Colorectal cancer cases continue to grow among men and women in the U.S., largely fueled by a diet of processed convenience foods and a sedentary lifestyle void of regular exercise. Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the United States, with more than 100,000 new diagnoses and 52,000 deaths attributed to the disease each year. Natural compounds including curcumin and resveratrol have proven effective in the prevention of colon cancer, and now scientists have determined that grape seed extract (GSE) specifically targets damaged cells in the digestive tract to provide an effective treatment for colorectal cancer.
A research team from the University of Colorado Cancer Center has published the results of a study in the journal, Cancer Letters demonstrating that the more advanced colorectal cancer cells are the more GSE inhibits their growth and survival. Conversely, GSE does not affect healthy cells and is shown to specifically target only cancerous cells. The authors note that this is an important finding in light of the increased number of late stage colon cancer cases currently being diagnosed. Grape seed extract promotes programmed cancer cell death to prevent colon cancer progression.
Lead study author and doctoral candidate Molly Derry commented “We’ve known for quite a while that the bioactive compounds in grape seed extract selectively target many types of cancer cells. This study shows that many of the same mutations that allow colorectal cancer cells to metastasize and survive traditional therapies make them especially sensitive to treatment with GSE.” This research could provide a critical starting point to encourage the use of natural therapies to treat colon cancer, rather than the traditional slash, burn and poison methods that cause more harm than good for many who suffer from the disease.
Scientists studied the effect of GSE on various stages of colon cancer cell lines, ranging from Stage I to Stage IV. They found that similar concentrations of GSE exerted a more profound effect in eradicating more advanced stages of colon cancer, indicating that the natural compound may provide an effective treatment option for more advanced forms of the disease. Ms. Derry noted “It required less than half the concentration of GSE to suppress cell growth and kill 50 percent of stage IV cells than it did to achieve similar results in the stage II cells.”
The study team discovered that GSE targets colorectal cancer through inducing oxidative stress that leads to the programmed cell death known as apoptosis. Ms. Derry concluded “The many bioactive compounds of GSE are able to target multiple mutations. The more mutations a cancer presents, the more effective GSE is in targeting them.” Nutrition experts recommend supplementing with a standardized whole grape seed extract (150 to 250 mg) daily to provide a protective shield against colon and digestive cancers.
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