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Originally published September 30 2008

Berries Provide a Cocktail of Cancer Preventing Compounds

by Tom Mosakowski

(NaturalNews) Black raspberries provide a powerful mix of cancer-inhibiting compounds. New research at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center was conducted to test the effect of black raspberries on the genetic activity of rats provoked to develop cancer of the esophagus.

The researchers split the rats into two groups. One group was fed a normal diet while the other was fed a diet with 5 percent freeze-dried black raspberries. After two weeks, half of the rats in each group were injected with a chemical carcinogen that induces esophageal cancer.

After a week of carcinogen application, the rats' health was examined. Judging by appearance, the esophageal tissue of the rats that ate black raspberries was more normal and healthy compared to the other rats. In an earlier study, the berry-fed rats had a 60 percent reduction in tumors.

On the genetic level, the findings were astonishing. The researchers were able to measure the activity levels of the 41,000 genes in each of the rats. In the rats without the preventative benefits of the berries, the activity levels of 2,261 genes changed by at least 50 percent. Predictably, those genes are responsible for such things as cell proliferation, inflammation, and cell destruction: actions that are common during cancer development. Amazingly, one fifth (462) of those carcinogen-effected-genes were expressed at normal levels in the rats fed black raspberries.

Black raspberries, in addition to other berries, have multiple mechanisms of prevention. The result is a beneficial effect throughout an animal's genome due to the collection of vitamins, minerals, phytosterols and phenols in the berries.

"This suggests to us that a mixture of preventative agents, which berries provide, may more effectively prevent cancer than a single agent that targets only one or a few genes," said Gary D. Stoner, a professor of pathology, human nutrition and medicine at the University.

A similar companion study tested a single chemoprevention compound in the rats with the same ailment. Of the stated 462 genes, 53 were kept at normal activity levels by this agent alone.

Concerning this, Stoner said, "What's emerging from studies in cancer chemoprevention is that using single compounds alone is not enough." He went on to say that berries are not enough either: they only partially prevent tumors. He recommended finding other foods to combine with berries.

Other foods to consider are mushrooms, grapes, cruciferous vegetables, flax, and many more.



About the author

Tom Mosakowski, B.S. Biochemistry.

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