New Research Shows Vegetables May Have Preventative Properties for Colon Cancer

In a study reported by Immunity, research showed that mice fed with lots of vegetables belonging to the Brassica genus had lower gut inflammations and benefitted from colon cancer protection. Researchers believe that the substance indole-3-carbinol (I3C) offered these benefits to the gut.

It is a widely accepted truth that veggies offer a lot of positive health benefits. However, the real mechanism behind how they provide health benefits is still not well-understood. This is the first study to establish evidence on the specifics of vegetable substances that prevent colon cancer and inflammation. It showed that I3C activates the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), a protein that causes epithelial cell differentiation when not stimulated sufficiently.

Reactions in the Gut

The AhR protein essentially works by dispatching signals from the gut linings’ epithelial cells to the immune cells. This then regulates the inflammatory response to the massive amounts of bacteria living in our stomach.

According to one of the research authors, Dr. Amina Metidji, mice who cannot activate or produce AhR in their stomach led to gut inflammation development and consequently led to cancer of the colon. These mice were genetically modified so that they cannot produce AhR. On the other hand, when these mice were fed with vegetables rich in IC3, they did not acquire gut inflammation nor colon cancer. Further, resulting tumors in the gut were few and were non-cancerous.

Moreover, when applied to stem cells that differentiated to mini-guts, the absence of AhR led to the failure of the stem cells to become specialized epithelial cells. These epithelial cells are essential for generating protective mucus and absorb nutrients. The stem cells divided uncontrollably—a precursor to cancer of the colon.

Colon Cancer Prevention

According to Dr. Gitta Stockinger, another author of the study, the effect of diet on colon cancer and gut inflammation is quite salient. We used to believe that a diet deficient in vegetables coupled with rich fats promote colon cancer. However, with the study, increased consumption of AhR promoting chemicals can mitigate the effects of insufficient AhR stimulation thereby preventing colon cancer and intestinal infections.

Although we cannot alter the genetic factors that intensify our risk for having cancer, the study shows a light at the end of the tunnel that we can moderate our colon cancer risk by embracing a diet rich in I3C found in vegetables.


The Optimal Diet

In the study, the mice were fed food that was calibrated to eliminate variables that may affect the study. This resulted in findings that suggest that even without genetic risk factors in mice if they are not fed vegetables, it still led to cancer of the colon for them.

Another cancer research expert, Professor Tim Key, commented that it isn’t just the fiber content of veggies that impart health benefits, but likewise, essential veggie substances that give protection against diseases—specifically in this study, against colon inflammation and cancer. So, eat more of Bok choy, Kale, Collards, turnip greens, Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, and the likes.

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The CDC Says Only 1 in 10 Adults Eat Enough Fruits or Vegetables

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The Center for Disease Control released new research in November 2017 detailing the issues with adult fruit and vegetable consumption in 2015. The new study found that just 1 in 10 adults meet the U.S federal recommendations for fruits and vegetables. Depending on age and sex, the national guidelines recommend adults to eat at least 1.5 to 2 cups per day of fruit and 2 to 3 cups per day of vegetables.

A Closer Look at CDC Research

An average of only 9 percent of U.S. adults met the intake recommendations for vegetables in 2015; ranging from 6 percent in West Virginia to 12 percent in Alaska. An average of only 12 percent met their intake recommendations for fruit in 2015; ranging from 7 percent in West Virginia to 16 percent in Washington D.C. The overall results pointed to an alarming trend that consumption was lower among men, younger adults, and adults living in poverty.

“This report highlights that very few Americans eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables every day, putting them at risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. As a result, we’re missing out on the essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that fruits and vegetables provide.”

Seung Hee Lee Kwan, Ph.D
CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity

Barriers to Increased Consumption of Fruits and Veggies

The CDC has indicated again as it has revealed in previous studies that there are significant barriers to consumption. They have found that high cost, limited availability, limited access, and perceived lack of cooking and preparation time are the top barriers stopping people from eating more. How can we can we fix these issues?

Strategies to Increase Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables

my plate usda cdc fruits and vegetables nutrifusionIt’s understood that consuming fruits and veggies is critical to reducing your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and obesity. The CDC developed a guide with strategies to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables. Here are a few:

  1. Start or expand farm to institution programs in childcare, schools, hospitals, and workplaces
  2. Improve access to retail stores and markets that sell high-quality fruits and veggies
  3. Ensure access to fruits and vegetables in cafeterias and other foodservice venues in worksites, hospitals, and universities

GrandFusion is Key to More Fruits and Vegetables in Your Processed Foods

NutriFusion has worked hard to create a nutrient-dense fruit and vegetable powder that stabilized and concentrates the natural vitamins and minerals. This is incredibly important to processed food manufacturers and brands. You are now able to add the nutritional equivalent to 2 servings of fruits and vegetables with pinky nail’s worth of powder. Interested in learning more about how GrandFusion can make your products healthier with essential micronutrients? Visit your industry-specific page to learn more.


Researchers at Boston University May Have Found a Way to Test for CTE

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, also known as CTE, is a degenerative brain disease that is being found in many professional football players and athletes who have experienced repeated head trauma. The sad fact about CTE is that currently it cannot be diagnosed until the person dies. What a difference it would in these people’s lives if we could diagnose CTE while they are living. Well, researchers at Boston University may have just figured it out.

Research Points to Protein, CLL11, as a Marker for Identifying CTE

Researchers at Boston University’s School of Medicine identified an inflammatory protein, CLL11, as a possible reflection of the presence of CTE in people’s brains. They believe the protein can be found in spinal fluid as well as the bloodstream in living patients.

Dr. Ann McKee, a co-author of the study, believes this is just the beginning, and the key to this discovery is to start finding the disease at its earliest stages. She directs the medical school’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center, which earlier this year found evidence of the degenerative disease in 110 of 111 of professional football players who donated their brains to the program after their death. McKee says the research is still far away from where it needs to be to help these players. Researchers will need to find that the protein is a reliable sign of the disease, which will include precisely understanding the levels of CLL11 in the bloodstream and how that relates to concentrations in the brain.

The Study Shows Positive Signs

The research team at Boston University tapped into several brain banks including 23 brains from former athletes, 50 brains with Alzheimer’s disease, and 18 healthy brains. Researchers measured the levels of CLL11 in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex which they found is the most affected area of the brain by CTE.

They found that levels of CLL11 were remarkably higher in brains with CTE versus brains with Alzheimer’s. The levels were even greater than the healthy brains. Another correlation that the study concluded was that CLL11 levels rose as a function of years playing football.

McKee and team stumbled onto CLL11 as a possible biomarker because it is a universal sign of inflammation in the brain’s tiniest blood vessels. She believes that looking closer at the small vessels that carry oxygen to brain’s farthest recesses may be the promising tell for CTE. Stay tuned to more research from McKee and team as they are determined to help find a way to diagnose this degenerative disease.

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