you decide to cut peanuts out of your life forever, let’s be clear: The researchers aren’t saying peanuts are bad for everyone.

For most people, eating peanuts in normal amounts is probably fine. But for those with cancer, chomping down on peanuts often might increase the chances of cancer spreading.

So if you or someone you know has cancer, it might be better to limit those peanut snacks.

More to Learn

The scientists say they need to dig deeper to know just how risky heavy peanut eating might be for cancer patients. So, while we don’t have all the answers yet, it’s something worth thinking about if you’re dealing with cancer.

The study was led by Lu-Gang Yu and his team, and their findings are published in a scientific journal called Carcinogenesis.

But we thought you should know about it in simple words, because when it comes to staying healthy, the more you know, the better choices you can make. So keep an eye out for more updates, especially if you’re a cancer patient who loves peanuts.

If you care about cancer, please read studies about a new method to treat cancer effectively, and this low-dose, four-drug combo may block cancer spread.

For more information about cancer prevention, please see recent studies about nutrient in fish that can be a poison for cancer, and results showing this daily vitamin is critical to cancer prevention.

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