An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure!

Posts tagged ‘National Institutes of Health’

How Eating Broccoli Helps Prevent Cancer


broccoli (Photo credit: wanko)

How Eating Broccoli Helps Prevent Cancer

Eat Your Broccoli, Cauliflower
and Kale To Help Prevent Cancer.
Here’s Why…

Researchers in the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University have discovered a key factor for why the “sulforaphane“compound in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables is
so good for you. It provides two ways to
prevent cancer through the complex
mechanism called epigenetics.

Epigenetics is an increasing focus of research around the world; It refers not only to our genetic code, but also to the way that diet, toxins and other elements can change which genes get activated.

This can play a significant role in everything
from cancer to heart disease and other major
health issues.

Sulforaphane is one of the most important compounds that provide the health benefits in cruciferous vegetables; Scientists also knew that
a mechanism involved was histone deacetylases
also known as HDACs. This family of enzymes
can interfere with the normal function of genes
that suppress tumors. HDAC inhibitors, such as sulforaphane, has the ability to help restore proper balance and prevent the development of cancer.

It’s one of the most promising areas of cancer research today. The new Oregon State University studies have found a second epigenetic mechanism called DNA methylation, which plays a similar role.

Researchers explained this one-two punch is important to cell function and the control of cell division. When disrupted, it is a sign of cancer.

“Cancer is very complex and it’s usually not just one thing that has gone wrong,” the researchers said. “It’s increasingly clear that sulforaphane is a real multi-tasker. The more we find out about it,
the more benefits it appears to have.”

DNA methylation, they said, is a normal process
of turning off genes, and it helps control what
DNA material gets read as part of genetic communication within cells. In cancer that process gets mixed up. And of considerable interest to researchers is that these same disrupted processes appear to play a role in other
neuro-degenerative diseases, as well as cardiovascular disease, immune function
and the aging process.

The research was published in the journal Clinical Epigenetics; It primarily studied the effect on prostate cancer cells, but the same processes
are probably relevant to many other cancers
including colon and breast cancer.

“With these processes, the key is balance” the researchers said. “DNA methylation is a natural process, and when properly controlled is helpful.
But when the balance gets mixed up it can cause havoc, and that’s where the critical nutrients are involved. They help restore the balance.”

Sulforaphane is particularly abundant in broccoli and in other cruciferous vegetables such as kale and cauliflower . Laboratory and clinical studies have shown that higher intake of cruciferous vegetables can aid in cancer prevention.

The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the OSU Environmental Health Sciences Center.


Story Source: Oregon State University.

Journal Reference: Promoter de-methylation of cyclin D2 by sulforaphane in prostate cancer cells. Clinical Epigenetics, 2011


This article is for informational and educational purposes only;  It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

Your Internal Body Clock Influences Your Health

By analyzing the hundreds of metabolicsubstances naturally present in the

Diagram illustrating the influence of dark-lig...

Diagram illustrating the influence of dark-light rythms on circadian rythms and related physiology and behavior. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

liver,researchers at the University of California – Irvine Center for Epigenetics & Metabolism have discovered that circadian rhythms (our own body clock) greatly control the production of such key building blocks as amino acids, carbohydrates and lipids.

They identified more than 600 liver-originated metabolites, which are the chemical substances created by metabolism that sustain and promote cell health and growth. Approximately 60 percent of these metabolites were found to be dependent on the endogenous circadian clock while only about 15 percent of the body’s genes are regulated by it.

Circadian rhythms throughout 24 hours govern fundamental biological and physiological processes in almost all organisms.

They anticipate environmental changes and adapt certain bodily functions to the appropriate time of day. Disruption of these cycles can significantly affect human health.

Center for Epigenetics & Metabolism director Paolo Sassone-Corsi, recognized as one of the world’s preeminent researchers on circadian rhythms, led the new study…  The liver metabolites reveal how the body clock through the main circadian gene, orchestrates the interplay between metabolites and signaling proteins. The process is similar to the way a conductor leads a symphony-orchestra to perfectly coordinate the instruments, brass and strings.

External cues such as day-night lighting patterns and nutrition influence the circadian system and metabolites. Their relationship to signaling proteins in cells seem to be acutely tied to circadian disruptions. This may help explain some of the primary physiological factors underlying obesity, high cholesterol and metabolic-based diseases like diabetes.

The results of the study appear in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“By identifying the relationship between metabolites and the body clock, we have taken a first step toward a better understanding of how nutrients interact with our metabolism, giving researchers a new opportunity to spot the optimal times for us to get the fullest benefits from the foods we eat and the medications we take,” explained the researchers conducting the study.

Metabolic data about other tissues and conditions will be invaluable to further our understanding of the interplay between metabolism and circadian rhythms in healthy and diseased states.” the researchers added   Story Source: University of California – Irvine;

National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation    Journal Reference: Coordination of the transcriptome and metabolome by the circadian clock. PNAS, March 19, 2012 726109

University of California – Irvine (2012, March 19). Circadian rhythms have profound influence on metabolic output

This article is for informational and educational purposes only;  It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

Vitamin D Shrinks Fibroid Tumors In Resaerch Study

Vitamin D!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Vitamin D!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Photo credit: BaileyRaeWeaver)

Treatment with vitamin D reduced the size of uterine fibroid tumors in laboratory subjects predisposed to developing the benign tumors, reported researchers funded by the NIH (National Institutes of Health.)

Uterine fibroids are the most common noncancerous tumors in women of childbearing age. Fibroids grow within and around the wall of the uterus. Thirty percent of women 25 to 44 years of age report fibroid-related symptoms, such as lower back pain, heavy vaginal bleeding or painful menstrual periods.

Uterine fibroids also are associated with infertility and such pregnancy complications as miscarriage or preterm labor. Other than surgical removal of the uterus, there are few treatment options for women experiencing severe fibroid-related symptoms and about 200,000 U.S. women undergo the procedure each year.

A recent analysis by NIH scientists estimated that the economic cost of fibroids to the United States, in terms of health care expenses and lost productivity, may exceed $34 billion a year.

Fibroids are three to four times more common in African-American women than in white women. Moreover, African-American women are roughly 10 times more likely to be deficient in vitamin D than are white women. In previous research, the study authors found that vitamin D inhibited the growth of human fibroid cells in laboratory cultures.

“The study results provide a promising new lead in the search for a non-surgical treatment for fibroids that doesn’t affect fertility,” said research scientists from the Reproductive Sciences Branch of the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, which funded the study.

The findings appeared online in the journal “Biology of Reproduction.”

For the study, the researchers tested the vitamin D treatment on a strain of laboratory subjects genetically predisposed to developing fibroid tumors. After examining the subjects and confirming the presence of fibroids in 12 of them, the researchers divided the subjects into two groups of six each: those that would receive vitamin D and those that would not.

In the first group, small pumps implanted under the skin delivered a continuous dose of vitamin D for three weeks. The researchers then examined the subjects in both groups.

Fibroids increased in size in the untreated subjects, but, in the subjects receiving vitamin D, the tumors had shrunk dramatically. On average, uterine fibroids in the group receiving vitamin D were 75 percent smaller than those in the untreated group.


The amount of vitamin D the subjects received each day was equivalent to a human dose of roughly 1,400 international units.

The recommended amount of vitamin D for teens and adults age 70 and under is 600 units daily, although up to 4,000 units is considered safe for children over age 9, adults, and for pregnant and breast-feeding females.

“Additional research is needed to confirm vitamin D as a potential treatment for women with uterine fibroids,” said the scientists. “But it is also an essential nutrient for the health of muscle, bone and the immune system, and it is important for everyone to receive an adequate amount of the vitamin.”

Vitamin D is  produced when ultraviolet rays from sunlight reach the skin. Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna are the best natural food sources of the vitamin. Supplements are often recommended because very few foods naturally contain vitamin D. Fortified milk and other fortified foods are the most common to provide an additional source.

Story Source: NIH / National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Journal Reference: 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 Treatment Shrinks Uterine Leiomyoma Tumors. Biology of Reproduction, 2012;


This article is for informational and educational purposes only;  It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

Re: Chlorophyl​l From Green Vegetables Can Help Prevent Cancer

A recent study at Oregon State University found that chlorophyll in green vegetables offers strong protection against cancer when tested against modest carcinogen exposure levels, most likely to be found in the environment.

Interestingly however, chlorophyll actually increases the number of tumors at very high carcinogen exposure levels.

Not only confirming the value of chlorophyll, the new research also raises serious questions about whether traditional lab studies done with mice and high levels of toxic exposure are providing accurate answers to what is a real health risk, what isn’t, and what dietary and nutritional  or pharmaceutical approaches are actually useful.

The findings, published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, were done using 12,360 rainbow trout as laboratory models, instead of more commonly-used laboratory mice as subjects.

Laboratory mice studies are much more expensive, forcing the use of fewer specimens and higher carcinogen exposures.

“There’s considerable evidence in epidemiologic and other clinical studies with humans that chlorophyll and its derivative, chlorophyllin, can protect against cancer,” said researchers working at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.

“This study, like others before it, found that chlorophyll can reduce tumors, up to a point,” they explained. “But at very high doses of the same carcinogen, chlorophyll actually made the problem worse. This questions the value of an approach often used in studying cancer-causing compounds.”

Oregon State University experts in recent years have become pioneers in the use of rainbow trout as a model for biomedical research. The reason, in part because the fish react in similar ways to those of rodents, but also because scientists can use thousands of them instead of dozens of laboratory mice and they’re able to conduct research and experiments that would not otherwise be possible.

This study raises questions about a fundamental premise of most medical research… Typically, expose a laboratory animal to a compound at high levels, observe the result, and predict that a proportional amount of that same result would be present at low levels of exposure.

In one part of the study, the trout were exposed to fairly moderate levels of a known carcinogen, but also given chlorophyll. This reduced their number of liver tumors by 29 to 64 percent, and stomach tumors by 24 to 45 percent.

However, in another section of the study, using much higher (and unrealistic) doses of the same carcinogen, the use of chlorophyll caused a significant increase in the number of tumors.

It is important to recognize that traditional research with small numbers of animals fed very high doses of a carcinogen might conclude that chlorophyll has the potential to increase human cancer risk. This study, and other evidence and trials, concludes just the opposite.

It also found that the protective mechanism of chlorophyll is fairly simple… It has the ability to bind with and isolate carcinogens within the gastrointestinal tract until they are eliminated from the body. At the lower carcinogen doses and cancer rates realistically relevant to humans, chlorophyll was strongly protective.

“The central assumption of such experiments is that intervention effects at high carcinogen dose will apply equally at lower carcinogen doses,” the researchers wrote in their report.

“Contrary to the usual assumption, the outcomes in the major target organ were strikingly dependent on carcinogen dose.”

Oregon State University experts have argued that in some studies rainbow trout can produce better, more accurate, real-world results compared to traditional rodent animal models and relevant to humans, because many more specimens can be used and lower doses of toxins studied.

Experiments done with fish may be about 20 times less expensive and ultimately produce more scientifically valid results, they report.

“Results derived at high carcinogen doses and high tumor responses may be irrelevant for human intervention,” the scientists said in their conclusion.

This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Story Source: Oregon State University

Journal Reference: Cancer chemo-prevention by dietary chlorophyll: A 12,000-animal dose-dose matrix biomarker and tumor study. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2012;

Oregon State University (2012, January 12) “Chlorophyll can help prevent cancer but study raises other questions.”

This article is for informational and educational purposes only;  It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplement​ation Reduces Anxiety and Inflammati​on

A new study gauging the impact of consuming more fish oil showed a significant reduction both in inflammation and in anxiety among a group of healthy young people.

The findings suggest that if young participants can receive major improvements from specific dietary supplements, then the elderly and people at high risk for certain diseases might benefit even more.

The findings by a team of researchers at Ohio State University were published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity. It is the latest from more than three decades of research into links between psychological stress and immunity.

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, including EPA(eicosapentaenoic acid ) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), have long been recognized as beneficial additions to the diet. Earlier research suggested that EPA and DHA might play a role in reducing the level of cytokines in the body, the compounds that promote inflammation, and perhaps even reduce depression.

Psychological stress has repeatedly been shown to increase cytokine production so the researchers wondered if increasing omega-3 may decrease that process, reducing inflammation.

To test their theory, they turned to a familiar group of research subjects: medical students. Some of the earliest work these scientists did showed that stress from important medical school tests lowered students’ immune status.

“We hypothesized that giving some students omega 3 supplements  would decrease their production of proinflammatory cytokines, compared to other students who only received a placebo,” explained researchers from Ohio State Unversity’s departments of psychology and psychiatry.

“We thought the omega-3 would reduce the stress-induced increase in cytokines that normally arose from nervousness over the tests.”

The team assembled a field of 68 first- and second-year medical students who volunteered for the clinical trial. The students were randomly divided into six groups, all of which were interviewed six times during the study. At each visit, blood samples were drawn from the students who also completed a battery of psychological surveys intended to gauge their levels of stress, anxiety or depression. The students also completed questionnaires about their diets during the previous weeks.

Half the students received omega-3 supplements while the other half were given placebo pills.

“The supplement was probably about four or five times the amount of fish oil you’d get from a daily serving of salmon, for example,” explaining concentration ratio of omega 3 fish oil supplements used in the study.

Changes in the medical curriculum and the distribution of major tests throughout the year, rather than during a tense three-day period as was done in the past, removed much of the stress that medical students had shown in past studies.

“These students were not anxious. They weren’t really stressed. They were actually sleeping well throughout this period, so we didn’t get the stress effect we had expected,” the researchers said.

But the psychological surveys clearly showed an important change in anxiety among the students: Those receiving the omega-3showed a 20 percent reduction in anxiety compared to the placebo group.

An analysis of the of the blood samples from the medical students showed similar important results.

“We took measurements of the cytokines in the blood serum, as well as measured the productivity of cells that produced two important cytokines, interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFa),” said Ron Glaser, professor of molecular virology, immunology & medical genetics and director of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research.

“We saw a 14 percent reduction in the amounts of IL-6 among the students receiving the omega-3.” Since the cytokines foster inflammation, “anything we can do to reduce cytokines is a big plus in dealing with the overall health of people at risk for many diseases,” he said.

While inflammation is a natural immune response that helps the body heal, it also can play a harmful role in a host of diseases ranging from arthritis to heart disease to cancer. The study showed the positive impact omega-3 supplements in reducing both anxiety and inflammation.

The researchers said. “People should just consider increasing their omega-3 through their diet.”

In fact, some of the researchers acknowledged that already they take omega-3 supplements.

The study was supported in part by a grant from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Story Source: Ohio State University. .
Journal Reference: Omega-3 supplementation lowers inflammation and anxiety in medical students: A randomized controlled trial. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 2011;

Ohio State University (2011, August 1). Omega-3 reduces anxiety and inflammation in healthy students, study suggests.

This article is for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended to provide medical advice,diagnosis or treatment. Contact your doctor or healthcare professional for medical and nutritional consultation.

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