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Fruit & Veg Anti-Cancer Pill for Women (Trial) 2004-11-17

Posted by clype in Health, Science.
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Fad diets which are dominated by green vegetables, such as the cabbage soup regime, could help women avoid cervical cancer.

Scientists working to unlock the mystery of the disease have discovered that when eaten, the substances produced in cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and sprouts could help in the fight against cancer.

A research programme is now under way in Wales working on the age-old principle that you should ‘eat your greens’.

Scientists based at ‘The Wales College of Medicine’, Cardiff University, said yesterday they hope the outcome will pinpoint which vegetable has the most powerful effect against the causes of cervical cancer.

All the vegetables are credited with producing the supplement Diindolylmethane (DIM for short) in the body when eaten.

It seems to exert its effect by modifying the breakdown products of oestrogen in the body and by inducing abnormal cells to self destruct.

However, like the cabbage soup diet, which requires followers to relinquish more appetising foods in favour of a strong-tasting, watery concoction for many days, this potential scientific breakthrough has its drawbacks.

  • To obtain enough DIM to benefit, at least two raw heads of cabbage would need to be eaten daily.
  • The Welsh trial uses a capsule containing DIM, already available as a herbal remedy in the United States of America.


The makers of this capsule in the USA also claim that it may help with pre-menstrual syndrome, but side effects include aggravation of migraines and an increase in intestinal gas.

Ceri McGuire, one of the research nurses involved, said it has long been believed that the changes in diets could be linked to cancer. She said:

‘Very few people actually eat the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day any more.

‘And I think that’s particularly the case in parts of the UK because of a number of socio-economic factors.

‘If you look at the Mediterranean and Asia, they have fewer cases of certain cancers than in Wales, and this is linked to diet — though we do not know how exactly’.

The theory behind the study is based on the fact that some women who have cervical cancer also have the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is a group of more than 100 different types of viruses.

Some types cause genital warts and others can very occasionally cause cervical cancer, but both types are extremely common and most disappear without treatment.

Nurse McGuire said that because green vegetables may help to prevent HPV, the team is now looking to explore the relation between eating greens, HPV and cancer and if the DIM supplement can help reduce HPV infection rates.

But she stressed that having HPV did not automatically mean women will develop cervical cancer.

The trial is sponsored by Cancer Research UK and is being run in conjunction with Cervical Screening Wales.

The trial will involve subjects taking DIM daily for six months while waiting for their next smear.

  • Fruit and vegetables can provide a range of health benefits and lower the risk of some cancers. Blue and purple food like blackberries, purple grapes, plums and purple cabbage are said to help urinary tract health, memory function and improve healthy aging.
  • Green foods such as avocados, apples, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and peas will improve vision and build strong bones and teeth.
  • White foods, such as bananas, dates, cauliflower, garlic, mushrooms and onions, help maintain a healthy heart and good cholesterol levels.
  • Yellow foods like grapefruit and lemon are good for heart health, good vision and a healthy immune system.
  • Red foods like tomatoes, cherries, strawberries, radishes and red onions maintain a healthy heart, memory function and urinary tract health.

Can cabbage help prevent cervical cancer?
Did your grandmother always tell you to ”eat up your greens”? It appears that she may have known something scientists are only now discovering.

When the substances produced in cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, sprouts or cauliflower are eaten, they could help in the fight against cancer.

A research team headed by Prof.Alison Fiander, Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, at the Wales College Of Medicine, Cardiff University in the UK are asking women in Wales to help find out if one of these substances holds the key to cancer prevention.

A clinical trial is underway to determine if taking this substance as a food supplement reduces the incidence of cervical abnormalities. The supplement is called Diindolylmethane (DIM for short) and seems to exert its effect by modifying the breakdown products of oestrogen in the body and by inducing abnormal cells to self destruct.

To obtain enough DIM to benefit, at least two raw heads of cabbage would need to be eaten daily. The trial uses a capsule containing DIM, already available as a herbal remedy in the USA.

The makers of this capsule in the USA also claim that it may help with pre-menstrual syndrome but side effects include aggravation of migraines and an increase in intestinal gas.

The trial is sponsored by Cancer Research UK and is being run in conjunction with Dr.Hilary Fielder Director Cervical Screening Wales.

All women in the area who have either a second borderline or mildly abnormal cervical smear will be invited by letter to participate.

The trial will involve taking DIM daily for six months whilst waiting for your next smear. Clinics will be held in the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

At the moment only women with borderline or mildly abnormal smears are being invited to participate, however, if a positive result is seen the research may be extended to include different groups of women, for example those with more severe abnormalities on their cervical smear. Participation in this trial is entirely voluntary.


Welsh Screening:

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