We eat different kinds of fruits and vegetables everyday but we don’t realize that some of these actually contain special compounds that can potentially cure deadly diseases like cancer. A paper in the recent issue of Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research just reported that anthocyanins from black raspberries have anticancer properties. Anthocyanins are flavonoid compounds that are responsible for dark (red, purple or blue pigments) in the leaves, stems, roots, flowers and fruits of plants.
The report is based on the research from Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center where they have been testing the effects of anthocyanins from black raspberries on lab rats. The research was led by Dr. Gary Stoner, a professor in the department of internal medicine at Ohio State University. Stoner and his colleagues fed whole black raspberries and the fruit extracts containing high amount of anthocyanins on rats with esophageal cancer. The results showed that both the anthocynanin-rich extracts and the whole raspberry fruits containing similar amount of anthocyanins are effective in preventing esophageal cancer in rats. They discovered that these anthocyanins can inhibit the growth of cancer cells as well as make the cancer cells commit suicide.
Aside from the fruit extracts, Stoner and his colleagues also conducted clinical trials using whole berry powder. These trials also gave promising results but patients are required to take up to 60 grams of powder per day.
“Now that we know the anthocyanins in berries are almost as active as whole berries themselves, we hope to be able to prevent cancer in humans using a standardized mixture of anthocyanins. The goal is to potentially replace whole berry powder with its active components and then figure out better ways to deliver these components to tissues, to increase their uptake and effectiveness. Ultimately, we hope to test the anthocyanins for effectiveness in multiple organ sites in humans,” said Stoner.
Black raspberries belong to the rose family, genus Rubus. Two species, R. leucodermis and R. occidentalis are commonly known as black raspberries. They are said to be one of the richest berries in terms of anthocyanin content. Previous studies have already indicated the potential of black raspberries in cancer therapy. A 2006 trial reported positive effects in patients with Barrett’s esophagus, a pre-malignant for of esophageal cancer.
According to Dr. Stoner
“The National Cancer Institute recommends that every American eat at least four to six helpings of fruit and vegetables each day. We suggest that one of these helpings be berries of some sort… a daily diet of about 1.4 to 2 cups of fresh berries may be ideal for staving off certain types of cancer.”
Photo credit: oregonberry.com