Last week we discussed the many ways that resveratrol reduces the risk of heart disease, the number 1 killer in the US. Today we’ll look at resveratrol and cancer – the number 2 killer in our country.
How Cancer Starts
Like it does with heart disease, resveratrol affects cancer on many fronts. Cancer is the growth of abnormal cells. Many events must occur for a normal cell to turn into a cancerous cell. But, once a cell becomes cancerous it takes on a mind of its own, and will grow and proliferate pretty much unchecked.
Several mutations or damage/changes to our DNA must occur for a cell to become malignant. Inflammation facilitates the growth of cancer as does insulin-growth factor I (IGF-1). IGF-1 is derived from growth hormone and is important to growth and healing. So in general IGF-1 is good. However, once a cell becomes malignant too high of IGF-1 levels can promote cancer growth. Blood flow is also important for cancer growth and spread.
Resveratrol and Cancer
How are resveratrol and cancer linked? Resveratrol minimizes DNA damage that turns a normal cell into a cancerous cell. It also slows the rate at which cancer cells proliferate. Resveratrol turns on genes that lead to programmed cell death also known as apoptosis. It also reduces production of inflammatory cytokines, thus reducing the effects of inflammation on cancer propagation. Also, IGF-1 levels are reduced by high doses of resveratrol.
Malignant cells have the unique ability to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels (angiogenesis). This is one way cancer spreads. Resveratrol has been show to inhibit blood vessel growth in some cancers.
The doses of resveratrol used in studies that show these anti-cancer effects of resveratrol range from 500 mg a day to 2,500 mg a day. Resveratrol in doses up to 5,000 mg a day has been shown to be safe, but at this time there are no recommendations regarding appropriate doses of resveratrol dosing for disease prevention and promotion of health.
Resveratrol in the Diet
Resveratrol is found in red wine, dark chocolate, grapes, peanuts, pistachios, and berries. So far now be sure to eat these foods which have plenty of other health benefits.
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