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Can OJ Kill Cancer?

You may recall stories I've posted about the miracle properties of "designer" orange juice being used to lower one's cholesterol or as a source of vitamin D.

Researchers with the Texas Agriculture Experiment Station have found orange juice contains natural citrus compounds called limonoids that target and stop neuroblastoma cancer cells. Neuroblastomas account for about 10 percent of all cancers in children, and is usually spotted as a solid tumor in the neck, chest, spinal cord or adrenal gland.

The finding is promising, scientists say, not only for the potential of limonoids to arrest cancer, but because they produce no side affects. In fact, one researcher called citrus fruit "a vast reservoir of anti-carcinogens." On the down side, limonoids are present in small concentrations and unique to citrus fruits.

Limonoids -- nutrient-packed pigments that give color and taste to fruit -- may work against cancer in three ways:

  • Prevent it from forming
  • Slow the growth of existing cancer
  • Kill cancer cells

Before you begin stocking up on orange juice, however, consider that fruit juice has about eight full teaspoons of sugar per 8-ounce glass. This sugar -- typically a fruit sugar called fructose -- is every bit as dangerous as regular table sugar since it will also cause a major increase in insulin levels. Also, commercial orange juice is contaminated with mold from damaged fruit that are processed.

This doesn't mean that you should avoid fruit, just fruit juice. When the fruit is intact and whole, its fiber will somewhat moderate the release of fructose as well as insulin into the bloodstream.

Science Blog December 1, 2004

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