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Anti-cancer compound identified in Mediterranean Diet

FoodFacts.com has been finding fascinating health benefits linked to the Mediterranean diet for the past several months. We’re always excited by the new findings because the traditional Mediterranean diet is such a flavorful, fresh way to eat that incorporating it into your lifestyle is an easy transition for most to make. Today we found more information we wanted to share with our community.

There’s new research out of Ohio State University that links a compound that is abundant in the Mediterranean diet to eliminating the power of cancer cells to escape cell death. It appears that this compound alters a specific step in gene regulation and turns the cancer cells into normal cells that will die.

One of the reasons that cancer is a difficult disease to cure is that cancer cells thrive by inhibiting the regular cell death process. The researchers from Ohio State discovered that a compound found in some plant-based foods, apigenin, could re-educate breast cancer cells, leaving them to live and die by the regular cell lifecycle.

Though finding that apigenin can influence cancer cell behavior was an important outcome of the work, the researchers noted the importance of their new biomedical research technique and its contribution to nutraceutical research. The technique was compared to “fishing” for human proteins in cells that interact with molecules available in the diet.

Through experimentation, the researchers established that apigenin has relationships with proteins that have specific functions. The most important was a protein called hnRNPA2. It appears that this protein influences the activity of messenger RNA, which contains the instructions to produce a specific protein. The production of messenger RNA results from splicing RNA. It is noted that abnormal splicing is the problem with about 80 percent of all cancers. It appears that in cancer cells, two types of splicing occur when only one takes place in a normal cell. It’s an integral part of how cancer cells stay alive and continue to reproduce instead of following the normal cell lifecycle.

When apigenin was introduced, the splicing that inhibited cell death was eliminated. The single-splice characteristic was restored to the cells, causing them to die in a natural manner.

Parsley, celery and chamomile tea are the most common sources of apigenin, but it is found in many fruits and vegetables. Since the Mediterranean Diet is rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables, the compound is most readily available through this particular style of eating.

FoodFacts.com is once again thrilled by the knowledge being uncovered about the powerful health benefits that come to us through pure, fresh foods. It’s exciting to imagine a future where nutraceuticals become the chosen treatments for the chronic and often fatal diseases that plague so many in our population. In the meantime, the Mediterranean Diet is rich in many health benefits. It’s easy to incorporate into your lifestyle and allows for an abundance of food options. You’ll enjoy your food. You won’t be bored with your diet. And you’ll be doing something positive for your health!

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130520154303.htm