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Pomegranate Compounds Slow Breast Cancer Cell Growth

Posted Jan 05 2010 12:00am
The pomegranate has a long history of cultivation and research over the last few years has suggested that pomegranate consumption might have a variety of health benefits.  These benefits appear to be related to the phytochemicals present in the pomegranate, which have been reported to have strong antioxidant properties.  New research with breast cancer cells in culture suggest that some of the compounds in pomegranates might help protect against breast cancer.

In this new study, breast cancer researchers examined the ability of pomegranate phytochemicals (ellagic acid, gallagic acid, urolithin A, urolithin B, and others) to inhibit aromatase activity, an enzyme responsible for estrogen production, and to inhibit breast cancer cell growth in a cell culture system.  Of the 10 pomegranate compounds tested, 6 were able to inhibit the aromatase enzyme to some degree, with urolithin B showing the greatest ability to inhibit aromatase.  Urolithin B also prevented breast cancer cell growth to the greatest extent.

While this is interesting research, it is important to remember that this was done in a cell culture system and not in human volunteers. While the study summary does not indicate how much of the phytochemicals were used, cell culture studies like these typically are done with high amounts of the test chemicals.  This makes it a bit harder to interpret how well the benefits shown in the culture system will translate to human volunteers consuming pomegranate.  Despite the study limitations, this is still promising breast cancer research that will hopefully be explored in more detail in the future.  Human clinical trials exploring pomegranate consumption will need to be done before we know more about the true breast cancer protection potential of the pomegranate.  While more breast cancer research needs to be done, the antioxidant benefits of the pomegranate makes it an excellent fruit to add to one's diet.

You can read about other dietary choices that you can make to help fight against breast cancer in my book Fight Now: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Cancer at www.fightBCnow.com.
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