Blueberry-rich diet may keep the colon healthy
NEW YORK |
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A natural antioxidant abundant in blueberries called pterostilbene may help prevent colon cancer, according to an animal study reported Sunday in Chicago at the 233rd national meeting of the American Chemical Society.
"This study underscores the need to include more berries in the diet, especially blueberries," study chief Dr. Bandaru S. Reddy, chemical biologist at Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey, said in a statement.
Pterostilbene is similar to the antioxidant resveratrol found in grapes and red wine, which also has anticancer activity. Pterostilbene is also present in grapes, but it is more abundant in blueberries.
Reddy and colleagues at Rutgers and the US Department of Agriculture induced colon cancer in 18 rats and then fed the animals a balanced diet, with or without pterostilbene (40 mg/kg of diet).
At the end of the study, the nine animals that received pterostilbene supplement had 57-percent fewer pre-cancerous growths in the colon compared with the animals that were fed a balanced diet only.
Pterostilbene also suppressed the growth of cells in the colon and inhibited certain genes involved in inflammation, both of which are considered risk factors for colon cancer.
These results may support dietary prevention of colon cancer and health benefits of blueberries, said Reddy.
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and the third most common cancer in men and women. Several genes are associated with the disease. Lifestyle also plays an important role, with smoking, lack of exercise, and a diet high in meat and saturated fat and low in fruits and vegetables all associated with colon cancer.
The evidence suggests that pterostilbene it may help reverse some of the harmful effects of a high-fat diet by lowering cholesterol levels. In a previous study, researchers found in the test tube and in animals that pterostilbene is capable of lowering cholesterol levels.
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