February 1, 2012
Compound In Cooked Tomatoes Slows Cancer Growth
New research reveals the effect of lycopene on the pathway that allows cancer to spread and grow throughout the body.
Lycopene is the nutrient that gives red fruits their color, but it is in highest concentrations in tomatoes. The nutrient becomes more available to the body after being cooked with oil. Lycopene intercepts cancer´s ability to make the connections it needs to attach to a healthy blood supply, reports the Telegraph.
Currently the results were only observed in a laboratory. Dr. Chopra, director of the research, told The Telegraph, “I stress that our tests were done in test tubes in a laboratory and more testing needs to be carried out to confirm our findings, but the laboratory evidence we have is clear - it is possible to intercept the simple mechanism some cancer cells use to grow at concentrations that can be achieved by eating sufficient cooked tomatoes.”
Researchers from the University of Portsmouth´s School of Pharmacy are calling for more research to check if the reaction is the same in the human body. A previous study funded by Heinz found that participants who ate 14 ounces of processed tomatoes daily for two weeks had increased levels of lycopene in their blood and semen.
The research found that cancer cells can lay dormant for years, until certain chemicals trigger the process of linking cancer cells with endothelial cells, which are the gateway cells into the blood vessels. After breaching these cells the cancer has direct access to the blood supply.
The experiments showed that Lycopene disrupted this process, turning off the cancer cell´s ability to grow.
Lycopene accumulates in the prostate making it especially important in the disruption of prostate cancer.
According to Dr. Chopra, “The important thing is for sufficient lycopene to reach where it can matter. We know that in case of prostate tissues it gets there.”
More research still needs to be done in order to find which tomatoes provide the highest levels of lycopene and which are the best ways to prepare the tomatoes in order to take advantage of the highest concentrations of the chemical.
The research was published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
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