Cranberries are small shrubs that are grown in North America. In the past they have been primarily used for urinary tract infections, but some people also use cranberry extracts and juice for chronic fatigue syndrome, pleurisy, i.e. the inflammation of the lining near the lung, and even cancer. Cranberry and cancer treatment are related due to the fruit’s preventive properties.
For the last ten years, researchers have been exploring anticancer properties of cranberry. Researchers are working with cranberry extract and cranberry fruit to find the phytochemicals present in them to work both separately and together to combat cancer in a variety of ways.
What are Cranberries?
The American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) is a fruit rich in phytochemicals. These phytochemicals are substances commonly found in green tea leaves, and they have potential anti-cancer properties. Recently, this fruit has gained popularity because of its preventive properties against certain types of cancer.
How do they work?
Cranberries contain phytochemicals that cause programmed cell death (apoptosis) in specific cancer cells. Cranberries trigger regulators via their antioxidant properties, thereby preventing the growth of cancer cells and, gradually, cancer cell death. Furthermore, other mechanisms regarding its anti-cancer properties are currently being studied. Cranberries also possess substances that prevent the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis).
What effect do they have?
Cranberries are a natural antibiotic. Cranberries are rich in various protective substances containing minerals such as potassium and other vitamins: A and C, and fiber. Their sour taste comes from a large amount of vitamin C. Studies have shown that:
- Cranberries prevent urinary tract infection, particularly infection caused by the bacterium E.coli.
- Also, the protective substances in cranberry can destroy the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, which is a common cause of stomach ulcers.
- The ingredients in cranberries reduce the risk of various types of cancers, such as breast and colon cancer. Studies show that cranberry also prevents the growth of cancer cells and its spread in the body.
- Cranberry lowers blood sugar, which is useful for diabetics.
- This fruit helps with stress as well as in prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
- Cranberry improves eyesight.
Where are Cranberries found?
Cranberries are fruits normally found in the Northeastern United States, Canada, and Wisconsin.
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Advantages of Cranberry with different types of Cancer
Early studies of the anti-cancer properties of cranberries were done in breast adenocarcinoma. Cranberry‘s anti-cancer properties were discovered in 1996 when its extract inhibited a cancer-promoting enzyme, ornithine decarboxylase (ODC).
- It was later proven that this inhibition was due to the presence of flavonoids (a class of plant secondary metabolites) in the fruit. Later on, its commercial powder form also showed these protective mechanisms against colon cancer and prostate cancer.
- Quercetin, one of the major phytochemicals found in this fruit, was also found to inhibit growth of primary transitional bladder cancer, breast adenocarcinoma, colon adenocarcinoma and chronic myelogenous leukemia in human cell cultures. Other components of the fruit cause classical symptoms of cell death in cultured ovarian cancer cells (in vitro) and also in colon adenocarcinoma. Along with grape seed extract, cranberry also shows anti-cancer effects by triggering ‘cell apoptosis’ or programmed cell death in oral cancers.
- The triterpenoid ursolic acid is found in cranberry that inhibits the proliferation of liver cancer cells.
Peels of cranberries that contain ursolic acid inhibits the growth of cultured tissues with leukemia, human lung carcinoma, colon cancer, fibrosarcoma, and once again, breast cancer.
What is the effect of Cranberry on metastasis?
Ursolic acid, found in cranberry peelings, may inhibit metastasis by decreasing the enzyme levels of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) in human fibrosarcoma cells. The same mechanism is also discovered in other components found inside the fruit.
The influence of Cranberry on the Immune System
Cranberries prevent inflammation or swelling. In mice, cranberry was discovered to control the levels of a certain type of white blood cell that are important in the inflammation process. Overproduction of these types of white blood cells plays a role in some types of cultured cancer cells.
Cranberries are found in:
- The northeastern United States and Canada
Effects of Cranberry:
- Possess antioxidant properties
- Promotes cancer cell death
- Prevents formation of new blood vessels
- Detoxifies foreign bodies inside the body
- Provides protection from certain types of cancer
- Prevents cancer cell invasion
Cancer types that are shown to have positive responses to Cranberry:
- Ovarian cancer
- Primary transitional bladder cancer
- Squamous cell carcinoma
- Breast adenocarcinoma
- Colon adenocarcinoma
- Chronic myelogenous leukemia
- Lung carcinoma
This article was republished with permission from dr-adem.com.
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