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21.09.2011


Anti-cancer supplements need plant-based proteins to be effective

In the 1980s manufacturers developed new types of feed for lab animals that were intended to improve the quality of research. These new feeds no longer contained substances of plant origin. And suddenly the findings from animal studies that had used the new feed showed that all kinds of substances that offer protection against cancer were no longer effective.

Study
In 2004 researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham published the results of a series of experiments which made it clear just how strong the effect of feed was. Although the researchers addressed their conclusions to fellow animal researchers, their findings are relevant to everyone who uses supplements for protection against cancer.

Anti-cancer supplements need plant-based proteins to be effective
In their experiments the researchers used 4%-Teklad feed [which contains proteins obtained from various sources including wheat, soya and barley] and AIN-76A feed [which contains only casein-based proteins]. So AIN-76A feed contains none of the plant-based proteins, which, since the 1980s, we know have an effect on the body.

The researchers tested two preparations that contained protective compounds. One was pure genistein, a soya isoflavone. The other was grape seed extract, a preparation from grapes that contains catechins. The researchers gave the preparations to female rats that had been injected with substances that cause breast cancer, and then observed whether the preparations inhibited tumour growth.

Results
In the figures below the white triangles represent the rats that got no genistein in their feed; the white diamonds represent the rats that got feed with 0.8 percent genistein; and the black squares represent the rats that got food containing 1.6 percent genistein. The carcinogenic substance was MNU. The figure immediately below shows the results for the AIN-76A group; the one under that shows the results for the Teklad group.


Anti-cancer supplements need plant-based proteins to be effective


Anti-cancer supplements need plant-based proteins to be effective


In the rats that were given AIN-76A feed, the genistein offered them no protection. The rats that got Teklad feed containing 0.8 percent genistein had 44 percent fewer tumours. The rats that got Teklad feed with 1.6 percent genistein had 61 percent fewer tumours.

The figures below show the results of a different experiment. The black triangles represent rats that had no grape seed extract in their food; the white circles rats that got feed with 1.25 percent grape seed extract; and the black squares rats that got feed with 5 percent grape seed extract. In this experiment the carcinogenic substance used was DMBA. The figure immediately below shows the results for the AIN-76A group; the one under that shows the results for the Teklad group.


Anti-cancer supplements need plant-based proteins to be effective


Anti-cancer supplements need plant-based proteins to be effective


Once again, the grape seed extract had no effect in the rats that were given AIN-76A feed, but it did have an effect in the animals that were given Teklad feed. Teklad feed containing 1.25 percent grape seed extract gave no protection, but feed with 5 percent reduced the number of tumours by 44 percent.

Source:
J Nutr. 2004 Dec;134(12 Suppl):3445S-3452S.

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