Breakthrough: This Makes Chemo More Effective!

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Whenever there’s a breakthrough in cancer research, it’s cause for celebration—and this breakthrough is no exception. Researchers at the University of Adelaide have discovered that grape seed extract—a compound long thought to be extremely beneficial for our health—can help chemotherapy kill colon cancer cells, as well as reduce the negative side effects of chemotherapy.

Grape seed extract contains the same compounds you’ve heard associated with grapes and red wine: resveratrol, a phytonutrient found mainly in the skins of grapes and in grape seed, and partially in the flesh itself, as well as other antioxidants like beta carotene. Since the seed and skin contain the most amount of the beneficial compounds, studies often research the effects of grape seed extract or skin, which is what this new study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, did as well.

The research showed that in lab studies, taking grape seed extract orally could help reduce inflammation and tissue damage that is a result of extensive chemotherapy treatments by as much as 50%. As well, whereas chemotherapy simply targets cells in general, the researchers found that grape seed extract was better at only targeting cancerous cells and aiding chemotherapy to destroy them, while not hurting the healthy cells.

“Our experimental studies have shown that grape seed extract reduced chemotherapy-induced inflammation and damage and helped protect healthy cells in the gastrointestinal tract,” said Dr. Amy Cheah, lead author of the study. “While this effect is very promising, we were initially concerned that grape seed could reduce the effectiveness of the chemotherapy.”

“In contrast, we found that grape seed extract not only aided the ability of chemotherapy to kill cancer cells, but was also more potent than the chemotherapy we tested at one concentration.”

Previously, a 2013 study published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer by University of Colorado researchers found that grape seed extract could also help destroy prostate cancer cells without touching healthy cells. They were able to narrow down the component in grape seed extract which is responsible for these beneficial effects, known as B2G2, the most biologically active ingredient in grape seed extract.

These studies are extremely promising to those suffering from cancer and show that a cure for this deadly disease may be in our reach in the near future.


Sources:
“Active component of grape seed extract effective against cancer cells,” ScienceDaily web site;  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131204181246.htm

“Grape seed promise in fight against bowel cancer,” ScienceDaily web site; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140214092004.htm
“Grapes,” World’s Healthiest Foods web site; http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=40