redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online
Orange juice contains vitamin C and several other key nutrients, and has also been linked to a reduced risk of obesity in adults, but recently-published research suggests that it could also help prevent cancer.
In a review article that was published online last month in Nutrition and Cancer: An International Journal, a team of Brazilian experts presented evidence linking the popular fruit drink with cancer chemoprevention. They also discussed the putative mechanisms and potential adverse health effects associated with orange juice.
They found that orange juice (OJ) contained several potentially beneficial effects when it comes to battling cancer, especially due to its high antioxidant content from flavonoids such as hesperitin and naringinin. In addition, they said that evidence from earlier in vitro studies indicated that the beverage could reduce a child’s risk of developing leukemia, as well as aiding chemoprevention against mammary, hepatic, and colon cancers.
“OJ has antimicrobial and antiviral action and modulates the absorption of xenobiotics,” the authors explained in the study. “Therefore, OJ could contribute to chemoprevention at every stage of cancer initiation and progression. Among the most relevant biological effects of OJ is the juice’s antigenotoxic and antimutagenic potential, which was shown in cells in culture and in rodents and humans.”
“The biological effects of OJ in vitro were shown to be largely influenced by the juice’s composition,” they added. “The composition of OJ depends on physiological conditions (related to climate, soil and fruit maturation, the genetic characteristics (varietal) of the oranges and variations in processing methods and storage times and methods. The addition of sugars seems to substantially decrease the antioxidant effect of OJ. Thermal treatments, storage above 20°C or both can lead to an even greater decrease in antioxidant activity.”
The researchers warn that the in vitro effects of orange juice are influenced by the composition of the drink, which itself is dependent upon the conditions under which the fruit was grown – including the climate, the soil, the period of maturation and the post-harvest storage methods.
They also said that drinking too much of the beverage could be potentially toxic, especially in children, diabetics, people with hypertension and those with kidney problems. Excessive consumption of orange juice for any of these types of individuals could lead to noxious effects, hyperkalemia (elevated blood potassium levels), the development of food allergies, or bacterial contamination in instances where the drink was not pasteurized.
Study authors Silvia Isabel Rech Franke, Temenouga Nikolova Guechev, João Antonio Pêgas Henriques and Daniel Prá (who are affiliated with the Universidade de Santa Cruz do Sul, the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, and the Universidade de Caxias do Sul) added that additional research was recommended in order to determine the actual biological link between orange juice and cancer chemoprevention.