Blueberries May Help Prevent Colon Cancer

Researchers from Rutgers University and the US Department of Agriculture have found that a naturally occurring key compound in blueberries, pterostilbene, may be able to prevent the onset of one of the most virulent and dreaded neoplasms, colon cancer.

Colon cancer, also known as bowel cancer or colorectal cancer, is characterized by growths in the rectum, colon and appendix. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in the Western world and is the third most common form of cancer. Surgery is the most common treatment to remove the growths and is usually followed by chemotherapy.

How was the link between blueberries and colon cancer discovered? The Rutgers University researchers conducted a small study with eighteen rats for an eight week period. The test rats were given azoxymethane (a cancer causing agent) to induce colon cancer and were given a balanced diet, while half of the study rats were given supplemental amounts of pterostilbene. At the end of the study, it was found that the rats who were supplemented with the blueberry compound, pterostilbene, had 57 percent less pre-cancerous cells. They test subjects also showed a lesser degree of inflammation and had reduced cell division in the bowels, both considered risk factors for developing colon cancer.

Pterostilbene is a compound that is believed to exhibit anti-cancer,anti-hypercholesterolemia, anti-diabetic, anti-fungal, anti-hypertriglyceridemia properties. Pterostilbene is also thought to have the ability to fight off and reverse cognitive decline. Pterostilbene also happens to be a natural antioxidant and studies have further suggested that pterostilbene could potentially be helpful in lowering blood cholesterol.

Experts strongly suggest that the risk for colon cancer is increased by overeating, consuming high amounts of saturated fats and calories, and eating a lot of red and processed meat. To reduce this risk, leading health experts and nutritionists suggest eating at least five portions of fruits and vegetables per day to protect the body against all cancers and other diseases, and to obtain natural sources of vitamins and antioxidants. Physical exercise is also thought to decrease the risk of developing colon cancer. Making these recommended lifestyle changes is thought to decrease the risk of colon cancer by up to 70 percent.

Pterostilbene is not only found in blueberries, but can also be found in grapes, red wine, sparkleberries, lingonberries and cranberries. The researchers are suggesting putting this powerful and potential cancer-fighting compound into a pill.

Article Source: ezinearticles

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