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Gallic acid is the anti-cancer agent in Grape Seed Extract

Men who take supplements containing Grape Seed Extract are 62 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer than men who don't, we wrote a few days ago. We've also found a 2009 animal study, which suggests that one of the active ingredients in Grape Seed Extract is gallic acid. Animal tests have shown that this compound gives protection particularly against an androgen-sensitive form of prostate cancer.

Gallic Acid
Scientists have been studying the cancer inhibiting properties of Grape Seed Extract for many years. In experiments with cancer cells they have shown that in theory the extract, which you can buy in any drug store or supplements shop, protects against lung cancer [Mol Cell Biochem. 1999 Jun; 196(1-2): 99-108.], intestinal cancer [Clin Cancer Res 2006; 12:61946202.] and breast cancer [Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2008 Jun; 109(3): 427-41.].

The researchers at the University of Colorado Denver have concentrated on the prostate cancer inhibiting characteristics of Grape Seed Extract. They discovered in 2006 that gallic acid is an important bioactive ingredient in this extract. [Carcinogenesis. 2006 Jul; 27(7): 1445-53.] The discovery was not a big surprise, as in-vitro studies have shown that gallic acid may also offer protection against leukaemia. [Clin Cancer Res. 2009 Jan 1; 15(1): 140-9.] The structural formula for gallic acid is shown below.

In their study, which was published in Pharmaceutical Research in 2009, the researchers implanted two kinds of human cancer cells in athymic nude mice. As a result of a genetic defect in their immune system the mice did not reject the alien cells. The researchers injected half of their test animals with the hormone insensitive DU145 prostate cancer line, and the other half were injected with 22Rv1 prostate cancer cells. The latter does react to testosterone.

Some test animals were given ordinary drinking water these were the control groups. The mice in the experimental groups were given water that contained 0.3 or 1 percent gallic acid.

Gallic acid is the anti-cancer agent in Grape Seed Extract

Gallic acid is the anti-cancer agent in Grape Seed Extract

Gallic acid is the anti-cancer agent in Grape Seed Extract
During the six-week period of the experiment, gallic acid inhibited the growth of the prostate cancer cells. The compound worked best against the testosterone sensitive 22Rv1 prostate cancer cells.

Gallic acid is not only found in Grape Seed Extract, but also mostly in the form of gallotannin in strawberries, pineapple, bananas, lemons, hazelnuts, tea and apple peel.

"Additional studies to understand other molecular mechanisms which are responsible for its anti-cancer efficacy are warranted to claim gallic acid as potent anti-cancer agent against prostate cancer", the researchers write. The research was funded by the American National Cancer Institute.

Pharm Res. 2009 Sep;26(9):2133-40.

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