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More Cancer-Fighting Chemicals Found in Grapes

Over the past year, I've been following the growing number of studies touting the benefits of drinking red wine due to the presence of the cancer-fighting compound, resveratrol, found in red grapes. A new study has identified a dozen new chemical components in grapes that work together to dramatically inhibit an enzyme crucial to the proliferation of cancer cells.

Scientists used advanced molecular tools to study the interaction of grape-cell cultures with human DNA topoisomerase II -- the enzyme necessary for the spread of cancer which is commonly used in research to screen plant chemicals -- to discover which flavonoids in grapes and red wine are most responsible for anti-cancer qualities.

This synergistic activity involves specific phytochemicals from the proanthocyanidin and anthocyanin classes of the varied flavonoid family which worked more effectively against the enzyme than did previously identified flavonoids, quercetin and resveratrol, researchers said. Alone, the individual components had less effect on the enzyme.

Their results proved to be so successful, scientists are now conducting new research to track where these specially radiolabeled flavonoids congregate in rats. So far, they have observed these flavonoids are very "bioavailable," meaning just by eating the grapes the protective bioactive component involved goes directly into the bloodstream and relocates to other regions, a fact not known before.

I agree with the observation of one scientist who pointed out these findings add to the growing value of eating whole foods, particularly over drinking red wine because I am convinced that the alcohol itself is actually a poison and will unbalance your hormones. And, consuming large amounts of wine or grapes will increase your insulin levels and eventually have a negative impact on your health.

Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Vol. 53, No. 7, April 6, 2005: 2489-2498

EurekAlert March 29, 2005

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