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Study Shows Link Between Diet and Stress Induced Cancer

Friday, November 28, 2008 by: Barbara L. Minton
Tags: cancer, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) Will the stress in your life cause you to develop cancer? The answer to this question may depend on what you eat according to a study published in the August, 2008 edition of the International Journal of Oncology.

Researchers examined the possible growth promoting effects of the stress-associated hormone norepinephrine on immortalized human pancreatic duct epithelial cells. The results suggested that norepinephrine can increase proliferation of these cells. They then evaluated the ability of norepinephrine to induce interleukin-6, and vascular endothelial growth factor, both believed to promote cancer of pancreatic duct epithelial cells. They found that norepinephrine can indeed increase the interleukin-6 and vascular endothelial growth factor in the cells.

Based on theses results, the researchers performed further testing to see if dietary agents sulforaphane and resveratrol can inhibit norepinephrine-mediated increases in cell proliferation. Results indicated that sulforaphane but not resveratrol inhibits the norepinephrine-mediated increases in cell proliferation. Sulforaphane also inhibited norepinephrine-mediated increase of the interleukin-6 levels of the cells.

We are living through an extremely stressful period of history. Hundreds of studies have documented how stress impacts our immune systems and ability to fight off invading organisms. This study goes a long way toward documenting the link between stress and cancer. The implications for further research are huge.

Inhibiting norepinephrine is no small feat. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that is similar to adrenaline. These hormones act together to produce heart rate and blood pressure increases among other biochemical actions to launch us into our natural defense mode, described as fight or flight. Chronic high levels of stress result in chronic high levels of norepinephrine and adrenaline.

Sulforaphane is a compound that can be obtained by eating cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, kale, collards, kohlrabi, mustard, turnip, radish, rocket, and watercress.

The compound's anticancer activity is thought to be related to the induction of phase-II enzymes such as quinone reductase and glutathione S-transferase, and the enhanced transcription of tumor suppressor proteins.

Sulforaphane is particularly abundant in broccoli sprouts. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have been dedicated in their efforts to provide us with a broccoli sprout that guarantees a consistent level of sulforaphane. According to Johns Hopkins, eating just one ounce of their broccoli sprouts provides as much sulforaphane as more than a pound of cooked broccoli. Their product, called Brocco Sprouts, is available at many traditional supermarkets.

If eating healthy amounts of cruciferous vegetables does not appeal to you, try adding broccoli sprouts to a sandwich or salad. Broccoli sprouts don't have to be eaten daily to provide their full effect. A one ounce serving is good for three days worth of full spectrum antioxidant protection from sulforaphane comparable to the best antioxidant supplements on the market. A box of sprouts contains four of these servings and retails for about 4 dollars.

Juicing is another good way to consume cruciferous vegetables, particularly if you have digestive difficulties. You can add cruciferous vegetables to your vegetable juice recipes. One large stalk of broccoli makes only about an inch of power packed juice in a glass, so it doesn't have a huge impact on the taste of the recipe.

Supplements of broccoli sprouts are available at health food stores and online health retailers such as Vitacost or Lucky Vitamin. The best known is called Broccoliv. Vitacost has a less costly house brand.

About the author

Barbara is a school psychologist, a published author in the area of personal finance, a breast cancer survivor using "alternative" treatments, a born existentialist, and a student of nature and all things natural.

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