Apple Peel Extract Suppresses Breast Cancer Cell Growth
Posted May 26 2010 6:57am
The saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" seems as old as time, though its first recorded version was apparently in Wales in 1866 as "eat an apple on going to bed, and you'll keep the doctor from earning his bread". No matter where and when this proverb originated, the health benefits of apples remain as true today as they have in the past. In fact recent research has suggested that eating apples might have breast cancer protective benefits.
In a new breast cancer study published in the May issue of Nutrition and Cancer, researchers explored the effects of an apple peel extract on breast cancer cell growth. For this study, breast cancer researchers cultured two types of MCF-7 breast cancer cells and treated them with an apple peel extract made from Gala apples. The results of these experiments showed that
The apple peel extract reduced breast cancer cell growth by stopping the cell cycle
Treatment with the apple peel extract also reduced the survival of these breast cancer cells.
Treatment of breast cancer cells with the apple peel extract stimulated the production of maspin, a tumor suppressor protein that inhibits breast cancer invasion and metastasis.
These cell culture study results show the potential importance of apples as a cancer fighting food. Not only did the apple peel extract used in this study reduce breast cancer cell growth directly, it enhanced the production of a tumor suppressor protein. Both of these functions have the potential to reduce breast cancer risk. Previous research in animals has also shown that feeding an apple extract reduced breast cancer tumor burden (fewer tumors of a less aggressive type). Apples are rich in a number of phytonutrients such as quercetin, catechin, chlorogenic acid, and phloridzin; however, these phytonutrients are found at the highest concentrations in the apple peel. Therefore, it is important to eat the peel as well as the apple pulp. While more research will need to be done to see how beneficial apples are for fighting breast cancer in humans, apples are a good source of vitamin C and dietary fiber and make an excellent choice to add to any healthy diet.