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Plant Nutrient, Phytosterols May Halt Cancer Development

Posted Jul 28 2009 10:11pm

Plants are loaded with healthful nutrients and now a new study claims phytosterols—a long known for their heart-protecting effects—also help prevent cancer.

The ingredients may work via the traditional route of reducing cholesterol, particularly in the membrane of cancer cells, and by activating an enzyme called caspase which is known to play an essential role in programmed cell death (apoptosis).

“This combined evidence strongly supports an anticarcinogenic action of phytosterols and hence advocates their dietary inclusion as an important strategy in prevention and treatment of cancer,” wrote the reviewers from the Department of Animal Science and the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals, at the University of Manitoba.

The reviews findings are published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Phytosterols, cholesterol-like molecules derived from plants, are increasingly well known to consumers due to their scientifically proven ability to reduce cholesterol levels. As consumer awareness has increased, the number of products containing plant sterols or plant stanols and their esters has increased.

Via Nutra Ingredients.

Image credit: Muffet

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